USA Immigration - search results
[h/t Media Matters]
This makes me happy in a weird, off-kilter kind of way. Boss Rush is all over comprehensive immigration reform, declaring that "it's up to [him] and Fox News" to stop immigration reform, before it's too late. It makes me happy because anything that makes Fox News look worse to people who don't pay much attention is a good thing --and plenty of Fox viewers aren't in love with Rushbo.
It also makes me happy because for once, we're on offense instead of defense. Between the president's gun control proposals, comprehensive immigration reform, climate change and tax reform, Rush is going to exhaust his audience trying to keep them outraged over it all. That means we might actually get some things out of the Congress that we wouldn't if they all had to focus on one thing, like they did with the Affordable Care Act.
Perhaps Rush can co-opt Tea Party Nation to carry his message. I loved what they sent out today. Keep in mind that Judson Phillips routinely calls Democrats the "party of treason," while saying little about Republicans. Unfortunately, they now have a name from him, too:
Does the Party of Stupid ever learn?
In 1986, we went through this. Ronald Reagan, in one of the worst mistakes of his Presidency agreed to amnesty for three million illegals. The deal was the illegals would get amnesty and then the border would be secured.
The illegals got their amnesty but 26 years later, the border is still not secured.
The Republican members of the so-called “Gang of eight” have sold America out for the promise of the border being secured.
Twenty-five years from now, the border will not be anymore secured than it is today.
Someone needs to tell the GOP to buy a clue. Creating 15 to 20 million new Democrat voters is not going to get more Republican voters.
Democrats are once again laughing as the Republicans hand them victory.
Oh, and he trashed Saint Ronnie in the process. Perish the thought!
Phillips and his group have the unique distinction of a listing on the SPLC's list of hate groups, mostly because Judson Phillips is one of the nastiest people ever to grace the internet with his presence. He spams inboxes daily with end-of-the-world claims about the budget, guns, treason, and how much he loathes Barack Obama.
The truth is, Rush and Judson both need someone to hate in order to be relevant. They're about to discover that when it comes to immigration reform, that may not even be enough. The surest path to irrelevance for the Republican party isn't passage of immigration reform, it's dredging up all of the old hate themes against anyone who isn't white.
The real unanswered question is whether Republican politicians are sufficiently committed to ensuring the future of their party rather than by permanently alienating Hispanics and African-Americans. The outcome of immigration reform may well hinge on that decision.
But hey, Rushbo. You keep flogging that dead horse right alongside your pal Judson. Flog it, and yourself, into irrelevance.
Oklahoma lawmaker wants to turn non-English-speaking kids over to immigration officials to save cash
Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg is to call for a bail-like system of security bonds to tackle visa abuse.
The bonds would be paid as a cash guarantee from visa applicants coming from high-risk countries and would be repaid once the visitor leaves Britain.
In his first speech on immigration as deputy prime minister, Mr Clegg will unveil the radical proposal at the liberal think-tank, the Centre Forum.
He will pledge to "lay the foundations for an immigration system that embodies this nation's instincts and its values" as he attacks the previous Labour government for "grossly" mismanaging the issue.
Earlier this month, Labour leader Ed Miliband admitted his party failed on immigration.
Mr Miliband again said his party was wrong to relax controls - a move that allowed hundreds of thousands of foreigners to move to the UK.
Mr Clegg will say: "We are grappling with the difficult challenges in our immigration system.
"Brick by brick, we are rebuilding it. Day by day we are making sure, quite simply, that it works.
"All the British people ask is for a system they can have confidence in. We hear that, and we are delivering it.
"I'm determined we lay the foundations for an immigration system that embodies this nation's instincts and its values - our openness and tolerance on one hand, our sense of fair play, on the other."
The Deputy Prime Minister will say that visa "overstayers" are one of the biggest challenges faced by the immigration system and the UK Border Agency (UKBA).
"The challenge isn't just stopping people coming into Britain illegally, it's about dealing with individuals who come over legitimately, but then become illegal once they're already here," he will say.
To tackle this issue, Mr Clegg has asked the Home Office to run a pilot of so-called security bonds, which echoes an Australian system applied to family visas.
It is understood the cost of the bonds would vary but are likely to be in the region of four figures.
Mr Clegg will be seeking views on the proposal, including from the Home Affairs Select Committee .
"The bonds would need to be well targeted - so that they don't unfairly discriminate against particular groups," he says.
"The amounts would need to be proportionate - we mustn't penalise legitimate visa applicants who will struggle to get hold of the money."
But UKIP, which came second to the Lib Dems in the recent Eastleigh by-election after focusing its campaign on tightening immigration controls, ridiculed Mr Clegg's plans.
Party leader Nigel Farage said: "Nick Clegg now joins the cavalcade of party politicians who have suddenly noticed a simple fact, that they are not trusted with our country's borders.
"Since the Eastleigh by-election they have thrown initiative after initiative at the headlines, but to no serious effect. The bottom line is, there is nothing that he, or they, can do about mass migration into this country while our borders are controlled by the European Union."
Mr Clegg will also reveal plans to increase cash penalties for "unscrupulous" employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants because they are cheaper.
The maximum fine is £10,000 per illegal worker - Mr Clegg will call for the penalty to "double" and has asked the Home Secretary to "look into the right amount".
But the deputy prime minister will also seek to reassure British businesses that the Coalition continues to prioritise "growth and building a stronger economy" with immigration a "key part of that".
He says: "The majority of people who come here work hard and make a contribution. Many have served - and still serve - in our armed forces.
"And if every member of an immigrant community suddenly downed tools, countless businesses and services would suffer.
"The NHS would fall over."
And Mr Clegg will hit out at the Labour party for leaving the immigration system in "disarray".
"The problem is that the system has not been well managed. It has been grossly mismanaged. I cannot stress enough just how chaotic it was."
The speech comes as the Government toughens its stance on immigration with a range of new measures aimed at bringing down net migration to the tens of thousands.
UKBA officials will conduct interviews with more than 100,000 student visa applicants from "high-risk" countries outside the EU to crack down on bogus students.
And a "genuine entrepreneur" test has been introduced to tackle the rising number of foreign nationals attempting to enter Britain by fudging their bank accounts.
But in the wake of criticism from politicians and the higher education sector, some immigration rules were recently loosened in a bid to give additional flexibility to businesses and allow top international students to pursue careers in Britain.
Published time: March 07, 2013 16:11
Immigrants entering Britain may be forced to pay a fee, which would only be reimbursed when they leave UK soil, and if they haven’t used health services. The UK is taking an increasingly hardline stance, despite a recent sharp decline in immigration.
The UK is seeking to impose financial bonds “as a further deterrent to reduce non-compliance by high-risk nationalities,” a source close to Theresa May, the Home Secretary, told the Daily Mail. Additionally, migrant family members already residing in the country would be made to pay a sum of thousands of pounds. It would be returned upon leaving the country.
If the reform goes through, immigrants entering the country for living and work purposes would have to put down the money to guarantee they wouldn’t ‘drain’ the country’s financial resources. Such resources would include things like non-emergency care from the health service. However, if British welfare was used by migrants entering the country, they would risk losing their money.
The entry fee would additionally be used to make sure immigrants didn’t outstay their visa (and fining them if they do), consolidating an existing act. The Immigration and Asylum Act (1999), already gives the government the right to make immigrants front some money upon entering the country, which can be retained by the government should they remain in the UK after the expiration of their visa.
Individuals from two or three countries were tagged as “high risk”, and it is at them that the scheme is targeted. The UK will not be allowed to impose the charge on immigrants from EU countries who comprise the EU’s Schengen passport-free zone.
Bulgaria and Romania had hoped to gain the same freedom to enter the UK as other EU nations, and were expected to apply to join the zone in a meeting on Thursday. However, their entrance needed to be granted through a unanimous vote, and Germany announced their plan to veto the move on Monday.
“There will be no vote, and no decision,” a source in the EU's current Irish presidency told AFP on Wednesday. “Several nations have reserves or concerns.” As a result, residents of the two countries could be among those impacted.
