by Moses Apsan, Esq.
New York - December 4,2010 - The final moments of the battle to approve the Dream Act are coming near as Democrats and even Republicans brace themselves to survive the almost inevitable Republican filibuster.
The White House has finally drawn the line in the sand and has taken an aggressive stance on approval of the law during the remaining days of the lame duck congress before a more conservative Congress takes over in January.
On Monday, the White House held a Web chat on the DREAM Act with Cecilia Munoz, the director of Intergovernmental Affairs.
"We have engaged members of the president's cabinet," Munoz said, rattling off people and agencies like Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense, each of which has said the DREAM Act is crucial to their missions." It's kind of an all hands on deck moment here in the administration, involving multiple agencies," Munoz said. "The president himself is engaged.
"We're going to do everything we can to lay the groundwork and create the space for people who know this population of students to do what they know is the right thing to do," Munoz said.
During the short window of opportunity before the 112th congress begins, some Latino Republicans are taking the bold step and crossing the aisle in order to help pass the DREAM act. Along with President Obama and thousands of religious and educational organizations, they want to bring the tragedy these children suffer to a close.
Although Reid vowed earlier this month to bring a vote on a stand-alone Dream Act bill during the lame-duck session, he has been unable to keep in line his 58-member caucus. It's in doubt if he'll be able to get the 60 votes needed to defeat a GOP filibuster.
Senate Majority Leader Reid has fought tirelessly for the Dream Act, even during his difficult campaign against Sharron Angle, an anti-immigration candidate. Were it not for the Latino votes, he might have lost the election. Reid released a statement that spoke to Republicans directly:
"Last time we sought to bring up this bill, all Republicans blocked our effort, even though many have been supporters of the DREAM Act in the past. I hope that our Republican colleagues will join me, Sen. Durbin and Democrats in passing this important piece of legislation, now that we have a stand-alone version and that political season is over."
At the same time, in the House, there is an almost frenetic movement toward passage of a Dream Act-type bill. According to the DREAM Act's most vocal congressional advocates, they are positive but cautious.
"The core group of House members who support immigration reform and the DREAM Act have been reaching out throughout the Democratic House caucus," Illinois Rep. Luis Gutierrez told ColorLines "From what we are hearing back, I am encouraged by the breadth of Democratic support."
Rep. Gutierrez has been the loudest voice in the fight for comprehensive immigration reform. He is the Chair of the Democratic Caucus Immigration Task Force, and is the Party's leading strategist and spokesperson on immigration issues. Gutierrez has long fought for a comprehensive immigration reform solution, and has emerged as the DREAM Act's most active advocate.
((Republican are moving toward support of the Dream Act. Reps. Lincoln Diaz-Balart (FL) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL) contacted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in support of the Dream Act)). Another Republican congressman-elect, David Rivera of Miami, also supports the DREAM act, according to the Sun-Sentinel.
"The drumbeat is getting louder," Frank Sharry , executive director of America's Voice told the Sun Sentinel. "Now is the time for Congress to step up to the plate and secure America's future with the extremely popular, bipartisan DREAM Act."
It is expected that a version of the DREAM Act could be on the floor for a vote in the House Wednesday or Thursday this week, where it appears that there is greater support than in the Senate. House Democrats are conducting a study to determine the bill's exact numbers. 218 is needed to pass the Act in the House, but insiders say that the numbers look good so far.
Will the White House support, Gutierrez's mania and the diligent work of Sen. Harry Reid surmount the anti-immigrant attitude of the Republicans? It's impossible to foretell. Most Republicans want complete security of the border before any type of aid for these undocumented children, a goal that simply is unreachable -- and they know it.
by Moses Apsan, Esq.
It's happening all over the country, thousand of students are lobbying congress for support of the Dream Act, which would legalize up to 2 million children that entered the U.S. before the age of sixteen.
Support for the Dream Act is snowballing into a possible vote in the Senate coming up next week. Not only are students, educators and religious organizations driving hard the value of legalizing these kids but so are politicians; perhaps even from both parties.
Nevada Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D), who without Latino vote would perhaps, not been reelected in his uphill battle against Sharon Angle and soon to be ex-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) have made it clear that they will move on the Dream Act ( Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act) in the lame-duck session of Congress.
Reid stated that "Currently, ((individuals who were brought to the U.S. illegally years ago through no fault of their own have no way to legalize their immigration status and go to college to improve their lives))," Reid said in a statement. "The DREAM Act would address this problem by providing that upon graduation from high school, young people who have stayed in school and out of trouble would be able to apply for conditional legal immigration status. This status would be made permanent if they continue on to college or serve in the military."
Even President Obama has finally joined in and after a recent meeting, the White House released a statement reasserting the president's backing for the bill. President Obama called on lawmakers to vote before this session expires.
Although Obama has been a fervent DREAM Act supporter,he has done little to move the act forward and in fact, has taken a hard line on immigration violations by having Homeland Security work methodically to locate and deport immigration violators and has simultaneously shored up the Mexican border.
Now Obama wants the DREAM Act passed in the lame duck session as a "down payment" on future comprehensive immigration reform.
