by Moses Apsan, Esq.
President Barack Obama heads to Texas next Tuesday to deliver a speech calling on congress for immigration reform, which includes the 11 million living illegally in the country.
"The speech will reflect the President's continued commitment to find a bipartisan way to create a bipartisan -- rather comprehensive immigration reform," White House spokesman Jay Carney said Friday. "The fact that we were not able to achieve that in the first two years only means that we need to refocus our efforts and try to find that compromise."
But at the recent “Cinco de Mayo” reception his words leave an impression that he has yet to begin work on immigration reform. "I want to begin work this year, and I want Democrats and Republicans to work with me -- because we’ve got to stay true to who we are, a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants. He went on to say “I want to work with Republicans and Democrats to protect our borders, to enforce our laws and also to address the status of millions of undocumented workers”
Republican leaders in the GOP-controlled House oppose anything Obama. Rep. Lamar Smith, R-San Antonio, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee said “The president wasn’t able to pass his version of immigration reform when he had large Democratic majorities in the House and Senate because of bipartisan opposition, so it’s unlikely he will succeed anytime soon,”
It's not that Obama hasn't tried and his predecessor, George W. Bush, also tried to pass immigration reform but was basically ignored by his own party. Recently Obama supported, the DREAM Act --- which would have resolved a difficult moral issue by opening our doors to children brought to the US by their parents before the age of 16 provided they attend two years of college or join the armed forces. It died in the Senate under the threat of a Republican filibuster.
Obama realized early on his presidency that securing the borders would be the only hope of a successful bi-partisan legislation. To this end Obama increased the Border Patrol to 20,700 agents, doubling the amount of agents in 2004 which has led to almost 800,000 deportations in the past two years. Obama officials proudly say that Illegal immigration has dropped due to increased enforcement and the economy.
((These aggressive governmental actions on immigration issues controlled by Obama, is upsetting many immigrants and supporters)). Last Sunday thousands of immigrants poured into the streets of Los Angeles to demand that President Barack Obama fulfill his campaign promise to legalize millions of undocumented immigrants. And Thousands more protesters in support of immigrant and worker rights marched in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. There will be many more.
THE STATES GET INVOLVED
Individual states are also upset with the current immigration posture of the Obama presidency. Last Wednesday, Gov. Pat Quinn of Illinois said he was withdrawing his state from the Secure Communities program, while in California, where the program has already begun, it's Legislature is reviewing a bill that would permit counties or police agencies to decide on whether to participate. Under the program, the fingerprints of every person arrested by the police would be compared against Department of Homeland Security databases for immigration violations. This would be in addition to routine checks against the F.B.I.’s criminal databases, opening a door for easy deportation of non-criminal illegal immigrants. So far, 26 out of 102 local jurisdictions in Illinois had begun participating.
The resistance to Secure Communities has antagonized Latino immigrant communities that want Mr. Obama to press for legislation offering legal status to illegal immigrants. These are the Hispanics that strongly supported Democrats in recent elections. Even the American Immigration Lawyers Association called for suspension of the program. Yet the increase in arrests and deportations has not persuaded Republicans that the administration is working strong on enforcement.
According to Department of Homeland Security 's Statistics nearly one-third of immigrants deported under this program in Illinois had no criminal convictions. A confusion for many, as being illegal in the United States is a civil violation. It is not a crime.
And here comes the election. Obama is stepping up his appearances on immigration reform. He is now looking like the "old" Obama and appears ready to fight for immigrant rights. But is this perception true? We all know that old maxim "it's not what he says it's what he does." Well, we will shortly know if Obama's comprehensive immigration reform are just words used for his re-election or a true manifesto.
by: Moses Apsan,Esq.
Fling a bankruptcy and surrendering your home or reducing the 2nd mortgage, short sales and foreclosure can all result in cancellation or forgiveness of debt for the borrower by the IRS. When there is debt cancellation , it can become taxable income to the borrower. In other words, if a $100,000 2nd mortgage is reduced by 90%, you may be left holding the bag on taxes for the amount forgiven. Here it would be $90,000. Not exactly what you want, especially after losing your home.
Apparently Congress and the President expect many taxpayers to lose their homes over the three year period the law will remain in force. On December 20, 2007, the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 became law.