Net migration into Britain has fallen by a third, from 247,000 thousand migrants in June 2011 to 163,000 in 2012, according the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
Conservatives said they would clamp down on migrants, saying they were taking advantage of Britain's “soft touch,” which he was determined to quash.
On Wednesday, the Labour party leader Ed Miliband promised to take a heavy hand with immigration. He stated that the party had got it wrong in the past, saying “millions of people are concerned.”
“Low-skill migration has been too high and we need to bring it down,” he said.
The Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper called for the closure of student visa loopholes on Thursday, saying that many overstay or abuse (e.g. working instead of studying), despite the party denying accusations that they are moving to the right on migration.
The British Conservative party was shunted into third place in the Eastleigh by-election in February. The UKIP candidate, who beat the Conservatives, is a member of a party described by the Tory government as packed with “loonies and closet racists.”
It has been suggested that parties are adopting a stronger stance because of UKIP’s reputation for being heavy-handed on immigration.
Labour MP Diane Abbot, issued a recent warning to her party not to “spiral downwards” by veering to the right on immigration as a result of the by-election results.
Jeb Bush Reverses Immigration Stance, Brian Williams ‘Disappointed’ With U.S., and More
Posted on Mar 4, 2013
White House Makes Call: Responding to a petition on the White House site We the People, the Obama administration Monday said it should be legal for users to unlock their cellphones without getting carrier permission first. The petition, titled “Make Unlocking Cell Phones Legal” was posted in late January, just two days before it became illegal for Americans to unlock their phones without first getting the consent of their phone service provider. In the response, R. David Edelman, a White house senior adviser on Internet issues, wrote that neither “criminal law nor technological locks should prevent consumers from switching carriers when they are no longer bound by a service agreement or other obligation.” (Read more)
Filling the Cabinet: On Monday, President Obama announced nominees to head two crucial departments in his administration, energy and the Environmental Protection Agency. Obama nominated nuclear physicist Ernest Monizair to become the next energy secretary, and air quality expert Gina McCarthy to lead the EPA. If confirmed, they will replace Steven Chu and Lisa Jackson—both of whom decided not to serve another term in the administration—respectively. Obama hopes his two nominees, along with interior secretary pick Sally Jewell, will enact his second term energy agenda. (Read more)
Yearn to Earn: A pair of Democratic congressional lawmakers, Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin and California Rep. George Miller, are planning to introduce legislation that would raise the federal minimum wage from $7.75 an hour to $10.10. That’s a bigger increase than the one President Obama called for in last month’s State of the Union speech. The federal minimum wage is definitely due for an increase; the last time it was boosted was in 2007. (Read more)
Going Backward: Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has made a major flip on the hot button issue of immigration reform. Bush, who once said he supported a pathway to citizenship or legal residency, argues in his new book that creating such a route would only encourage more immigrants to come into this country illegally. “It is absolutely vital to the integrity of our immigration system that actions have consequences—in this case, that those who violated the law can remain but cannot obtain the cherished fruits of citizenship,” Bush and his co-author, conservative attorney Clint Bolick, write in “Immigration Wars: Forging an American Solution.” “To do otherwise would signal once again that people who circumvent the system can still obtain the full benefits of American citizenship.” The book is due out Tuesday. (Read more)
Not Stepping Down: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a liberal stalwart on the Supreme Court, has no plans to step down in the near future, the longtime justice told The New Yorker’s Jeffrey Toobin. Ginsburg, who turns 80 this month, says she intends to stay on the high court for as long as she “can do the job full steam.” She added, “as long as I think I have the candlepower, I will do it. And I figure next year for certain. After that, who knows?” (Read more)
Audio of the Day: NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams isn’t always shy when expressing his viewpoint, even if they end up raising some eyebrows. Appearing on Alec Baldwin’s podcast, “Here’s the Thing,” the oft-candid newsman definitely made one such remark. When asked by the “30 Rock” star if he had political opinions. Williams responded: “I sometimes don’t know. I have the same disappointments. In my patriotism, as a great man once said, I yield to no one. I love this country. I love the American idea. I have profound disappointments in my country.”
—Posted by Tracy Bloom.
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JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Today we spend the hour taking an inside look at the Guantánamo military prison, where 166 men remain locked up. Many have been held for over a decade without charge. Our first guest today was one of the first military officers assigned to prosecute prisoners at Guantánamo. Stuart Couch joined the Marines in 1987, enrolled in law school, became a military prosecutor, and rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel. He eventually left active duty but returned after the September 11th attacks. A friend of his, Michael Horrocks, died on September 11th. Horrocks was the co-pilot of United Airlines Flight 175, the second plane to hit the World Trade Center.
AMY GOODMAN: Two months after the attacks, President Bush issued an order creating military commissions to try prisoners captured abroad. Lieutenant Colonel Couch's first assignment was the prosecution of a man named Mohamedou Ould Slahi. At one point, Slahi was described as "the highest value detainee" at Guantánamo Bay. The case would change Couch's life and put him at the center of a national debate around torture, interrogations and ethics.
Couch's story is featured in the new book, Terror Courts: Rough Justice at Guantanamo Bay. It's by Wall Street Journal reporter Jess Bravin. Later in the show, we'll be joined by Jess, but first we turn to Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Couch, who's joining us from Charlotte, North Carolina, where he now works as an immigration judge.
Lieutenant Colonel, welcome to Democracy Now! Talk about the first day you went to Guantánamo and what you found.
LT. COL. STUART COUCH: Well, Amy, it was in October of 2003, shortly after I had joined the Office of Military Commissions. And on that particular day, I was waiting to watch the interrogation of one of the detainees who had been assigned to me to prosecute his case. This was a detainee that was particularly cooperative and involved in some very serious activities in the Gulf region. As I was waiting in a room next to his interrogation room, I heard some loud heavy metal rock music playing down the—down the hallway. I went down to investigate. I thought it was a couple of guards that were off duty and didn't realize that we were getting ready to conduct the interview. So I walked down the hallway, and as I reached the room where the source of the music was coming out, the door was cracked. And I looked into the room, and I could—all I could see was a strobe light flashing. The rest of the lights in the room were out, but from the flashes of the strobe light, I could see a detainee in orange sitting on the—seated on the floor and shackled, hand to feet, and rocking back and forth.
There were two civilians who asked me, you know, what was I doing. And I said, "I'm Lieutenant Colonel Couch. You need to turn that down. What's going on here?" And they just basically told me to move along, and shut the door in my face. There was a judge advocate reservist with me, and I said, "Did you see that?" And his immediate response: "Well, yes. That's approved." And so, that was my first inclination that there was—of evidence of coerced interrogations going on at Guantánamo.
AMY GOODMAN: And so, what did you do at that point?
LT. COL. STUART COUCH: Well, I started mulling that over. For me, it was—it was a degree of a flashback. Before I had become a lawyer, I was a naval aviator in the Marine Corps, a C-130 pilot. And part of that training as an aviator, we were sent to a school called SERE school—Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape. It's a school conducted by various Department of Defense entities to help train aviators for how to conduct themselves if they're ever taken into captivity by the enemy. Basically, it's—the course is based upon lessons learned of the treatment of aviators in the war in Vietnam and also the treatment of our own POWs that suffered in Korea. And so, what I saw occurring on that day in October of 2003 was right out of the SERE school playbook. It was precisely the same treatment that I had received there.
And so, having had that experience, my immediate concern was, if this is how the evidence is being collected in some of our cases, it's going to be inadmissible, because it's going to be at least coercive and at worst torture that precipitates that information. And so, there—at that time, I was still becoming acquainted with the military commissions process that had been set up. The rules and standards of admissibility of evidence were significantly different than I was accustomed to, both in civilian prosecutions as well as military courts-martial. And so, in my view, this incident sort of crystallized for me very quickly that there were going to be some problems with some of the evidence that we were to use.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Now, this, of course, was in 2003, before the Abu Ghraib photos were revealed to the world and where—before there was real discussion of possible mistreatment or torture of prisoners in U.S. custody. Could you talk about the—when you then began to get the case of Mohamedou Ould Slahi and what you found as you began to deal with that particular case?