The frenetic movement towards a vote is due to the limited time period before the Republicans take over the House and some seats in the Senate in January. With only 15 legislative days left in this session; time is of the essence. Comes January, the power shifts and the new republican congresses' focus will like be on "Bush tax cuts" and other pro corporate measures. The new congress will,undoubtedly have different priorities than the democratic congress of the last two years. The Dream Act will not be at the apex of their agenda.
We can be quite sure that republicans elected this midterms will join their colleagues and when it comes to comprehensive immigration reform. They will focus, instead to border enforcement, employer sanctions and temporary foreign work visas.
There were eleven republicans that voted for DREAM in 2007, but some have moved on , either replaced or retired. The new members will most likely may be unsympathetic to the any bill that legalizes illegal aliens, even if these aliens were innocently brought into the United States by their parents.
The Problem: To move forward comfortably in the Senate, there must be cloture which required 60 votes. The Democrats are still in control of the Senate in the next Congress, but they will not be able to do anything without the approval of Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Without the 60 votes they cannot control Republican filibuster, which will tie up the Senate until January.
In other words, Senator Reid and his team will need "a few good republicans" to join them, Who knows how even democrats will eventually vote.
The DREAM Act is a bipartisan legislation pioneered by Sen. Orin Hatch [R-UT] and Sen. Richard Durbin [D-IL] that can solve this injustice in our society. Under the though provisions of the DREAM Act, qualifying undocumented youths would be eligible for a 6 year long conditional path to citizenship that requires completion of a college degree or two years of military service. Conditional Permanent Residency is similar to Legal Permanent Residency in that you would be able to live legally in the U.S. , go to college, work, drive and travel. But it lasts for only 6 years. Students would be eligible for student loans and federal work-study programs, but will not be eligible for federal financial aid such as Pell Grants.
Who would Qualify for the Dream Act?
The following is a list of specific requirements one would need in order to qualify for the current version of the DREAM Act:
• Have proof of having arrived in the United States before age 16.
• Have proof of residence in the United States for a least five consecutive years since their date of arrival, compliance with Selective Service.
• Be between the ages of 12 and 35 at the time of bill enactment.
• Have graduated from an American high school or obtained a GED.
• Be of "good moral character"
How it works:
• "conditional" status would be granted during the first six years.
• the youth would be required to graduate from a two-year community college or complete at least two years towards a 4-year degree, or serve two years in the U.S. military.
• After the six year period, an youth who met at least one of these three conditions would be eligible to apply for legal permanent resident status.
• During this six year conditional period, these students would not be eligible for federal higher education grants such as Pell grants, but they would be able to apply for student loans and work study.
• If the youth did not meet the educational or military service requirement within the six year time period, their temporary residence would be revoked and they would be removable (deportable).
• They must not commit any crimes other than those considered non-drug related misdemeanors. Being convicted of a felony or drug-related infraction would automatically remove the six year temporary residence status and they would be subject to deportation.
• If the youth met all of these requirements at the completion of the 6-year conditional period, they would be granted permanent residency, and eventually will be eligible for U.S. citizenship.
The DREAM Act, which has been unable to clear republican filibuster threats for years, is fighting for its life to become law before the republican takeover of the Congress in January. Fear of the Tea Party anti-immigrant republicans and some say racist attitudes have fueled this final push during the lame duck session.
A statement from the National Immigration Law Center, which helps immigrants gain citizenship, said, "By bringing the long-overdue DREAM Act to a vote, Senator Reid has shown that he agrees with 70 percent of Americans who want to provide undocumented young men and women a chance to apply their full potential to making our country a better place to live."
by Moses Apsan, Esq.
November 18, 2010 - Fear is a powerful motivator. Adrenaline rushes throughout the body and man is capable of doing almost super human acts. Such is what may happen on November 29th when the Dream Act has been set for a vote in the House of Representatives.
Following a meeting between President Obama and Congressional Hispanic Caucus leadership, New York Rep. Nydia Velasquez announced that Speaker Nancy Pelosi has tentatively set Nov. 29 as the date to bring the DREAM Act up for a vote.
President Obama has been a diligent DREAM Act supporter, but has done little to move the act forward and in fact ,has taken a hard line on immigration violations by having Homeland Security work methodically to locate and deport immigration violators and has simultaneously shored up the Mexican border.
Now Obama wants the DREAM Act passed in the lame duck session as a “down payment” on future comprehensive immigration reform.
According to a White House statement “[t]he President and the CHC leaders believe that, before adjourning, Congress should approve the DREAM Act. This legislation has traditionally enjoyed support from Democratic and Republican lawmakers and would give young people who were brought as minors to the United States by their parents the opportunity to earn their citizenship by pursuing a college degree or through military service.”
Both New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez and Illinois Rep. Luis Gutierrez, proponents of a more comprehensive immigration reform bill, were also in the White House meeting, which led to Gutierrez commenting that “Passage of the DREAM Act is achievable right now.” … “With the White House, Majority Leader Harry Reid, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and every Democratic Leader in the House and Senate pulling in the same direction, we can pass the DREAM Act before the end of the 111th Congress.”
The fight for the Dream Act has been building up to a crescendo. Recent activities by students remind us of the anti-war vietnam rallies in the sixties.