The relief from debt stemming from foreclosure of a personal residence, but only to the extent the debt went into buying or improving the house, will not be taxed if a foreclosure occurs between January 1, 2007, and December 31, 2009. However, many still have a problem unless they file a petition in bankruptcy.
There is a limit on the cancellation of debt a homeowner can claim before it becomes taxable. The limits are $2,000,000 or $1,000,000 for a married taxpayer filing a separate return. Nonetheless, many consumers will still have a tax bill after the foreclosure of their real estate loans. The initial problem will be that only debt from buying or improving the property is protected by the new law. When home values were skyrocketing and sub-prime lenders were easy with lending guidelines, it was quite popular to take out a second mortgage or home equity line of credit to consolidate high interest credit card debt.
Most people that reafinced their home, did not have to pay off credit card bills as part of the contract. This portion of the home debt is not covered with and continue to trigger tax liability when the loan is foreclosed.
Second homes, vacation homes, investment property and businesses are not included in the forgiveness; it will only apply to debt secured against the principal residence of the taxpayer. If a taxpayer has two homes, only the home that is used the majority of the time will generally qualify.In a bankruptcy exceptions to cancellation of debt income taxation still are available.
by Moses Apsan, Esq.
Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) is on the move again with a 20-city tour aimed at at maintaining pressure on President Obama and Congress to resolve the problems associated with the mounting number of deportations and congress’ and more specifically Obama for his dismal failure in carrying out promises enact immigration reform.
Gutierrez said in Boston Obama "may" have trouble with the Hispanic vote in 2012 if he does not deliver on promises for an immigration overhaul
Congressman Gutierrez supports a “parole-in-place” program that would permit illegal aliens with children to live in the United States legally. At the media event in Rhode Island, Gutierrez explained his plans to collect statements from illegal aliens and send them to President Obama in an effort to “persuade” the President to “use the discretion the law already confers on him” to create and carry out the Congressman’s “parole-in-place” scheme.
According to the Rhode Island Providence Journal-Bulletin, Gutierrez said : "In just one year with Barack Obama as president, Gutierrez pointed out, 400,000 people were deported from the United States -- more people than any other president has deported, he asserted. And most of them, Gutierrez said, are not violent criminals, but law-abiding, hard-working people."
Gutierrez, the chairman of the Democratic Caucus Immigration Task Force for the 110th Congress, is also a chairman of the Immigration Task Force established by the United Association for Labor Education. Over the past few years Gutierrez has established himself as a zealous advocate for comprehensive immigration reform
In December 2009, Gutierrez, in introducing his new Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill said," "The time for waiting is over. This bill will be presented before Congress recesses for the holidays so that there is no excuse for inaction in the New Year. “ It’s failure to become law has not hindered Gutierrez’s unstoppable efforts.
A Boston Globe report on Gutierrez's Sunday town hall: “A Democratic congressman from President Obama's home state gathered immigrants in East Boston yesterday to draw attention to the plight of families that fear being divided by deportation and to warn that the president risks losing the support of the Latino community if he doesn't deliver on immigration reform.”
Gutierrez spoke in adamant tones, "We kind of made a covenant. There was a compact. You came to us and you said, 'Elect me president of the United States and I will be your champion for immigration reform,' '' said Representative Luis V. of Illinois. "Wherever I go, people say to me, 'Luis, when's he going to keep his promise?' ''
Gutierrez explained that most immigrants want to support Obama. However, after the on going increase in deportations e under Obama’s administration and finding out about of the Secure Communities program, Gutierrez said that he will challenge the president to provide more balance through comprehensive immigration reform.
Meanwhile, the White House, while portraying itself to be in favor of compassionate immigration laws, is insisting lawmakers to stay away from Gutierrez’s campaign to impede deportations involving U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants. Such a move jeopardizes Latino votes crucial to President Barack Obama’s re-election.
In a recent March 31 news conference several members of Congress scheduled to attend Gutierrez’s meeting said administration officials contacted them to voice unease about their involvement. These lawmakers logically opined that until U.S. immigration law is overhauled, ((Obama should use his executive power to shield families facing deportation or separation because at least one parent is an illegal immigrant)).
Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus noted the absences. “I heard some people got called,” said Arizona Representative Raul Grijalva, former president of the caucus. “I didn’t.”
These lawmakers are requesting that the White House “to make some administrative remedies to lessen the pain,” Grijalva said. But the White House,“ see that as politically not healthy for them.”
The White House argues that it does not have the legal authority to exempt certain illegal immigrant categories from the law.
“With respect to the notion that I can just suspend deportations through executive order, that’s just not the case,” Obama explained on March 28 at a town hall sponsored by the Univision television network. “There are laws on the books that Congress has passed.”
Hispanic voters held a pivotal role in pushing Obama to win in 2008, giving him 67 percent of their support, according to the Pew Research Center.
Now in 2112, it will again be the Hispanic vote that will either “make it or break it” for Obama. Let’s see if Obama is up to the fight.
by Moses Apsan, Esq.
A Manhattan immigration judge adjourned a deportation proceeding against Monica Alcota, the spouse of American citizen Cristina Ojeda in order to permit the U.S. immigration service to adjudicate a I-130, Petition for Alien Relative marking the first time a married, same-sex, couple has achieved such a triumph. Form I-130 is used by the USCIS for citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States to establish the relationship to certain alien relatives who wish to immigrate to the United States. In this case the relative is a spouse.
The postponement of the her deportation proceedings was based on the emerging legal debate surrounding the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Currently married, heterosexual, couples are eligible under DOMA to apply for green card, but married same-sex couples are deprived of the same opportunity.
The couple’s attorneys, Noemi Masliah and Lavi Soloway contended that the couple’s marital status qualifies for permanent residency status. After the adjournment, Soloway discussed the judge’s decision to Gay City News and said:
“It is almost impossible to overstate the significance of what happened in there… An adjournment based on an I-130. It would never have happened a year ago. I don’t think I even would have filed it.”
Attorney Soloway says that if the couple’s DOMA challenge is ultimately unsuccessful he will argue, in the alternative, that asylum is required here due to a “provable fear of persecution” in her home country of Argentina.
Last year US District Court Judge Joseph L. Tauro in Boston knocked down the DOMA terms that bars federal recognition of legal same-sex marriages. He found that this section of DOMA violated the equal protection clause of the constitution and impermissible interfered with right of the state of Massachusetts to grant recognition under joint state-federal benefit programs.
The ruling was appealed by the Department of Justice to the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals, where the established precedent regarding claims of sexual orientation discrimination is that plaintiffs must show there is no rational basis for the difference in law they are challenging.
In Connecticut and New York , the courts in the 2nd Circuit when confronted with comparable lawsuits, where there is no existing precedent on anti-gay bias claims concluded that such claims should appropriately be held to a heightened level of scrutiny, and that under that type of review, DOMA’s constitutionality was not be justified.
The Department of Justice (DOJ), however, opined that there was a violation of the equal protection rights of same-sex couples. Attorney General Holder stated that would no longer defend DOMA in federal court.
It’s difficult to tell how long this case will last in court. If the USCIS denies the I-130 application, as it will probably do, there will be an appeal and the case will last for many years.
No matter what, it is the beginning of a new era for same sex marriage and the immigration service. Time will tell whether gay people will really be granted equiality to heterosexuals in America.
by Moses Apsan, Esq.
February 21, 2011 - Arkansas lawmakers are attempting to prohibit the state from providing non-emergency benefits to illegal immigrants. John Selig, director of the Department of Human Services, explained his opposition to the bill is a cut off funding for prenatal care for women who are in the country illegally. Referring to the unborn children Selig stated “Our concern is they are going to be American citizens and Arkansas citizens.”
According to a DHS spokeswoman other programs that could be affected by the legislation. These programs include child welfare and protection and services for developmentally disabled children.
Undocumented immigrants in need of medical assistance find themselves in a very difficult situation. Each year, millions of immigrants need medical assistance, and many have no medical insurance. Not having medical insurance in this country can result in big and permanent problems, especially for people who suffer from chronic illness.
Charity care, however, does exist. Last year hospitals in New York and Pennsylvania granted almost $2 billion in emergency and short-term treatment to uninsured patients, including a large number of immigrants. The hospitals generally pay off these debits, known as charity care, which are separate from expenses related to Medicaid and other insurance plans maintained by the government.