LT. COL. STUART COUCH: Well, by the—not long after I joined the office in August of 2003, the Slahi case was presented to me. And at that time, to our knowledge, he was one of the very few detainees held at Guantánamo Bay that had a 9/11 connection. As I was studying over the different statements that he had made, the intelligence reports that had come out of his interrogations, I could see a trend where he was uncooperative for a long period of time, but then, beginning in the later part of the summer of 2003, I saw where he began to give up significant information. And so, again, as a prosecutor, my view was past conduct and what evidence I had of past conduct and what was going to be his connection to 9/11, if any.
The vast majority—virtually all of the evidence I had against Slahi at that point were his own statements, as well as statements of another detainee. And so, to determine the veracity of that information, I had to find out, OK, why is he saying the things he's saying about his own conduct? And I actually plotted it out over a chart on a timeline, and I could see a definite point where he went from giving no information to giving a lot of information. And so, that was—after I saw what I saw in October of 2003, my concern was, if this—if these were the kinds of interrogation techniques that were being applied to Slahi to get his cooperation, then we might very well have a significant problem with the body of evidence that we were able to present as to his guilt.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Could you go into the details of some of his interrogations and what they reported?
LT. COL. STUART COUCH: Well, at that time—at that time, I was not privy to what techniques were applied in his interrogations. All I had was the intelligence reports that came out that stated what he—what admissions he made. And I do want to make sure I'm clear on this, that none of the information that I'm going to talk about today is classified at this point; it's all been subject to a congressional inquiry and is a matter of congressional record.
I requested information to tell me, OK, give me the circumstances of the interrogations and interviews where Slahi was giving his information, again, in preparation for the day down the road that I would have to present this evidence in court, with the concern of basically credibility of the information. That information was not provided to me. I had a criminal investigator that was working on this case, and as we began to discuss these matters, he had the same concerns that we might have a problem with the evidence. And I would note he's—he was also a former marine, as well, so we had a lot of commonality on how we viewed the world. This criminal investigator had unofficial sources of information on the intelligence side. There was kind of this dividing line between the law enforcement efforts at Guantánamo and the intelligence efforts at Guantánamo. My investigator had sources of information on the intelligence side, and he was able to start receiving documents and information that painted, for lack of a better term, the rest of the story—in other words, why—you know, what was the nature of these interrogations. And that information was coming out piecemeal.
And so, over the subsequent eight or nine months, it became clear that this information—that what had been done to Slahi amounted to torture. Specifically, he had been subjected to a mock execution. He had sensory deprivation. He had environmental manipulation; that is, you know, cell is too cold, or the cell is too hot. He, at one point, was taken off of the island and driven around in a boat to make him believe that he was being transferred to a foreign country for interrogation. He was presented with a ruse that the United States had taken custody of his mother and his brother and that they were being brought to Guantánamo. It was on a letter with fake letterhead from the State Department, I believe it was. And in the letter, there was a discussion that his mother would be the only female detainee held at Guantánamo and concerns for her safety.
So, any one of these individual things, I don't believe, as a legal matter, rose to the level of torture, until I got evidence of an email between one of the officers responsible for the—for the guards that were guarding Slahi and a military psychologist. And there was this discussion over this email about the fact that Slahi was experiencing hallucinations. And then—and the psychologist, as she was giving her opinion as to this concern raised, it was clear to me that she was aware that the circumstances of Slahi's detention had been set up to such a point where he would experience these types of mental breakdown.
And at that point, I had done some research. We had another lawyer in the office, another prosecutor, who was very experienced in international law, and I had discussed the issue with him. And under the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment—it's a treaty that was ratified by the United States in 1996—under that treaty, there is a definition of torture. And under that definition of torture, it includes mental suffering. And so, as I put it all together, what I saw was the fact that Slahi ultimately began to give information after all of these different interrogation techniques had been applied to him. I came to the conclusion we had knowingly set him up for mental suffering in order for him to provide information—
AMY GOODMAN: He was also sexually humiliated.
LT. COL. STUART COUCH: —and that that met the definition under the U.N. Torture Convention.
AMY GOODMAN: Is that right? He was also sexually humiliated.
LT. COL. STUART COUCH: He was. The evidence I saw was—apparently, he had a—he had an issue about the fact that he had been unable to impregnate his wife. And the interrogators at some point learned that and then began to capitalize on that with various issues related to sexuality. There was like a room set up with photographs of male and female genitalia on the walls, a baby crib, just some kind of, you know, just bizarre types of efforts related to his sexual hang-up, if you will.
AMY GOODMAN: We're going to break and then come back to this discussion, and we'll be joined, as well as Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Couch, retired U.S. Marine Corps prosecutor, by the author of the book called Terror Courts, Jess Bravin of The Wall Street Journal. This is Democracy Now! Back in a minute.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, Lieutenant Colonel Couch, if you could, talk to us about your decision to tell your superiors that you did not feel you could prosecute this case because of the issues of possible torture.
LT. COL. STUART COUCH: Well, Juan, it was—again, it was sort of an incremental thing. I was receiving this information from a criminal investigator that he was gleaning through these unofficial sources. And after studying the U.N. Torture Convention, I found that there was a provision under Article 15 of the U.N. Torture Convention that said any evidence derived as a result of torture was inadmissible in any proceeding. And so, you know, I was trying to figure out, OK, what is "any proceeding"? And as I could tell from the source material behind the U.N. Torture Convention, I came to the legal conclusion that that included a military commission, as we were conducting them at that time under the president's military order of November of 2001.
I then turned to the ethical concern about what information did I need to be able to turn over to a defense counsel for Slahi in the future. And I would note, at that time, Slahi did not have a defense counsel, because we had not gone through the formal process of bringing a charge against him. So, I reviewed the pertinent ethical obligations. Under the discovery provisions of the president's military order at that time, it was evidence of his guilt known to the prosecution. And another provision was that the detainees would have a full and fair trial. And so, it was a very broad, broad construct, if you will, for discovery. As I looked at the ethical obligations that we have in the United States under the ABA Model Rules, and specifically under the rules of professional conduct of my bar, the state of North Carolina, I concluded that if I was in possession of information that, if given to his defense counsel, would allow his defense counsel to utilize those protections under Article 15 of the U.N. Torture Convention, I had that obligation to turn over to that defense counsel what I knew. And that was, again, prospective.
I was wrestling with these—with this legal issue and with this ethical issue. And then, ultimately, you know, one Sunday when I was in church, it all kind of came together. I describe myself as an evangelical Christian. I was attending a church service in the Anglican tradition, and it was a baptism of a child. And anybody who's ever been to one of these services knows that at the end of the baptism all of the congregants in the church stand up, and the pastor goes back and forth with basically the tenets of the Christian faith. And one of those tenets was that we would respect the dignity of every human being. And it was at that time, when I was professing that on Sunday, begged the question to me, if this is what you believe as a Christian, then how does that inform how you're going to act the other six days of the week? And that really, for me, was the moral point that I came to of what I had to do next.
And what I did next was I went and met with the chief prosecutor for the Office of Military Commissions. I told him my legal opinion. I told him my ethical opinion. And then I stated in—you know, I have a moral reservation at this point that what's been done to Slahi is just reprehensible, and for that reason alone, I'm going to refuse to participate in the prosecution of his case. Shortly, within a couple of days, I reduced that—those positions into writing. I provided them to the chief prosecutor. And then, after a few days, I was told to transfer that case to someone else and for me to get busy on my other cases.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, in that memorandum, you not only raised the question, you said that, quote, "If these techniques are deemed to be 'torture' under the [Geneva] Convention, then they would also constitute criminal violations of the War Crimes Act." And you went on to say, "As a practical matter, I am morally opposed to the interrogation techniques employed with this detainee and for that reason alone, refuse to participate in his prosecution in any manner." Now that must have been a bomb for you to put that into a memorandum to your supervisors in resigning from the case. What was the reaction?