For eight days students at the University of Texas at San Antonio staged a hunger strike in support of immigration reform. The students would not not eat until U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison votes in support of the DREAM Act. Lisette Mondello, a Hutchison spokeswoman told the students that “The senator has consistently stated that she cannot support the current DREAM Act legislation in its present form, but that she was willing to work toward an acceptable legislative product,” making it appear that she would support the bill with some modifications.
Just last month a group of college students appeared at the state Capitol to looking for support for the DREAM Act. They called themselves the Dream Army and they hoped to the persuade Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., to vote for the bill.
This Saturday, there will be an all-day Connecticut DREAM Summit at Dwight Hall at Yale University. On Wednesday at 4:30 p.m., there will be a program on undocumented students at the Western Connecticut State University's midtown student center theater.
And Students from all parts of Los Angeles area held several events last week to push Congress to pass the DREAM Act.
Events such as these are happening thoughout the country and more is expected as we near November 29.
Majority Leader Harry Reid who recently struggled though a election with opponent Sharron Angle, a Tea Party nominee, thankful for the hispanic vote that pushed him through the finish line, vowed to move the immigration bill to the floor during the lame-duck session. Angle's attitude is similar to many of the Tea Party republicans when she stated during an election debate that "the solution is simple: Secure the borders, enforce the laws. I think every state should have a sheriff like Joe Arpaio, and I think we should be supporting states like Arizona."
The DREAM Act, which has been unable to clear republican filibuster threats for years, is fighting for its life to become law before the republican takeover of the Congress in January. Fear of the Tea Party anti-immigrant republicans and some say racist attitudes have fueled this final push during the lame duck session.
More than 3 million students graduate from U.S. high schools every year, and about 65,000 are illegal immigrants who entered the U.S. as children. 'There are approximately 825,000 young immigrants that would benefit form the Dream Act. The overwhelming majority under the age of 35, according to the Migration Policy Institute.
Critics call the Dream Act an amnesty and argue the border has to be secured before passing any law that would benefit those illegal in the country.
The critics, for reasons of their own, have failed to understand that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency expects to deport about 400,000 people this year, nearly 10 percent above the Bush administration's 2008 total and will also penalize employers who hire undocumented workers. Company audits has almost quadrupled since President George W. Bush's final year in office.
by Moses Apsan, Esq.
Immigration attorneys, like most of the country are occupied with the economy and the bottom line in their practice. Meanwhile the immigration environment in the United States is set for a major modification following the Republican wave in the recent election which caused a switch in party control in the House, and a reduction in the Democratic majority in the Senate. This event will likely cause a major shift in the immigration bar's current practice.
At a first glance it seems that talks of legalization or even a temporary worker program will move to the back-burner. Just like the year McCain-Kennedy bill passed the Senate, the new tea bagging Republican House will most like continuing their "NO" approach to any immigration benefits. Additionally more enforcement legislation is likely to pass Congress. Perhaps a reduction in immigration benefits will follow. It is possible that the Obama Administration may increase enforcement both in the interior and the Mexican border even further than their current record breaking deportations, that statistics reflect.
What this could mean for immigration lawyers is that business from ICE roundups will likely geometrically increase while family-immigration and employment-immigration based practices will most likely experience a slow down. Deportation (Removal) work will likely increase steadily. The greatest fear is that the anti-immigrant representatives are getting poised to attempt at controlling the national conversation on immigration reform.
America's immigration story continues, but meanwhile let's take a look at what defenses are available to an illegal alien place in deportation proceedings under current immigration laws.
The Deportation or Removal Proceeding
When an Immigration Judge has found that an alien is illegally present in the United States, it does not necessarily mean that the person must be deported. The Immigration Laws provides many types of ways to prevent Removal (deportation). The most commonly used are (1) waivers of excludability and deportability; (2) cancellation of removal for permanent residents; (3) cancellation of removal for non-permanent residents; (4) suspension of deportation; (5) adjustment of status to permanent residence; (5) asylum and withholding of deportation; (6) legalization and registry and, (7) voluntary departure.
The immigration law lists various grounds by which an person in the middle of a deportation proceeding may apply for a Waiver. All the waivers available require that the alien’s establish hardship to himself or to his close family members if he were to be removed from the U.S. For example a person who is being deported for certain criminal grounds may be eligible for a waiver under §212(h) if the failure to admit him to the U.S. would result in "extreme hardship" to his LPR or USC spouse, parent(s), son(s) or daughter(s)., Similarly a person who has committed fraud or a material misrepresentation may apply for a waiver under §212(i) if his deportation from the U.S. would result in "extreme hardship" to his lawful permanent resident (LPR) or U.S. citizen (USC) spouse or parents.