It is not known how many immigrants, documented or undocumented, depend on charity care, because the hospitals normally do not report the numbers. In New Jersey, where approximately 18 percent of the population was born overseas, charity care for immigrants is a major issue. Under federal law, any hospital that receives federal funds should provide emergency or short-term treatment to any person – regardless of whether or not they are documented.
However, when it comes to permanent and long-term treatment, the problem is greater. To qualify for most insurance plans, like Medicaid, an individual must be an American citizen, refugee or legal resident. According to national studies conducted recently by a health economist from the University of Pennsylvania, 44 percent of uninsured patients could be undocumented immigrants. A rather high number.
The difficult situation of illegal immigrants varies depending on the state in which they live. For emergency care, some states do more than others to help hospitals lower their costs treating the uninsured. New Jersey, for example, reimbursed its hospitals about one third of the $965 million in charity care bills last year.
But there are states, like Pennsylvania, that have no reimbursement programs for private hospitals, whose charity care bills run as high as $975 million a year. The uninsured can be sent away if the hospital believes they do not need emergency care.
The situation as a whole needs some kind of reform. It seems almost obvious that no palliative solution will resolve this epidemic problem until our country deals with the issue of illegal immigration in an affirmative way, accepting that immigrants are here to stay.
by Moses Apsan, Esq.
President Obama's dismal failure with the growing immigration reform controversy is leading our country towards what feels like a modern day civil war. It's true that most legal scholars agree that immigration issues are federal in nature and it is the federal government's duty to to weave the immigration laws in a way that is best for America. But it is also true that under the Tenth Amendment powers not granted to the United States were reserved to the individual States or to the people. It is this clause of the constitution, accompanied by the federal government 's non-action, that has given rise to the individual states' efforts in controlling immigration.
Let's review what's happening in the different states. In Arkansas lawmaker are attempting to prohibit the state from providing non-emergency benefits to illegal immigrants. They simply ignore the chief argument against his proposal: that it would cut off services for children and pre-natal care the state provides. Even their governor, Mike Beebe oppose the bill saying that it would go too far by denying other essential services to some of the most vulnerable in the state.
"You're talking about taking health care away from unborn children, you're talking about taking health care away from disabled children, you're talking about taking mammograms away from women to detect breast cancer," Beebe spokesman Matt DeCample said. "And that's all pretty dangerous stuff. ... By just his conscience, the governor cannot support any bill that deprives unborn children of health care or deprives developmentally disabled children from the help they need." Another Arkansas lawmaker, Rep. Justin Harris, sponsored a bill that would exclude illegal immigrants from receiving in-state tuition. But the Vice Chancellor for Government and Community Relations Richard Hudson of the University of Arkansas opposed the bill.
Georgia is attempting to implement immigration legislation similar to the highly controversial and court condemned Arizona legislation that caused division between many states and eventually resulted in the loss of millions of dollars in state revenues. The Georgia law, HB-87, attempts to encourage law enforcement officers to use routine traffic stops to verify immigration status where an officer has “reasonable suspicion” or in the senate bill “reasonable cause” to suspect that the individual might not be a legal U.S. citizen. Many off Georgia's public officials, community organizations and citizens believe that such a law would evolve to the abuse of traffic stops and routine detentions for both unreasonable search and seizures as well as racial profiling.
In Utah, the House of Representatives passed HB70 which directs law enforcement officers to make a judgment call when checking immigration status, but after much debate was reduced to only requirie police officers to review the immigration status of anyone involved in an arrest for a serious crime.
At the same time opposite sentiments and legislation are developing throughout the country. In New York City Mayor Michael Rubens Bloomberg joined forces with giants of the fashion industry such as Oscar de la Renta, Malia Mills, Brooks Brothers, and Diane von Furstenberg to advocate for immigration reforms. "New York City is the fashion capital of the world, and that means thousands of jobs for our city...if international fashion companies face too many visa problems in America, they will simply move their billions in revenue and thousands of jobs to our competitors overseas. We need an immigration strategy that supports our businesses, instead of getting in their way," Bloomberg commented.