LT. COL. STUART COUCH: Well, he wasn't happy about it. And—
AMY GOODMAN: And his name was?
LT. COL. STUART COUCH: —in our—that was Colonel Bob Swann. He was not happy about it. I felt like putting it into a memorandum was what I had to do to allow him to make an informed decision about the reservations that I had. My hope was that that memorandum would be shared with higher authorities over in the Department of Defense; you know, even if he didn't agree with my legal reasoning or my ethics opinion or my moral reservations, for that matter, at least to present to someone, "Hey, this is a potential issue that could be raised, and we need to be able to address that." And to my knowledge, that memorandum was never shared outside of the office.
AMY GOODMAN: So the defense never saw it, either.
LT. COL. STUART COUCH: Well, at this point, Slahi has never been charged in a military commission. He does have of counsel who represents him for a habeas corpus petition that he has brought in federal court, but where that memorandum went after that point, I don't know.
Obama’s Leaked Immigration Reform Plan Could Deliver a Winner
Posted on Feb 18, 2013
|White House/Pete Souza|
WASHINGTON—Republicans spent the weekend trumpeting shock and outrage over President Obama’s leaked “backup plan” on immigration. In dysfunctional Washington, this means that prospects for comprehensive reform—including what amounts to an amnesty for the undocumented—are getting brighter.
“Dead on arrival” was the verdict from Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who has taken on the thankless task of leading his party back within shouting distance of reasonable on the immigration issue. The president’s plan, obtained by USA Today, would leave the nation with “unsecured borders and a broken legal immigration system for years to come,” Rubio charged.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said the White House proposal—which hasn’t actually been proposed—shows that Obama is “really not serious” about reform. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said Obama’s plan “tells us that he’s looking for a partisan advantage and not a bipartisan solution.”
Translation: Things are looking up!
Here’s the state of play: In the November election, Obama carried both the nation’s largest minority—Hispanics—and its fastest-growing minority—Asian-Americans—by nearly 3-to-1. Rubio, the son of Cuban immigrants, has been trying to explain to his party that immigration is a “threshold” issue for communities with fresh memories of arrival. Mitt Romney’s notion of reform, which he summed up as “self-deportation,” communicated hostility rather than empathy. Voters returned the favor.So a bipartisan group of eight senators, led by Rubio, has been working to develop a comprehensive reform package that would provide some kind of legal status for the 11 million migrants who are here without papers.
The outlines of a solution are obvious. There would be a clear path to citizenship for those who were brought here as children. There would be provisional legal status, and a route to permanent legal status, for those who came as adults. There would be measures to tighten security along the border with Mexico. There would probably be some kind of guest-worker program for those who seek only to come for seasonal employment. And there would be changes to streamline the legal immigration system, especially for high-tech workers and potential entrepreneurs.
The problem is that Republicans have spent years demonizing undocumented immigrants as a way of appealing to xenophobic, jingoistic sentiment. So how can members of Congress switch from “these people are a plague” to “these people are welcome to stay” without facing the ire of the party’s activist base?
Enter the president’s draft proposal, which administration officials described as a “backup” plan that Obama may put forward if Congress is not able to reach agreement.
It’s really not much different from what Rubio’s group is talking about. But Republicans can slam Obama’s plan as some sort of Kenyan-socialist-inspired abdication of sovereignty. They can blast the provisions on border security as laughable. They can describe the absence of a real plan for reforming the legal immigration process as slapdash, or unserious, or whatever they want to call it.
Republicans in the Senate can line up instead behind a bill that Rubio’s Group of Eight eventually produces; even Paul, a tea party favorite, has indicated he could vote for reform as long as he had more than “a promise from President Obama” on border security. And if enough contrast can be drawn between a Senate proposal and Obama’s plan, perhaps even a significant number of House Republicans can be brought along—if not a majority, then enough to convince Speaker John Boehner to allow an up-or-down vote.
In other words, this isn’t so much about what is being proposed. The bigger factor is who’s proposing it—as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich acknowledged Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”
“An Obama plan, led and driven by Obama in this atmosphere, with the level of hostility toward the president and the way he goads the hostility, I think it is very hard to imagine that bill, that his bill is going to pass the House,” Gingrich said. But he added that a bill originating in the Senate “could actually get to the president’s desk.”
I believe Gingrich is right. Republican members of Congress have shown a willingness, even an eagerness, to vote against measures that they themselves have sponsored in the past—if Obama is now proposing them.
So if the president really wants immigration reform to pass, one of the most helpful things he could do is put out his own plan as a decoy, to draw Republican fire, while the Senate works toward bipartisan consensus. Which looks suspiciously like what just happened.
Eugene Robinson’s email address is eugenerobinson(at)washpost.com.
© 2013, Washington Post Writers Group
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In today's On the News segment: The White House is circulating a draft immigration bill, which would create a new visa for undocumented immigrants living in our nation, and shorten the path to legal residency to eight years; Sen. Lindsey Graham suggests taking health coverage away from 30 million Americans just to avoid cuts to the military; thousands rallied against the partial privatization of health care in Spain yesterday; and more.
Thom Hartmann here – on the news...
You need to know this. President Obama's pushing full speed ahead on the long list of goals he set for his second term. Just since his State of the Union speech, less than a week ago, he's already put forward a plan for universal preschool, called on Congress to vote on gun regulations, started forming a voting rights commission, and now he's tackling immigration. According to USA Today, the White House is circulating a draft immigration bill, which would create a new visa for undocumented immigrants living in our nation, and shorten the path to legal residency to eight years. The draft bill also includes more security funding, and would require businesses to use a new system to verify the immigration status of new employees. The bill is quite similar to the bipartisan immigration plan that came out last month, but Republicans are criticizing the President's plan anyway. Florida Senator Marco Rubio said any legislation that didn't include Republican input would get no support, saying, "If actually proposed, the president's bill would be dead on arrival in Congress." Kentucky Senator Rand Paul said the draft legislation was proof that "the president doesn't want immigration reform." These statements are just more evidence that Republicans will vote against any legislation that President Obama puts forward, even when it's made up of their own ideas. A spokesman for the White House said that the administration has not prepared a final bill to submit. Let's hope that Congress can pass their own version of an immigration bill, so that they won't oppose a commonsense path to citizenship, just because the President supports it.
In screwed news... Senator Lindsey Graham is very worried about the sequester. But, he isn't worried about the cuts to programs like WIC and Head Start. He isn't worried about job losses or federal employee furloughs. Nope, he's worried about defense contractors. So much so, that he's suggesting taking health coverage away from 30 million Americans just to avoid cuts to the military. During an interview on Fox News Sunday, Sen. Graham was asked about the looming sequester and he replied with his suggestion, saying "if you want to look at ways to find $1.2 trillion in savings over the next decade, look at Obamacare, don't destroy the military." But Sen. Graham has opposed every idea to avoid the sequester put forward by Democrats, or the President. It appears the Republicans don't really care about the devastating austerity looming in the sequester... they just care about using the cuts to attack Obama. Oh, and if their buddies in the defense industry don't get hit with the across-the-board spending cuts – to Republicans, that's just an extra bonus.
In the best of the rest of the news...
Thirty five thousand people rallied in Washington, D.C. this Sunday to call for immediate action on climate change. The rally was put on by numerous environmental activist groups, like the Sierra Club and 350.org. People came from dozens of states around our nation to help form part of a "human pipeline," which was meant to highlight action the Administration can take right away to protect our environment – reject the Keystone XL pipeline. Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org, spoke at the event, saying, "There is no time for half measures...we have to start leaving carbon in the ground." Just recently, the President called on Congress to pass bi-partisan legislation on climate change, or, he said "if Congress won't act to protect future generations...I will." Well, participants of the largest environmental rally ever just said they don't want the President to wait for our broken Congress to act. Obama can make a change immediately to protect our future generations. He can stop the Keystone XL pipeline from pumping toxic tar sands oil through our communities. Tell the President you want this done now. Go to TarsandsBlockade.org.