Cancellation of Removal for Permanent Residents
A grant of an Application for Cancellation Removal has the effect of "pardoning" or "forgiving" the basis for the alien's deportability and returning his status to that of a lawful permanent resident. Only certain grounds of deportability may be waived by a grant of Cancellation of Removal. Moreover, under new immigration laws, an alien is only eligible for one (1) grant of such relief in a lifetime. A denial of an Application for Cancellation of Removal results in an administrative order returning the alien to his country of designation (citizenship, nationality, or last residence) through a forcible order effectuating his removal or deportation from the United States
Note that an Immigration Judge will balance certain positive factors against negative factors in determining whether an alien should be permitted to remain in the United States. In the case of Permanent Residents, a granted application will have the effect of allowing the lawful permanent resident to maintain his status and remain in the United States. In the case of Illegal Aliens, a granted application will have the effect of allowing an undocumented alien or nonimmigrant to become a permanent resident of the United States. An Immigration Judge will consider such factors as family ties, history of employment, community service, long residency in the United States, property & assets, criminal record, immigration violations, rehabilitation & remorse, etc. Both types of applications for Cancellation of Removal are discretionary in nature, permitting an Immigration Judge to grant or deny the application as he deems fit. Even if an alien can demonstrate all of the above factors, this does not mean that an application will be granted, only that he has demonstrated prima facie (minimum standards for eligibility) eligibility.
This section of the law allows the Attorney General (usually an Immigration Judge or the Board of Immigration Appeals) to cancel the removal of a lawful permanent resident from the U.S. if:
1. He has been a Lawful Permanent Resident for a minimum of five years;
2. Has resided continuously in the U.S. for a minimum of seven years after being admitted to the U.S. in any status (prior to the institution of removal proceedings);
3. He has not been convicted of an aggravated felony;
4. He is not inadmissible from the U.S. on security grounds.
The following classes of persons are ineligible for cancellation of removal:(1) Certain crewmen; (2) Exchange visitors (in "J" status) who received medical training in the U.S.; (3) Persons who have persecuted others; (4) Persons who have previously been granted cancellation of removal, suspension of deportation (See below.) or relief under §212(c); and (5) Persons who committed certain criminal offenses prior to the accrual of the required seven years.
Positive factors include: (1) Close family ties within the U.S.; (2) Long time residency in the U.S.; (3) deep roots in the community (4) ill child (5) Hardship to person and immediate family; (6) Service in U.S. Armed Forces; (7) Employment history; (8) Ownership of property and business; (9) Service to the community; (9) payment of taxes (8) Rehabilitation (if criminal record exists).
Negative factors include: (1) failure to pay taxes (misrepresentation to the court (3) the nature and circumstances of the removal grounds; (4) Criminal record; and (4) other evidence of bad character.
Cancellation of Removal for Non Permanent Residents
Many people know this as the “10 year law.” It allows the Attorney General (usually an Immigration Judge or the Board of Immigration Appeals) to cancel the removal of a non-permanent resident from the U.S. if:
1. He has been physically present in the U.S. for a continuous period of ten years prior to the institution of removal proceedings. (This requirement is not applicable to persons who have served a minimum of 24 months in the U.S. Armed Forces, was present in the U.S. during his enlistment or induction, and is either serving honorably or has received an honorable discharge.) "Continuous" means that the person can not be out of the U.S. for more than 90 days at a time, or 180 days in the aggregate, during the ten-year period.
2. He has been a person of good moral character for ten years;
3. He cannot be inadmissible under §212(a)(2) or (3) (criminal and security grounds) or deportable under §237(a)(1)(G) (marriage fraud), (2) (criminal grounds), (3) (failure to register and falsification of documents) or (4) (security and related grounds).
4. He established exceptional and extremely unusual hardship to a qualifying U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse, parent or child. (Note: not hardship to the applicant).
Cancellation of Removal for Battered Spouse
A battered spouse must firstly be put into deportation (or "removal" under the new law) proceedings. She must demonstrate three years of continuous physical presence in the United States, instead of ten years as applicable to other individuals. Time toward the three-year period would accrue even after she received the notice to appear for the removal hearing. This is different than the one that applies to other individuals where physical presence in the United States terminates upon service of notice or commission of a criminal act.
The applicant for cancellation must demonstrate good moral character and must not be inadmissible under:
1. Section 212(a)(2) - criminal and related grounds
2. Section 212(a)(3) - security and related grounds
3. Section 237(a)(1)(G) - marriage fraud
4. Section 237(a)(2) - criminal offenses
5. Section 237(a)(3) - document fraud
6. Section 237(a)(4) - security and related grounds
The applicant, furthermore, must not have been convicted of an aggravated felony.
Most difficult is the requirement that the applicant demonstrate that removal would result in extreme hardship. While the battered spouse or child has to demonstrate "extreme hardship", others need to show "extreme and unusual hardship." Unlike in the cancellation of removal for other individuals who have to show "extreme and unusual hardship" to a citizen or resident relative, extreme hardship alone to the battered applicant would suffice.
Suspension of Deportation
Any deportation proceedings commenced on or after April 1, 1997 are removal proceedings rather than deportation or exclusion proceedings.
However, persons who were placed in deportation proceedings prior to April 1, 1997 as well as NACARA applicants may still be eligible for suspension of deportation. The “seven year law” is more generous than Cancellation of Removal.
A deportable alien may apply for permanent residence through suspension of deportation if he is able to fulfill the following 3 conditions:
1. He must have been continuously physically present in the U.S. for at least seven years. Absences, which are “brief, casual and innocent”, do not interrupt the continuity of the alien's physical presence.
2. He must be a person of good moral character.
3. It must be an extreme hardship upon the alien, or his spouse, children or parents who are citizens or residents of the United States if he were deported.