And in Virginia, Del. Jackson Miller was upset after a Senate subcommittee killed his anti-immigrant legislation. Miller stated that “The state Senate has let us down again, They’ve chosen political correctness and expediency over public safety. More Virginians will die, and more will be raped, as a result of their actions – or should I say, failure to act." The Bill would have mimicked Arizona's SB 1070 and required Virginia State Police to work with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency in enforcing federal immigration laws.
In Utah, the fight for comprehensive immigration reform has just begun. Thirty four years old Sen. Luz Robles, has developed a unusual state solution to the immigration dilemma that has caught the interest of legislators across the country. If her approach works it could change the tone of the nation's immigration debate. Her proposed bill SB60, would required the issuance of an "accountability card" to illegal immigrants living in Utah. The card would allow the immigrants the right to work without requiring a change in their legal status. The bill mandates a thorough criminal background check and learn English in order to obtain the permit.
Immigration proponents have hailed Robles' immigration bill as "ground breaking" and "creative" and in perfect harmony with what immigrants want most; the opportunity to work and live without fear. If this bill were to pass, immigration experts believe that it may have a similar national reaction as Arizona's SB1070, which attempted to get local police to enforce federal immigration laws and deport illegal immigrants.
Now, why couldn't Obama think of that?
by Moses Apsan, Esq.
If recent political activity means anything, then the rumors of the death of immigration reform have been greatly exaggerated. Republicans McCain (Arizona) and Lindsey Graham (South Carolina) who took an about face on comprehensive immigration reform last spring, are showing signs that they may be on the verge of revisiting this hot issue. Graham told Politico that he has been talking to New York Senator Chuck Schumer and followed these comments with a statement to CNN that he would consider immigration reform, once the borders are secure. ((Is this the opening that proponents for comprehensive immigration reform have been waiting for or is it just another Red Herring, ))The border issue has been the republicans matador's red flag since the passage of the 1986 Reagan program called Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA). IRCA granted an estimated 3 million unauthorized immigrants amnesty. As part of IRCA, a border fence was required to be constructed. Yet after over 25 years, the border was never constructed. Is this what McCain is refering to when he says that he would consider immigration reform AFTER making the borders secure? Or perhaps he is being genuine.
Well now, it seems that McCain is talking about creating a mutually agreeable set of benchmarks with Homeland Security Secretary, Janet Napolitano. What type of border security and what level he is considering, we will soon find out.“We have to agree on certain criteria on what is successful securing of our border,” McCain said during a Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing. “I think it would be very helpful to all of us if you could lay out what is necessary, what assets need to be devoted and what statistics could show us that the border is being secured, and at that time I think we could move forward with comprehensive immigration reform.”
This comment alone was enough to change the wind of opportunity and if said in earnest, could open a dialogue on the issue which would lead to a possible reform bill in the New Congress.
McCain has been a fierce opponent of Napolitano and the current administration. In June he said “Statistics can be manipulated to prove anything,..But the cold hard fact is that our border is far from secure.”
At the hearing McCain seemed to soften his anger against Reno and said that she "quite appropriately" pointed out the efforts the federal government has made over the last two years on border enforcement; however, he was unhappy at it's involvement and success in his state.
In the past Napolitano has rebuffed McCain and other proponents of the "first secure the border theory," but at the same meeting she seemed to indicate a willingness to to meet and talk with McCain and others to find a common vision of what "securing the border" entails.
Well there certainly is a future for comprehensive immigration reform and the rumors of it's death have greatly been exaggerated.
by Moses Apsan, Esq.
New York - February 9, 2011 - Arizona, the center of the anti- immigrant network and it's head henchman, Senator Russell Pierce are at it again with an attack at a segment of u.s born children by trying to strip away their citizenship; in an apparent effort to create an underclass. Pierce and his loyalist know that their battle is futile and un- Americanizing U.S. children will never happen, but they want to make a statement that is loud and clear. From their vantage point any one that is illegal the United States, no matter how long they have resided here, no matter the extent of their family, whether they are criminals or priests, are not welcome in this country under any condition. He wants them out, but if that is not possible, at least relegated to lower class, similar to the infamous "untouchables" in India's past.
Pierce, the architect of Arizona’s infamous and controversial immigration law, SB 1070, which, among other things, allows police to profile with impunity, is a sponsor of the citizenship legislation.