Another protest also made headlines yesterday, as thousands rallied against the partial privatization of health care in Spain. In the third so-called "White Tide" demonstration, protesters in 16 Spanish cities took to the streets carrying banners saying, "public health is not to be sold, it's to be defended." Health care privatization is just one of the crippling austerity measures being imposed to cut that nation's debt. One civil servant, Javier Tarabilla, spoke out against the privatization, saying, "This is pillaging of our public services, looting something we've all contributed to through taxes, to give it to private companies to run for profit." Here in America, we should all be paying close attention to the riots and protests in response to the privatization of the public commons in Spain. Not only are the austerity measures there crippling the nation's economy, but they're making it more difficult for Spanish citizens to survive. It's time to fight back against the Republican austerity measures taking hold here in our country, before they devastate our economy – just like they've done in Spain.
And finally... Drug agents in Union County, Illinois found themselves in a sticky situation over the weekend. Responding to a tip about a potential meth lab, the agents raided Laura Benson's home, however, the only substance being cooked up was maple syrup. Benson's neighbor called in the tip after seeing a collection of tubes and buckets they thought looked suspicious, and the Sheriff's department swarmed the house. Apparently, the Bensons have been making the syrup for about five years, but this is the first time it's gotten such a big reaction. Miss Benson says that the family is grateful for their attentive neighbors, and she said, "I just want to put their minds at ease, and let them know it's maple syrup. And they're all welcome for pancakes if they want to come over." Drug agents say the hunt continues for the nation's biggest syrup king-pin, so be on the lookout for Mrs. Butterworth.
And that's the way it is today – Monday, February 18th, 2013. I'm Thom Hartmann – on the news.
After the Senate released the framework of an immigration bill on January 29th I wrote this: Immigration Reform: Not So Fast! I've been watching the extreme right infiltrate the GOP (with Republican operatives help) at an alarming rate since 2010 so it's not a stretch to believe House Republicans will screw it up, and guess what?
House Republicans insisted on Tuesday that Democrats are showing a lack of willingness to compromise on immigration reform by calling for a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, arguing that they should be more open to legislation without it.
"Are there options that we should consider between the extremes of mass deportation and the pathway to citizenship for those not lawfully present in the United States?" Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, asked San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro (D) at a hearing on immigration reform, the first on the issue for the 113th Congress.
Another top Republican, immigration subcommittee chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), accused Democrats of refusing to come toward the center.
But the progress made by those bipartisan groups on the issue masks the difficulty that remains. Gowdy indicated openness to the Senate plan when it was released last week, but Goodlatte told USA Today on Monday that is he not convinced by the Senate immigration plan because of supporters' insistence that there be a pathway to citizenship. He questioned whether Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is "serious about doing immigration reform."
Citizenship is at the heart of immigration reform and Republicans should be jumping at the chance of finally appearing to be a party that cares about people---immigrants too, but alas, they can't help themselves. They are even stating that Latinos really don't care if they are citizens as long as they are treated with respect.
Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), an immigration lawyer before coming to Congress, said he believed there could be a solution to the immigration issue without including a pathway to citizenship.
“What they want is to come out of the shadows, they want to be able to be legal, they want to be able to work, they want to be able to travel, they want to be able to feel like they are being treated with dignity,” Labrador said. “Not very many people told me: I want to be a citizen, I have to be a citizen in order to feel like a dignified person.”
Do Republicans really believe that after supporting Sensenbrenner's insane bill that basically turned illegals into felons that not supporting eventual full citizenship is going to appease the entire Latino population of America? This is going to make for some interesting television as this drags on. Karl Rove didn't mind helping the teabagger revolution until they started to go after moderate Republicans in safe districts.
But as I've said repeatedly, once the right wing let the nuts out of the box to help them form the Tea Party, it's almost impossible to put them back in.
Karl, your new money scam will not turn out well for your new investors while your old allies ramp up their hatred for you. He might be the only Republican shill who hopes the House R's screw up immigration reform so he can make more cash off these saps. Enjoy!
A Native American man criticized protesters at an Arizona rally against illegal immigration, calling them the real “illegals” for invading his country and killing Native Americans when Europeans first settled on US soil.
“You’re all fucking illegal. You’reall illegal,” the Native American man yelled at the protesters, who had gathered in Tuscon, Arizona to demonstrate their opposition to illegal immigration by Central and South Americans. “We didn’t invite none of you here. We’re the only native Americans here.”
Some have applauded the man for pointing out the protesters’ hypocrisy, who at one point immigrated to the US themselves or are descendants of immigrants. The Native American man, who was pushing his baby through town in a stroller, staged his own protest when he came across the rally.
“Get on with your bogus arguments. We’re the only legal ones here,” he yelled.
One protester was caught standing near the angry Native American and became the target of his criticism. The man was carrying a small American flag and a sign that read, “We should have put that sign up when you son of the bitches came.”
Pointing towards the American flag held by the protester, the Native American said that it “represents blood spilled by Native Americans, protecting this land from the invaders.”
“You don’t want to hear the God damn truth!” he yelled. “Get on, bitch! All the Native Americans you killed, you plant your houses here. That’s the truth.”
With Arizona’s proximity to the Mexican border, it has long been a hub for anti-immigration protests and initiatives. The state passed the “Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act” in 2010, which is a strict anti-illegal immigration measure that has stimulated significant controversy. The law made it a misdemeanor crime for an “alien” to be in the state of Arizona without carrying registration documents. It also allows law enforcement officers to stop any individual that they suspect of being an illegal immigrant, thereby promoting racial profiling. It also imposes heavy penalties on those involved in sheltering or hiring unregistered aliens.
The law’s controversial provisions were blocked by the US Department of Justice, but the Supreme Court in 2012 ruled to uphold the “show me your papers” provision allowing law enforcement to stop anyone who looks like an illegal immigrant.
But the Native American man who staged his own protest at the rally considers it hypocritical for Americans to criticize others for immigrating into the US when everyone but Native Americans at one point did so themselves.
“That’s what [the American] flag stands for – all the Native Americans you killed to plant your houses here,” he said. “That’s the truth.”
Context: As yet there are no context links for this item.
Isabel Garcia is the co-chair of the human rights organization Derechos Humanos in Tucson, Arizona. She's a criminal defense and immigration lawyer, and she is on the board of the National Network For Immigrant and Refugee Rights.
PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Paul Jay.This is part two of our interview with Isabel Garcia on immigration reform. And she now joins us again from Tucson. Isabel is cochair of the human rights organization Derechos Humanos in Tucson. She's a criminal defense and immigration lawyer. She's on the board of the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. Thanks for joining us again.ISABEL GARCIA, COCHAIR, DERECHOS HUMANOS: Thank you very much.JAY: So my main question to you is: what would immigration reform look like if you wrote it? But just before you go there, let me just ask you one basic question of principle. Does a country, does the United States have a right to say how many people can migrate to it each year, put some numbers and limits on it, and control its borders so not more than that can get in?GARCIA: Absolutely. A government has total rights. I mean, I guess the issue becomes is: is the government making the right decisions? And we've not been making the right decisions. But do we have a right? Absolutely. JAY: And then there's something specific which we discussed in part one. We don't have to go over it again, but there's a specific issue with immigrants that have come from Mexico because for decades they were encouraged to come, even though there was no real legal status and way to come. Hundreds of thousands, millions of people were essentially asked to come to work in agriculture and other parts of the American economy, and that's why there's something specific about the people that are already here and undocumented. So that's—if you haven't watched part one, we talked about more of that in part one.Now let's go to the question. If you were writing immigration reform, what would it look like?GARCIA: Well, I think that immigration reform is, like, an urgency. I would divide it in three broad aspects. And I will begin with the first one. And I think that we must deal with the root cause of migration, period. We should have done that 20 years ago, last year, yesterday, tomorrow, next year. We need to address the issue of mass migration, why people are coming. And then we have to address the role that the United States policy has been in those countries that have caused people to migrate unlawfully into the United States. I've already talked about the free trade agreement. NAFTA has propelled 6 million undocumented farm workers here. Our war in El Salvador, for instance, propelled hundreds of thousands of political refugees. Our drug war in Mexico is causing refugees. And you can see that other policies across the world with those countries result in migration here. So it's essential that we deal with root cause. I mean, this is not—JAY: Okay. Let me just ask you a question about that.GARCIA: —a national security issue. I'm sorry?JAY: Let me ask you about that, because—you know, you won't get, obviously, an argument from me about that, but that's a pretty long-term issue. You're asking for a fundamental change in U.S. foreign policy, a fundamental change in U.S. commercial relations with these countries, and that ain't happening soon.GARCIA: I think it can be quicker. But we must deal with it. We must deal with it. And I believe that there are quick measures that instead of investing $18 billion on the border last year, that we could have engaged in employment activity that could have been much more beneficial to Mexcians or any other of—you know, even our residents along the border. I think it's just time we do it. This argument that, oh, that's long-term, well, you know, ten years ago, 15 years ago, whenever we engaged in NAFTA, we've been saying ever since then, when are you going to stop? Candidate Obama understood it. Candidate Obama in 2008, 2007 said, I would reform these free trade agreements because they displace. So he didn't, and we have more workers. So it's got to be done now.JAY: Okay. What's point two?GARCIA: And especially to acknowledge it. Why not at least acknowledge that migration has to do with economics, that we should encourage people to be with your families? That's the social part of it, because human beings form families. We should have that as our cornerstone of our reform. So that's number one, changing policy.Number two, I would say reform our current immigration laws to reflect the reality. The reality is that we've invited 11 million undocumented people here. I mean, you can say here or there, you know, there's—we're all human beings, so you can say, oh, there's a murderer here and a rapist here, that sort of thing. But by and large, the vast majority of immigrants are here because we've invited them to build our country. We should give meaningful and widespread amnesty without creating this incredible costly process to determine who's the good immigrant versus the bad immigrant. I think we need to have as meaningful, as broad of a legalization program as possible. That would take care of everybody here. And thirdly, and very dear to my heart, is we need to begin the demilitarization of our border and our communities, because now you're being militarized, it doesn't matter if it's in the state of Washington or in Iowa. We are giving way to—you know, we've created Arizona as the laboratory to do everything that's anti-immigrant, and we're using everywhere. We're going to add more border patrol agents—imagine that, when migration is at an all-time low. So who exactly are they going after? It goes to show you that [crosstalk] going after all of us.JAY: Okay. Now, let me ask you—so, such a broad amnesty—and this is part of what President Obama's proposal is supposed to try to deal with—is that in fact there are a lot of people who have committed, you know, violent crimes or other kinds of crimes or involved in narcotrafficking and such. I mean, it's—I know it's a tiny minority of the people we're talking about, a sliver, but there are such people. Does it not need to be if—there's a process of amnesty that does deal with that?GARCIA: Well, very limited, because let me tell you, there is an awful lot of information on everybody, you and I, and especially the immigrant population. And yes, there can be arguments. It's not going to come from me, because I'm telling you, I'm a criminal defense attorney. I know many people who've made mistakes in their lives, and they pay dearly. They pay a ten-year period of sentence or 20 years. We have a criminal justice system that deals with that. I don't believe that families should be divided.Okay. So you want violent people out of there. Do you know that we have created an $18 billion apparatus? For what? For a few people? We continue to criminalize people for illegal entry. Did you know that? Here in Tucson we will have hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people who will not be eligible, because they've been deported before. So they're not going to get eligibility. And those that came back to be with their families, they've been found guilty of a felony. Did you know it was a felony to be found in the United States after having been formally deported? We criminalize these by the thousands here in Tucson. President Obama, as well as the senators, want to increase this costly program that does nothing for the good of this country. And so to look at more details, I invite you to look at our framework. Derechos Humanos' framework is at www.derechoshumanosaz.net (AZ for Arizona), www.derechoshumanosaz.net, and you will find our response, our framework that we issued on international [crosstalk]JAY: Well, I invite our viewers to do that. Go take a look. Underneath the video there's a comments section here. So you make your comments on those proposals and President Obama's proposals, and we'll invite Isabel back and some other experts on this issue and can respond to some of your questions and comments about all of this.GARCIA: Thank you.JAY: So we will pursue this further. Thanks very much for joining us, Isabel.GARCIA: Thank all of you so much. Bye-bye.JAY: And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.
EndDISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.
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Protesters along President Barack Obama's motorcade route as he heads to speak about immigration reform in Las Vegas, Jan. 29, 2013. (Photo: Stephen Crowley / The New York Times) As congressional leaders debate a framework for comprehensive immigration reform that will likely grant undocumented immigrants legal status, conservative media are engaged in promoting myths and falsehoods about what reform means for the country.
Is It True That 20 Million Undocumented Immigrants Would Gain Legal Status Under This Reform?
Fox News host Eric Bolling has claimed that as many as 20 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States would be legalized under the proposal. Is that true? [Fox News, Your World, 1/29/13]
About 11 Million Undocumented Immigrants Would Likely Be Affected
Pew Hispanic Center: Number Of Unauthorized Immigrants Stands At 11.1 Million. According to the Pew Research Center, there were 11.1 million unauthorized immigrants living in the United States in 2011, down from a peak of 12 million in 2007.
[Pew Hispanic Center, 1/29/13]
Census Bureau Estimates The Number To Be 11.1 Million. Latest numbers from the Census Bureau put the number of undocumented immigrants in the United States at "an estimated 11.1 million," which represented "a clear and sustained drop in illegal immigration, ending more than a decade of increases." [CBS News, 12/6/12]
Undocumented Immigrants Make Up Significantly Less Than 10 Percent Of U.S. Population, Workforce
Pew Hispanic Center: Unauthorized Immigrants Make Up 3.7 Percent Of U.S. Population. According to data from the Pew Research Center, undocumented immigrants represent 28 percent of the U.S. foreign-born population but 3.7 percent of the overall U.S. population. [Pew Hispanic Center, 12/1/11]
Pew Hispanic Center: Unauthorized Immigrants Are 5.2 Percent Share Of U.S. Labor Force. Pew has estimated that there were about 8 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. workforce in March 2010, which includes those who are employed and unemployed. They represented 5.2 percent of the U.S. labor force at the time -- which Pew noted is similar to their proportion for the past half-decade. [Pew Hispanic Center, 2/1/11]
Why Can't We Just Deport Them All?
Bolling, who holds one of Fox News' most hardline attitudes toward immigrants, has repeatedly argued that it would be "worth every penny" to deport all undocumented immigrants. He has claimed that if the United States removes them all, 11 million jobs would become available. [Media Matters, 8/23/12; 12/5/11]
Most Adult Undocumented Immigrants Have Lived Here For At Least 10 Years
Pew: Nearly Two-Thirds Of Unauthorized Adult Immigrants Have Lived In The United States For At Least 10 Years. An analysis by the Pew Research Center that examined 2010 population data found that "[n]early two-thirds" of the 10.2 million unauthorized adult immigrants living in the United States have been in the country for at least 10 years and that nearly half are parents of minor children. More than 1 in 3 have lived in the country for 15 years or more:
[Pew Hispanic Center, 12/1/11]
Department Of Homeland Security: 86 Percent Of Undocumented Immigrants Came Before 2005. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has further noted that 55 percent of unauthorized immigrants living in the United States in 2011 entered between 1995 and 2004. DHS added: "Entrants since 2005 accounted for only 14 percent of the total." [Department of Homeland Security, January 2011]
Reuters: Up To 2 Million Undocumented Immigrants Were Brought To The U.S. As Children. Reuters reported that there are "up to 2 million illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children and who remain in the country, according to immigration group estimates." [Reuters, 6/16/12]
Deportations Would Break Up Families, Impact Children's Long-Term Development
Pew Research Center: Nearly Half Of Undocumented Immigrants Live In Families With Children Under 18. According to data from the Pew Research Center, "About 5 million unauthorized adult immigrants -- 49% -- are in families with minor children. Along with the approximately 1 million unauthorized immigrants who are children, an additional 4.5 million people younger than 18 were born in the U.S. to at least one unauthorized immigrant parent." [Pew Hispanic Center, 12/1/11]
Pew Research Center: At Least 9 Million People In The U.S. Live in "Mixed-Status" Families. "Mixed-status" families are those that include at least one undocumented adult and at least one child who was born in the United States. According to Pew, at least 9 million people overall live in such families. [Pew Hispanic Center, 12/1/11]
Applied Research Center: "At Least 5,100 Children Whose Parents Are Detained Or Deported Are Currently In Foster Care." An investigation by the Applied Research Center "found that at least 5,100 children whose parents are detained or deported are currently in foster care around the United States":
In a yearlong investigation, the Applied Research Center, which publishes Colorlines.com, found that at least 5,100 children whose parents are detained or deported are currently in foster care around the United States. That number represents a conservative estimate of the total, based on extensive surveys of child welfare case workers and attorneys and analysis of national immigration and child welfare trends. Many of the kids may never see their parents again.