Adjustment of Status
A deportable alien who is the parent, spouse, widow or child of a U.S. citizen may be eligible to apply to the Judge to adjust his status to that of a lawful permanent resident (Green Card). Also qualified to apply for adjustment of status are many aliens whose priority dates for permanent residence are "current". Aliens who obtained conditional permanent residence based upon their marriage, or the marriage of their alien parent, to a U.S. citizen who were unable to have their status adjusted from Conditional (temporary) resident to Permanent Resident may, once INS places them under deportation proceedings, have their application renewed before an Immigration Judge
Asylum and Withholding of Deportation
Those who have a well-founded fear of persecution if they return to their home country may apply for asylum if their fear is based on any of the following grounds:
1. Political opinion
2. Religious belief
5. Membership in a particular social group
If a person is granted asylum, after one year they may apply for permanent resident status.
Withholding of deportation is similar to asylum. However, it differs in 2 important respects: (1) It does not permit the alien to apply for permanent residence, and (2) it only prohibits the INS from deporting the alien to one particular country.
Legalization and Amnesty
Once an illegal alien has been found qualified for legalization or "amnesty" by the INS, the deportation hearing will typically be closed since the alien will have attained the legal right to remain in the United States. Those who have filed for LULAC or Meese (Late Amnesty) may have their cases terminated.
Registry is another means of attaining lawful permanent residence in the United States. It is available to aliens who have resided continuously in the U.S. since prior to January 1, 1972, who are persons of good moral character, who are not deportable on certain aggravated grounds, and who are not ineligible to citizenship. This is very similar to Amnesty and still is available to this day.
Anyone that has fulfilled the requirements for naturalization may request that the case be either terminated or held in abeyance pending the results of the citizenship application.
In most case, if there is no special relief available that would stop the deportation, the alien may apply for Voluntary Departure. Once it is granted the alien will have 4 months to leave the United States. During this time they can get their life in order and prepare for their departure. Voluntary Departure avoids both the problems associated with a deportation and enable to enable the alien, in many cases, to eventually return to the U.S.
Voluntary departure is available to aliens who are not deportable on aggravated grounds, who have the ability to pay for their own airplane tickets, who agree to depart within a period of time granted by the Immigration Judge, and who can establish good moral character during the previous five-year period. The IIRIRA limited voluntary departure in several important ways. Extensions of voluntary departure are no longer possible. Nor may an alien granted voluntary departure obtain work authorization. This limits the usefulness of voluntary departure.
Understand that every application for relief from deportation is decided at the discretion of the Immigration Judge, except for Withholding of Deportation. A final order of an Immigration Judge may be appealed to the Board of Immigration Appeals, and in some cases to the appropriate U.S. Court of Appeals.
Moses Apsan is the author of the web site DeportationDefense.com.
by Moses Apsan, Esq.
During the 2008 presidential election, Barak Obama made what is now, a broken promise to immigrant supporters that he would enact comprehensive immigration reform during his first year in office. But that was yesterday and today things have changed. Following the republican victory in the house, Obama, in a recent press conference failed to include any comment regarding his plans for immigration reform.
There still is a short window of opportunity to pass some type of immigration reform during the lame-duck congress. The democrats are still in charge during this transient period. Both Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev) and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), hope to pass the Dream Act before the new congress takes over in January.
After January, when many anti-immigrant republicans take their position in the House and Senate, immigration reform efforts that include a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants living in the United States appears next to impossible.
In recent months there has been a strong lobby, composed of immigration reform advocates and students, for enactment of the Dream Act. Senator Reid inserted the act into the defense authorization bill along with a controversial repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell," but(( Republican filibuster killed off chances of passing the DREAM Act before the November election)).
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the bill’s primary sponsor, re-introduced the act the day following the defense authorization bill filibuster. He said he hoped it could pass during a lame-duck session. “Some members of the Senate who are not going to return may vote in our favor,” he said. “I hope that’s the case.” At a Dream Act event he told supporters that “We’re not giving up,” … “This is not the end of the fight, it’s just the beginning.”
If all else fails, it's up to Obama to keep his promise of immigration reform and he has a way to do this; Executive Order. An Executive Order can provide immediate relief to certain Draconian provisions of the current immigration laws even while waiting for a comprehensive immigration reform. "[They] have been used to manipulate federal agencies in directions contrary to congressional intent"
Executive Orders (EOs) are legally binding orders given by the President, acting as the head of the Executive Branch, to Federal Administrative Agencies. Generally EO’s are used to direct federal agencies and officials in their execution of Congressional established laws or policies. However, there have been many instances that EO’s have been used to manipulate federal agencies in directions contrary to congressional intent.
For example on July 3, 2002, President George W. Bush signed Executive Order (EO) 13,269. The EO expedited the naturalization of soldiers in active duty by making them immediately eligible to apply for naturalization. For those soldiers were recently married it also extended their spouses conditional status (Green Card) for one year, and in six-month increments thereafter, until their spouses return from abroad.
Executive Orders are very powerful. They do not require Congressional approval to take effect but they have the same legal weight as laws passed by Congress. The President's source of authority to issue Executive Orders can be found in the Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution which grants to the President the "executive Power." Section 3 of Article II goes further and directs the President to "take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed." To implement or execute the laws of the land, Presidents give direction and guidance to Executive Branch agencies and departments, often in the form of Executive Orders.