Just a few months ago, Pearce said that the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment, which addresses citizenship, was never meant to include he children of people who live in the United States illegally.
“This is a battle of epic proportions,” Pearce, a Republican, commented at a press conference in Arizona. "We’ve allowed the hijacking of the 14th Amendment.”
The bill, SB1309 creates and defines an “Arizona citizenship.” A second bill, SB1308, will require that the Arizona’s governor to enter the state into agreements with other states to basically create two sets of birth certificates, one for children whose parents are here illegally, and another for those whose parents are citizens or who are legally in the country.
The legislative effort is part of a national strategy by anti-immigrant politicians desirous of finding a way to "ged rid of" illegal immigration by getting the US Supreme Court to review and opine on the issue of American citizenship. But the debate is deeper, it seeks to redefine who is an American citizen.
The bid to deny citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants failed to flourish on Monday when advocates could not get the votes of a Senate panel.
The central issue can be described as a disagreement of interpretation over whether jus soli, a legal concept that grants citizenship to those who are born within a territory, also extends to the 14th Amendment. The bills’ backers say it doesn’t while the bill’s opponents said it does.
After three hours or more of testimony at the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Ron Gould, R-Lake Havasu City, pulled measures. Gould lacked the backing of four other members of the Republican-controlled panel, which he is the chairman.
Interesting enough, the drafting of the legislation would apply to Arizona residents and U.S. citizens who hold a dual citizenship, such as children born to U.S. soldiers in bases overseas.
What have these anti-immigrant, and some even call them anti-Americans created? Kevin Sandler, president of Exhibit One, said "We've created a toxic environment,"…"Businesses don't want to move here."
"What we've really done is create a not-open-for-business environment here."
Most all of the testimony at the hearing was in opposition. Activist Salvador Reza likened the debate over the children citizenship s "not very dissimilar to the debate that happened in South Africa not too long ago." "Young kids like this were denied citizenship for whatever reasons," Reza said.
Jennifer Allen, executive director of the Border Action Network, said that in essence, denying citizenship to children born in this country based on a parent's citizenship would create "a permanent underclass" of people in the state
The U.S. may soon find itself in a civil war when it comes to the issues surrounding U.S. immigration laws. No other topic of discussion can create such antagonism between man and woman, brother and sister, neighbors and friends, then a discussion of the 12 million illegal aliens in the U.S. The US seems to be revisiting the civil war were the nation practically split in two because of the issue of slavery. Now, with the federal government ‘s failure to take charge of the immigration issue, each state has decided to resolve it on their own leading to a checkered countryside of pro and anti immigrant cities and states.
Most recently cities and states have been staking their sides by providing some sanctuary to the illegal aliens living in their community.
A Sanctuary city protects illegal aliens through local resolutions, executive orders or city ordinances. City police departments may also issue their own special orders, policies and general orders to the similar effect. Some cities have formal sanctuary policies. Others have informal sanctuary policy that does not exist on paper but none-the-less is carried out by the actions of government workers (administrative, service, or safety).
As of this writing the following cities are considered Sanctuary Cities.
Sanctuary Cities, USA
· Anchorage, AK (6/13/07 Congressional Research Service) (7-29-10 The Municipality of Anchorage disputes the listing. See notes at bottom of page for details.)
· Chandler, AZ (Added 5/30/07, Congressional Research Service Report, 2006 )
· Mesa, AZ (Added 10-18-09, Sources: Judicial Watch; East Valley Tribune article,1-4-2008)*
· DeLeon Springs, FL
· Deltona, FL
· Jupiter, FL (Added 4-13-09. Previously on watch list.)
· Lake Worth, FL (Added 4-13-09.)