These children, many of whom should never have been separated from their parents in the first place, face often insurmountable obstacles to reunifying with their mothers and fathers. Though child welfare departments are required by federal law to reunify children with any parents who are able to provide for the basic safety of their children, detention makes this all but impossible. Then, once parents are deported, families are often separated for long periods. Ultimately, child welfare departments and juvenile courts too often move to terminate the parental rights of deportees and put children up for adoption, rather than attempt to unify the family as they would in other circumstances.
While anecdotal reports have circulated about children lingering in foster care because of a parent's detention or deportation, our investigation provides the first evidence that the problem occurs on a large scale. If these cases continue mounting at the same pace over the next five years, 15,000 children of detained and deported mothers and fathers will likely be separated from their parents and languish in U.S. foster homes. [Colorlines.com, 11/2/11]
Urban Institute Study: "Separations Pose Serious Risks To Children's Immediate Safety, Economic Security, Well-Being, And Longer-Term Development." In a February 2010 study examining "the consequences of parental arrest, detention, and deportation on 190 children in 85 families," the Urban Institute found that parent-child separations pose "serious risks to children's immediate safety, economic security, well-being, and longer-term development." The study documented other negative effects, including housing instability, food hardship, and adverse behavioral changes in children. [Urban Institute, "Children in the Aftermath of Immigration Enforcement," 2/2/10]
Full Deportation Would Hurt U.S. Economy
Center For Global Trade Analysis Study: Deportation Of Undocumented Workers Would "Cause A Considerable Loss To The US Economy In Terms Of Real GDP." A 2009 study by the Center for Global Trade Analysis at Purdue University that examined the effects on the U.S. economy of three different scenarios -- full deportation, full legalization, and full legalization with increased border control -- found that mass deportation of undocumented Mexican workers would "cause a considerable loss to the US economy in terms of real GDP." Economists Angel Aguiar and Terrie Walmsley wrote:
The deportation of all undocumented Mexican workers causes a loss in real GDP of 0.61 percent. Legalization on the other hand, has a positive effect on real GDP regardless of border control. Although the extent to which the border remains porous, causes larger gains in real GDP, 0.53 percent as opposed to 0.17 percent in the border control scenario. [Research in Agricultural & Applied Economics, July 2009]
Center For American Progress: Full Deportation Would Drain $2.5 Trillion From U.S. Economy Over 10 Years. In a report examining how full deportation would impact the U.S. economy, the Center for American Progress (CAP) found that a full "deportation approach would have the cumulative effect of draining $2.5 trillion over 10 years from the U.S. economy." [Center for American Progress, March 2010]
Center For American Progress: Enforcement Costs In A Mass Deportation Strategy Would Total $285 Billion Over 5 Years. In the same report, CAP estimated that it would cost $200 billion (in 2008 dollars) to deport all undocumented immigrants in the United States. CAP further wrote:
That amount, however, does not include the annual recurring border and interior enforcement spending that will necessarily have to occur. It would cost taxpayers at least another $17 billion annually (in 2008 dollars) to maintain the status quo at the border and in the interior, or a total of nearly $85 billion over "five years. that means the total "five-year immigration enforcement cost under a mass deportation strategy would be approximately $285 billion. [Center for American Progress, March 2010]
Americans Support Legalizing Undocumented Immigrants
CBS News: Americans Think Undocumented Immigrants Working In The United States Should Be Allowed To Stay. CBS News reported that "most Americans think illegal immigrants currently working in the United States should be allowed to stay either as guest workers or with the opportunity to become U.S. citizens." According to polling data, 51 percent think undocumented immigrants should be able to apply for citizenship. [CBS News, 1/28/13]
Associated Press: "More Than 6 In 10 Americans" Favor Allowing Undocumented Immigrants To Eventually Become U.S. Citizens. An Associated Press poll about Americans' view of immigration reform found that "more than 6 in 10 Americans now favor allowing illegal immigrants to eventually become U.S. citizens, a major increase in support." The poll also found that 55 percent of seniors and that 57 percent of Americans without a college degree support a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. It added that "59 percent of whites now favor a way for illegal immigrants to gain citizenship, up from 44 percent in August 2010, and 41 percent in September 2009." [Associated Press, 1/22/13]
Associated Press: A Majority Of Republicans Support Path To Citizenship. The AP reported that a "majority in the GOP -- 53 percent -- now favor the change. That's up a striking 22 percentage points from 2010. Seventy-two percent of Democrats and 55 percent of independents like the idea, similar to 2010." [Associated Press, 1/22/13]
Fox News Poll: 66 Percent Of Voters Favor Path To Citizenship. A Fox News poll found that 66 percent of voters "think there should be a path to citizenship, but only if the individual meets requirements such as paying back taxes, learning English and passing a background check." According to the poll, 56 percent of Republicans supported allowing undocumented immigrants to gain citizenship. [Fox News, 1/28/13]
Wouldn't Legalizing Undocumented Immigrants Have A Negative Impact On The Economy?