If Congress is unable or unwilling to pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform this year, the President could issue sections of its content (such as the Dream Act) as a series of Executive Orders. In this way he would provideimmediate relief from the sections of the immigration laws that are creating the most problems. The Senate conservatives would find difficulty in blocking these orders as 2/3 majority would have to vote against it; which is unlikely. The Executive Orders could be challenged in court, but that would take a very long time, and in the meantime, enough relief would be given to the millions illegal immigrants in this country until a Comprehensive Immigration bill is finally made into law.
by Moses Apsan, Esq.
November 8, 2010 - The outcome of the Arizona "papers please" law will be decided by a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. They will weigh the legality of Arizona's immigration law, SB 1070. The three judges will decide Arizona's appeal of a lower-court ruling that blocked the most-controversial sections of the law from being applied.
The Arizona law (SB 1070) allows state officials to inquire into the immigration status of any person based upon "reasonable suspicion": For any lawful contact made by a law enforcement official or agency of this state or a county, city, town or other political subdivision of this state where reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States, a reasonable attempt shall be made, when practicable, to determine the immigration status of the person.
Two Primary Issues with the law:
Racial Profiling – The state and county enforcement officers are to use the “reasonable suspicion” standard when coming into lawful contact with any individual, not just illegal alien. It could even be an American citizen.. This should mean that the officer must have to have some reason, outside of race alone, to request documentation from the individual who is stopped, questioned, detained, arrested, etc. Governor Brewer recently toned down the “any awful contact” however, officers may stop and ask for documents from everyone in a van or car that is blocking or impeding the flow of traffic. This is a very low level of inquiry, which can basically stop a major portion of drivers.
Doctrine of preemption – Whether the Arizona law usurps the power of the Federal Government to be the sole arbiter of immigration laws.
Proponents Argument #1
Doctrine or Preemption - Since the federal government did not do anything about the immigration problem they are in essence relegating the responsibility to the individual states as permitted by the 10th Amendment of the Constitution.
SB 1070 would expose the fact that the Federal Administration has completely abandoned its duty to secure the border and enforce our immigration laws, ultimately forcing Arizona to enact the law. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) described the law a reaction to the federal government's inaction, "I think the frustration is that the federal government isn't enforcing the laws, so we're going to do it on the state level." (The Hill, April 26, 2010). Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) said that his state had to pass a tough immigration law because Obama has failed to "secure our borders." (The Associated Press, April 27, 2010). He added that the situation in his state is "the worst I've ever seen."
Proponents Argument #2
Proponents of the law have repeatedly referred to the killing of two Phoenix police officers by illegal immigrants in 2007, or the recent killing of a cattle rancher near the Mexican border by a drug smuggler. State Rep. John Kavanagh, a co-sponsor of the law, said of illegal immigrants, "They bring a lot of crime with them."
Phoenix Police Chief Jack Harris told reporters that some 10% of his arrests are illegal immigrants — a number near the estimated percentage of undocumented immigrants in the local population. The Maricopa County sheriff's office, which runs the jail for Phoenix and surrounding cities, said 20% of its inmates are illegal immigrants. Fifteen percent of state prisoners are illegal immigrants.
The bill's proponents contend that criminals in Mexico are increasingly heading north through Arizona. "A large portion of [illegal immigrants] are coming here seeking a life and, quite frankly, fleeing the violence in Mexico," said Brian Livingston, executive director of the Arizona Police Assn., who added he was persuaded to back SB 1070 by calls from a Latina complaining that no one arrested illegal immigrant gang members in her neighborhood. "Amongst those people are criminal elements who prey on those people," he said.
The Law Suit
In an unusual step the Justice Department sued Arizona in an attempt to overturn the law and successfully put on hold sections that would allow for warrantless arrests of suspected illegal immigrants and criminalization of immigrants for failure to carry their immigration papers. In July 2010, U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton struck down key provisions of SB1070 before it took affect, thereby agreeing with the federal government's argument that immigration enforcement is the duty of the federal government.
Arizona had argued that these portions of the law were necessary to fight a growing avalanche of illegal aliens entered though the Mexican border. Civil rights groups and federal lawyers however, objected.
Federal Judges ruling unsure
If the three-judge panel rules in favor of the federal government, the state could apply to the full 9th Circuit hear its appeal. The case would then go directly to the U.S. Supreme Court.
It is difficult to guess how each of the three appellate judges will rule. All three judges are experienced on pre-emption appeals. Judge Noonan, appointed by President Reagan, is labeled conservative. Judge Paez, appointed by President Clinton - is labeled a liberal. Judge Bea, a conservative appointed by President Bush is a former immigrant who nearly got deported.
Bea and Paez are of Hispanic descent, and it is Hispanics who are most disappointed with the Arizona law.
Comments from the judges imply that they may uphold a major part of the injunction against two provisions of SB 1070: one that criminalizes non-citizens’ failure to register with the federal government or carry immigration documents, and another that criminalizes undocumented immigrants’ attempts at finding or engaging in work. The Justice Department maintains that the provisions make criminal, under Arizona law, activities that are subject only to civil penalties under federal law. When these provisions were brought up, Bea and John Noonan, a Reagan appointee directed the attorney to move forward, indicating they should uphold the injunction against these sections of the law.