· Ann Arbor, MI (6/13/07 Congressional Research Service)
· Detroit, MI (6/13/07 Congressional Research Service)
· Albuquerque, NM (6/13/07 Congressional Research Service; 8-14-07 KOB-TV 4 Eyewitness News report)
· Aztec, NM (Added 5-8-10, Identified by CRS in 2006 report to Congress)
· Rio Ariba County, NM (6/13/07 Congressional Research Service)
· Santa Fe, NM (6/13/07 Congressional Research Service)
· Albany, NY (Added 7-22-09 Source: Council adopts don't ask policy, Times Union report by Jordan Carleo-Evangelist)
· Carrboro, NC (Added 11-12-07 Source: Towns differ on illegal aliens by Patrick Winn, The News & Observer)
· Chapel Hill, NC (Added 11-12-07 Source: Towns differ on illegal aliens by Patrick Winn, The News & Observer)
· Columbus, OH (7/5/07 Source: 5/10/07 Columbus Dispatch article stating illegal aliens in misdemeanor cases are not reported to ICE)
· Dayton, OH (Added 1-11-10 Source: Dayton Daily News story by Lucas Sullivan. Police chief prohibits officers from asking about immigration status.
· Lima, OH (Added 10-28-08 Note: City administration opposes County Sheriff's efforts to remove illegal aliens.)
· Oberlin, OH (Added 1-25-09. Source: City Resolution adopted January 20, 2009)
· Painesville, OH (7-19-07 Source: 7-18-07 Cleveland Scene article)
· Oklahoma City (de facto)
· State of Oregon * (8-9-07 Congressional Research Service) *(See note below)
· Philadelphia, PA* (7-15-10 Source: Mayor Nutter's, November, 2009 Executive order: Policy Concerning Access of Immigrants to City Services .)
Salt Lake City, UT
· Alexandria, VA* (Added 10-6-08, Source: City Resolution No. 2246 adopted 10-9-07)
· Madison, WI (Congressional Research Service) Update: In June, 2010, the city council passed a resolution reaffirming its policy.
Washington, D.C. (Update: The Washington D. C. city council has voted to prohibit its police department from participating in the Secure Communities program in July, 2010 according to an AP story by Ivan Moreno dated 7-26-10.)
Cities under review
Diamond Bar, CA (6/26/07 Disputed by city. Currently being researched to verify.)
DesMoines, IA (Added 11-28-07 Source: Proposal seeks banning immigration raids in D.M., by Nigel Duara, DesMoines-Register)
Bridgeton, NJ (Added 6-3-07) [7-27-07 Disputed by a reputed farm worker advocate, see note below.]
Peekskill, NY [Disputed, being researched]
San Antonio, TX [Note: The Sanctuary status of San Antonio is disputed, being researched.]
Watch List Cities Note: This is a new list started 8-14-07 and was updated on 12-2-10.
Sanctuary Cities, USA: Additional Notes
The Municipality of Anchorage sent OJJPAC a letter disputing the city's listing postmarked July 29, 2010. It claims that the Congressional Research Service's listing of the city as a "sanctuary" was based on a Resolution adopted by its Assembly (AR 2003-223) in 2003. The Municipal Attorney Dennis Wheeler says that that Resolution was rescinded on December 18, 2007.
Mesa Arizona has been added as a sanctuary city list because of its reported "don't ask don't tell policy" and criticism by the local sheriff that the city is not enforcing the law. The sheriff has arrested illegal aliens working in city buildings (as contract workers for a private cleaning company), reportedly after the city police department refused to investigate complaints of illegal hires by a whistleblower.
Philadelphia's Mayor signed an Executive Order in November 2009 that provided additional protections to illegal aliens in the city. However, the City of Philadelphia does have an existing Preliminary Arraignment Reporting System (PARS) agreement with ICE. Mayor Nutter objects to the PARS computer technology agreement which is now up for renewal. The Mayor apparently believes that the access of data by ICE will result in increased immigration violation investigations and deportations. Here is an article by the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Tucson Arizona has been added to the sanctuary city list because the Tucson police have instituted a new policy which prevents their officers from calling Immigration and Customs Enforcement to schools and churches.
Tulsa city councilor Jim Mautino was quoted in a Tulsa World article by P.J. Lassek, that he believes Tulsa is a sanctuary city and that the Police don't verify legal presense during traffic stops. Mautino wants to crack down on illegal aliens and introduce an ordinance mandating the use of E-Verify because the resolution that was passed cannot be enforced.
State of Oregon
According to a CRS report (October, 2005), Oregon passed a law in 1987 that prohibits local and state law enforcement from using state resources for locating and capturing illegal aliens. Law enforcement was permitted [but not required] to "exchange information" with federal immigration agents if an illegal alien was arrested for a crime.