The panel of judges seemed willing to permit police to check for legal status if they suspect illegal status but did not go as far as to permit authorities to arrest and prosecute such suspects under state law.
If this were the ruling it allow suspected illegal aliens to be turned over to Homeland Security for deportation.
The judges seemed to concur with a lower court's ruling that the Arizona law in fact, interfered with the federal government's authority regarding illegal immigration.
However to the dismay of civil activists and the Justice Department, the judges seemed ready to lift the ban on the police to demand immigration paperwork and then to turn them over to Homeland Security for deportation.
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, who appeared at the hearing in San Francisco, said that she will appeal the case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.
Proponents of comprehensive immigration laws fear that this decsion could set a new negative tone on immigration politics.
by Moses Apsan, Esq.
October 31, 2010 - It’s finally official. Dilma Rousoff has been elected as the first female president of Brazil. She thrashed José Serra of the opposition centrist PSDB in a second-round run-off today, Sunday, winning 56 per cent of the vote.
Dilma, who has never had any elected political office was a long time government bureaucrat and was President Lula’s chief of staff and energy minister. Many analysts concur that it wasn't Workers' Party candidate Dilma’s speech-making ability, her proposals or record that provided her with victory. What made the difference was the support from her mentor and predecessor President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who has an amazing approval rating of more than 80 per cent. He made it his main concern during his last year in office to get Dilma elected.
Lula had dedicated much of the last several weeks campaigning for Dilma, who served him as chief of staff and energy minister. At his 65th birthday celebration Wednesday, he asked voters to give him Dilma's victory as a present.
The opposition did better in this year’s election for state and federal assemblies and for the post of state governors. And although Serra’s campaign lost, the opposition remained unified. Now that Serra’s presidential aspirations are gone, Aécio Neves, the young and charming governor of Minas Gerais state, is ready to come forward.
Luckily for Dilma, she will enter office on the peak of the strongest economic progress in two decades, the nation's lowest unemployment rate on record and an even stronger congressional popularity than Lula had.
Brazil finds itself with vast road and rail network challenges to support its speedy economic growth. Inflation is an ever present danger in Brazil, and her supervision of the economy will come under intense examination. Dilma will also have to choose whether to preserve the military increase begun under Lula
Dilma Rousseff, 62, is the daughter of a schoolteacher mother and a Bulgarian immigrant father. During her period as a college student, Dilma joined an urban guerrilla group called National Liberation Command to oppose the military dictatorship that ruled Brazil from 1964 to 1985. To many she is consider a patriot and a hero because of the torture she endured during the early 70’s when she was jailed for her political activism.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 29, 2010
Washington D.C. - Today, the Pew Hispanic Center released a report that has an attention-getting headline, but pays little attention to detail. The report makes much of recent data indicating that unemployment has fallen slightly among foreign-born workers over the past year, while rising slightly among native-born workers. Some observers will undoubtedly conclude from this that the jobs which went to foreign-born workers would have otherwise gone to native-born workers if not for the presence of immigrants in the labor market. However, this is not the case. In reality, immigrant and native-born workers are not interchangeable, nor do they compete with each other for some fixed number of jobs in the U.S. economy. Moreover, many immigrants are highly skilled professionals who create jobs through their inventiveness and entrepreneurship.
Unfortunately, the Pew report provides no detail about the skill level of the workers who have gained or lost jobs since last year, nor does it tell us where in the country they live. Yet this is critical information in determining how many unemployed natives might have filled jobs which went to immigrants. As the Immigration Policy Center (IPC) pointed out in an August 2009 report, employed immigrants and unemployed natives "tend to have different levels of education, to live in different parts of the country, to have experience in different occupations, and to have different amounts of work experience. As a result, they could not simply be 'swapped' for one another."
Consider just the question of where native-born and foreign-born workers live. According to a July 2010 report from the Congressional Budget Office, 62.5% of foreign-born workers lived in six states as of 2009: California, New York, Florida, Texas, New Jersey, and Illinois. In contrast, 66.2 percent of native-born workers lived in the other 44 states. In other words, many unemployed natives would have to travel half way across the country to reach the jobs currently held by immigrants.
In addition, as the Pew report itself notes "even if immigrants have managed to gain jobs in the recovery, they have experienced a sharp decline in earnings. From 2009 to 2010, the median weekly earnings of foreign-born workers decreased 4.5%, compared with a loss of less than one percent for native-born workers. Latino immigrants experienced the largest drop in wages of all."
It's also important to remember that even if immigrants were somehow magically removed from the U.S. labor force, this would not "free up" jobs for unemployed natives. Why? Because all workers are also consumers who create jobs through their purchasing power. If all immigrant consumers in the United States disappeared, many businesses that depend heavily upon their purchases would go under and the U.S. economy would lose jobs overall.
When examining the latest figures from the Pew Hispanic Center, it is important to keep in mind that most foreign-born workers complement, rather than compete with, most native-born workers. As an August 2010 report from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco points out, "immigrants expand the U.S. economy's productive capacity, stimulate investment, and promote specialization that in the long run boosts productivity," and "there is no evidence that these effects take place at the expense of jobs for workers born in the United States."
For more information, contact Wendy Sefsaf at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-507-7524.
For Immediate Release
September 19, 2010
Washington D.C. - Earlier this week, the American Immigration Council's Legal Action Center (LAC), the American Immigration Lawyers Association, and the Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center filed an amicus brief with the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) urging the government to protect the rights of immigrants whose mental disabilities prevent them from participating meaningfully in their own removal hearings. Nearly one in six individuals in immigration custody have some form of mental illness, and there have been reports of mistaken deportations of U.S. citizens with mental disabilities. "This is particularly disturbing given that these immigrants are not granted court-appointed counsel in immigration proceedings" said Melissa Crow, Director of the Legal Action Center.
The BIA is currently considering a case involving a noncitizen with mental disabilities and sought input from the LAC on a range of questions relating to procedures for adjudicating this and similar cases. The LAC urged that a single case, which does not raise fully all the issues that need to be resolved, is not the proper forum for deciding such complicated issues with far-reaching implications. Instead, the LAC argued that a rulemaking process, with outreach to a broad spectrum of stakeholders, including disability rights advocates, mental health professionals and social service providers, would be a more appropriate way to proceed.
While the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly addressed the rights of defendants with mental disabilities during criminal trials, no comparable guidance exists for immigrants with mental disabilities during removal proceedings. The Immigration and Nationality Act charges the Attorney General with prescribing safeguards in removal proceedings to protect the rights and privileges of certain immigrants with mental disabilities. At a minimum, such safeguards must include counsel. Additional safeguards, including the appointment of a guardian, friend or relative, may also be required for immigrants whose disabilities are so severe that they cannot communicate with their attorneys. If the requisite safeguards are unavailable, termination of proceedings is appropriate. The Board also received amicus briefs from the Capital Area Immigrants' Rights Coalition, Human Rights Watch, Physicians for Human Rights, as well as Texas Appleseed and Advocacy, Inc
by Moses Apsan, Esq.
In his second year in office, Obama has finally seen the light and is telling lawmakers that he's ready to move forward to help pass a bill allowing thousands and perhaps millions of students who either attends college or join the military to become legal residents.
Speaking at a meeting of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Wednesday Obama said that he'll work with the Senate and support Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada in trying to get the DREAM Act passed.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, the brave and eternal immigration advocate, has said he will attach the bill to a defense policy measure the Senate may consider next week. Republicans are against handling the bills that way and have accused Reid of playing politics with the measures.
“Currently, individuals who were brought to the U.S. illegally years ago through no fault of their own have no way to legalize their immigration status and go to college to improve their lives,” Reid said in a statement. “The DREAM Act would address this problem by providing that upon graduation from high school, young people who have stayed in school and out of trouble would be able to apply for conditional legal immigration status. This status would be made permanent if they continue on to college or serve in the military.”
Reid is taking a great risk in this position, as he is presently fighting for his seat as senator of Nevada, a state with a tremendous anti-immigrant momentum.
The new Tea Party Republican Party, sent out an e-mail to supporters Thursday morning enlisting their help in stopping the DREAM Act,
"We have a serious amnesty threat with the DREAM Act giving citizenship to over 2.1 million illegal students and young adults," the call to action read.
More than three million students graduate from U.S. high schools every year and each year 70,000 of these graduates are undocumented students with basically no hope of pursuing their dreams to be a legitimate part of American society. These young people unfortunately, begin their life "behind the 8 ball." They do not get the opportunities most kids have as an inherent part of being a U.S. citizen. Attached to them is the notorious title of, an illegal immigrant. Most of these youths have lived in the United States for a majority of their lives and, now upon graduation from High School, they find that they cannot go to college, get decent work or even drive a car. They live in fear that their status will be discovered and they will be deported. In essence they are relegated to a sub-class, similar to the untouchables in India's past. Those living in Arizona must, by now be in a panic state.
Illegal students can only obtain permanent status through their parents; there is no independent method to accomplish legal residency for them. And if the parents are illegal, they have absolutely no way to "stand in line" and wait for legal documentation, as repeatedly and incorrectly suggested by those anti-immigration reform proponents . If they return to their country of birth, it would not guarantee a path to documented status. On the contrary, they probably could never be able to legally return.
Even so, these children are innocent and not to blame. They came along with their parents, most of them between 2 to 10 years of age. These children studied in the U.S., made American friends, and evolved into Americans. Some did not even have the knowledge about their legal status until they attempted to enter college and found out the hard way that they are illegal and have no future in the U.S. To the rescue comes the Dream Act.
During an interview last week with the Spanish-language newspaper La Opinion, Reid was quoted as saying, “I just don’t want anybody to think that if we somehow just do the DREAM Act, that that solves the problem. We’ve got a bigger problem that we have to solve. We still need comprehensive immigration reform.
A statement from the National Immigration Law Center, which helps immigrants gain citizenship, said, “By bringing the long-overdue DREAM Act to a vote, Senator Reid has shown that he agrees with 70 percent of Americans who want to provide undocumented young men and women a chance to apply their full potential to making our country a better place to live.”
Time is short; November is around the corner and the lives of millions of children are at stake.