San Bernardino, CA.
San Bernardino was added to the list on June 6th of 2007 as a result of a readers submission. On September 5th 2008, the city administration contacted me to dispute its listing. OJJPAC has asked the city's law department to forward copies of the city's policies regarding its processes when illegal aliens are encountered in its city.
Bridgeton, NJ 7-27-07 Disputed by a reputed farm worker advocate who sent me this email:
"I just wanted to point out an inaccuracy on your website's listing of sanctuary cities. You have Bridgeton, NJ listed as a sanctuary city, and indeed it is most definitely not. I work with CATA - The Farm workers' Support committee (www.cata-farmworkers.org) and we have an organized group of membership in this town. One of our goals is working towards making Bridgeton an sanctuary city, but the local government is quite unfriendly towards the immig
by Moses Apsan, Esq.
New York, NY - December 24, 2010. Steve Fischbein, a legal resident of the United States traveled to England to take care of the estate of his deceased mother. He planned on returning within six months, but because of unforeseen legal problems, he had to stay 18 months until everything was resolved. During these months he never returned to this home in New York City. On Christmas eve his plane finaly landed in Kennedy Airport.
He waited on the line to show his passport, but to his dismay, an immigration officer pulled him aside into a special room were he was interrogated and given a notice to see an immigration judge; they wanted to take away his Green card.
It can happen to anyone. A family emergency and you are flying back home to be with relatives. The trip should have been a quick one, but one thing led to another and you were obliged to remain out of the U.S. for over one year. And, when you return and least expect it, you find yourself in a position that may cost you your green card. The trip ends with a frightening note as you enter the U.S. A USCIS (immigration service) official tells you that you have abandoned your lawful permanent residence (LPR) status and sends you to see a judge, who will decide if you are to keep your green card.
While an extended absence alone is not good enough reason for revoking permanent residence, it is one factor the USCIS considers very important. So, when planning a long trip abroad, it is necessary to plan ahead to avoid abandonment.
Among the many factors that influence the decision on abandonment are the length and reason for the absence as well as the number and type of connections you maintain in the US. There are many steps you can take to show your intention to maintain their status in the US.
It is a commonly mistakenly belief that a visit every year to the US will preserve LPR status. While an LPR needs only the green card to reenter the US after an absence of less than one year, this is not enough to indicate the requisite intention to remain a resident of the US. The LPR must take additional steps to preserve their status.
A most important factor in preserving permanent residence is to continue filing tax returns in the US. Due to international tax laws, in most cases, there will often be no tax owed to the US government. Failure to file a return, on the other hand, is almost always considered a sign that LPR status has been abandoned. Bank accounts also play an important role making the maintenance of a bank account practically a requirement. Credit cards are also a factor to consider. Every LPR should maintain a US credit card. These accounts should be as active as possible. For example, if the LPR is employed abroad, the salary should be deposited in the US account. The LPR should continue to renew their US driver’s license. Ownership of real estate helps in establishes the requisite connection with the US.
If the LPR’s absence is due to employment, a letter from the employer detailing the terms and length of employment is very important. If the absence is for family or personal reasons, proof of the illness should be obtained. These reason are, however easy to manufacture, so good documentation is most important.
If you know for sure that you will be staying out over one year, a reentry permit is advisable. (Form I-131) However, many of these same factors are involved in the decision of whether to issue such a permit, and even with a reentry permit the LPR can still be deemed to have abandoned status.
It is important that the LPR traveling abroad for an extended period is prepared to document their intent to remain a US resident if questioned by immigration or consular officials. It is wise to carry copies of relevant documents in a single location that can easily be presented to officials. Among these documents should be copies of past tax returns, deeds showing property ownership, records of bank account activity, relevant letters from employers, and letters explaining the purpose of the extended absence.
A caveat – Congress changed the law a few years ago to hold that permanent residents who leave the US for more than six months can be held inadmissible if there is something in their background now that would bar them from getting a green card . This can happen if you were convicted of a crime before the changes in the immigration laws occurring in 1997. Therefore it is imperative that anyone with a prior conviction should consult with an attorney before traveling.
For everyone else, bon voyage.