Fox Business host Charles Payne has said that though some immigration is good, it can become "a drag on the economy" when we legalize those "who aren't necessarily working that don't have the job skills that generate tax revenue." [Fox News, Your World, 1/28/13]
Economists Agree That Immigration Strengthens U.S. Economy
Immigration Expert: Passing Comprehensive Immigration Reform Would Add At Least $1.5 Trillion To The U.S. Economy Over 10 Years. In a 2012 report about the economic benefits of comprehensive immigration reform published by the Cato Institute, UCLA professor and immigration expert Raúl Hinojosa-Ojeda found that passing immigration reform "would raise wages, increase consumption, create jobs, and generate additional tax revenue." He wrote:
The historical experience of legalization under the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act indicates that comprehensive immigration reform would raise wages, increase consumption, create jobs, and generate additional tax revenue. Even though IRCA was implemented during a period that included a recession and high unemployment (1990-91), it still helped raise wages and spurred increases in educational, home, and small business investments by newly legalized immigrants. Taking the experience of IRCA as a starting point, we estimate that comprehensive immigration reform would yield at least $1.5 trillion in added U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) over 10 years. [Cato Institute, http://www.cato.org/pubs/journal/cj32n1/cj32n1-12.pdf&;ei=ptwKUaiFLOzw0QG-44DIDg&usg=AFQjCNHPlrrj6x2F-BSlwN4u5TYOLzY3wg">Winter 2012]
Bush Administration Report Found That Immigration Adds $37 Billion To The U.S. Economy Annually. A report by the Bush-era White House Council of Economic Advisers found that immigrants increase gross domestic product "by roughly $37 billion each year because immigrants increase the size of the total labor force, complement the native-born workforce in terms of skills and education, and stimulate capital investment by adding workers to the labor pool." [Immigration Policy Center, 6/12]
Hinojosa-Ojeda: "Higher Earning Power Of Newly Legalized Workers" Would "Generate $4.5 To $5.4 Billion In Additional Net Tax Revenue Nationally." In his 2012 report, Hinojosa-Ojeda found that comprehensive immigration reform would "bring substantial economic gains even in the short run." Hinojosa-Ojeda explained that the "higher earning power of newly legalized workers translates into an increase in net personal income of $30 billion to $36 billion, which would generate $4.5 to $5.4 billion in additional net tax revenue nationally, enough to support 750,000 to 900,000 new jobs." [Cato Institute, http://www.cato.org/pubs/journal/cj32n1/cj32n1-12.pdf&;ei=ptwKUaiFLOzw0QG-44DIDg&usg=AFQjCNHPlrrj6x2F-BSlwN4u5TYOLzY3wg">Winter 2012]
Immigrants Increase U.S. Economic Growth
Immigration Policy Center: "Immigrant Entrepreneurs Add Billions Of Dollars And Millions Of Jobs To The U.S. Economy." A fact sheet by the Immigration Policy Center said that 4.7 million people are employed by immigrant-owned small businesses and that 18 percent of all small business owners in the United States are immigrants (a figure disproportionate to their 13 percent share of the population). [Immigration Policy Center, 6/2012]
Wash. Post: Immigration "Increases Innovation." In an article about the effect of immigration on the U.S. economy, Washington Post writer Dylan Matthews noted that numerous studies show that foreign nationals living in the United States have accounted for at least a quarter of start-ups, including the majority in Silicon Valley, and patent applications in this country. Matthews further reported that "an expansion of high-skilled visas passed in 1998 increased revenue at affected companies by 15 percent." [The Washington Post, 1/29/13]
Bloomberg BusinessWeek: "By 2030, Nearly 70 Percent Of Latinos Who Came To The U.S. During The 1990s Are Expected To Own A Home." In a column arguing that increased immigration is key to U.S. economic growth, Charles Kenny, a fellow at the Center for Global Development and the New America Foundation, noted a study showing that by "2030, nearly 70 percent of Latinos who came to the U.S. during the 1990s are expected to own a home." Kenny added:
That's good news, the researchers point out, because the 78 million-strong baby-boom generation in the U.S. will be looking to downsize as their children leave home. Workers from Latin America were central to building the boomer housing stock, and they'll be central to ensure it is still worth something in 20 years. [Bloomberg BusinessWeek, 11/28/12]
Census: 65.4 Percent Of The Overall U.S. Population Are Homeowners. According to data from the U.S. Census bureau, 65.4 percent of the total U.S. population own their own homes. [U.S. Census Bureau, 1/29/13]
Pew Hispanic Center: More Than A Third Of Undocumented Immigrants Are Homeowners. Pew reported that "35% of all unauthorized immigrant households are homeowners" and that "45% of undocumented immigrants who have lived in the United States for a decade or more own their own homes." [Pew Hispanic Center, 4/14/09]
Higher Immigration Generally Leads To Lower Unemployment, Boost In Wages
WSJ: Labor Economist "Found That Higher Levels Of Immigration Coincided With Lower Levels Of Unemployment." The Wall Street Journal noted that labor economist Richard Vedder of Ohio University "looked at the relationship between immigration and U.S. unemployment throughout the 20th century and found that higher levels of immigration coincided with lower levels of unemployment." [The Wall Street Journal, 6/18/12]
Brookings Institution: "On Average, Immigrants Raise The Overall Standard Of Living Of American Workers." The Brookings Institution's Hamilton Project said in a 2010 report that the "most recent academic research suggests that, on average, immigrants raise the overall standard of living of American workers by boosting wages and lowering prices." It added that while economists are divided on whether immigrants lower wages for certain groups of workers, immigrants "enhance the purchasing power of Americans by lowering prices of 'immigrant-intensive' services like child care, gardening, and cleaning services." [Brookings Institution, The Hamilton Project, September 2010]
Study: Cities With Restrictive Immigration Laws Lower Local Employment By Nearly 20 Percent. In a study examining the economic effects of restrictive immigration laws, researchers at the Americas Society and the Council of the Americas determined that cities with restrictive immigration laws would reduce local employment by 0.18 percent. The AS/COA study further noted: "When compared to cities with non-restrictive ordinances, employment-related ones had a negative and statistically significant impact on cities' business environments." [Americas Society and the Council of the Americas, 10/20/11]
Migration Policy Institute: U.S. Immigration From 1990 To 2006 "Caused A 2.86 Percent Real Wage Increase For The Average US Worker." In a June 2010 Migration Policy Institute report, economist Giovanni Peri found that "total immigration to the United States over the period 1990-2006 ... caused a 2.86 percent real wage increase for the average US worker." [Migration Policy Institute, June 2010]
Low-Skilled Immigration Has Negligible Impact On Native Workers' Wages
NBER: Immigrants Have A Small Negative Impact On Wages Of Native-Born Workers Without H.S. Degrees. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the "impact of recent immigrant inflows on the relative wages of U.S. natives is small" and immigration "accounts for just a small share -- about 5 percent -- of the rise in overall U.S. wage inequality between 1980 and 2000." As The New York Times explained, immigrants "have had, at most, a small negative impact on the wages of Americans who compete with them most directly, those with a high school degree or less." [NBER, accessed 1/30/13; The New York Times, 10/19/12]
Economists Argue That "There Is Hardly Any Evidence That Immigrant Workers Have A Negative Effect On The Wages Of Native Workers." Economists Giovanni Peri and Francesco D'Amuri concluded in a 2010 paper that immigrants do not have a negative effect on the wages of native workers in the United States: "Despite popular belief, often based on anecdotes and bodged analysis, there is hardly any evidence that immigrant workers have a negative effect on the wages of native workers." [VoxEU.org, 10/31/10]
Economic Policy Institute: "Our Analysis Finds Little Evidence That Immigration Negatively Impacts Native-Born Workers." In an Economic Policy Institute study examining immigration's effect on wages using Current Population Survey data from 1994 to 2007, economist Heidi Shierholz found that there was little evidence to support the claim that immigration negatively impacts native-born workers. She found that in fact wages increased by at least $ 3.68 per week for workers overall and $1.58 for those with less than a high school education. The wages of male high school dropouts decreased .02 percent while those for female high school dropouts increased by 1.1 percent. [Economic Policy Institute, 2/4/10]
Wash. Post: "Consensus View" Among Economists Is That Even If Low-Skilled Immigration Has A Negative Effect On Wages, It Is "Negligible." In a Washington Post article summarizing what economists know about immigration, Matthews reported that while some economists "argue that low-skilled immigration very clearly reduces wages and employment for low-skilled American workers," the "consensus view among economists is that the effect, even if negative, is negligible." [The Washington Post, 1/29/13]
So Immigrants Don't Take Jobs From Hard-Working Americans?
Fox & Friends Sunday co-host Juliet Huddy has claimed that native-born workers could potentially have jobs "taken away" by undocumented workers. [Fox News, Fox & Friends Sunday, 6/17/12, via Media Matters]
Immigrants and Native-Born Americans Do Not Generally Compete For The Same Jobs
Immigration Policy Center: "Immigrants And Native-Born Workers Are Usually In Different Job Markets, So They Don't Compete." According to a report by the Immigration Policy Center, "Immigrants and native-born workers are usually in different job markets, so they don't compete." The top occupation for foreign-born workers in 2009 was construction and extraction, while the top job for native-born workers was office and administrative support. [Immigration Policy Center, January 2012]
Economists: "Immigrant Workers Do Not Compete Much With Natives." After examining a host of studies that looked at how immigration and offshoring affected U.S. employment, economists Gianmarco Ottaviano, Giovanni Peri, and Greg Wright concluded that evidence gleaned from the United States between 2000 and 2007 "shows that immigrant and native workers are more likely to compete against offshoring than against each other." They went on to write:
These empirical results together imply that immigrant workers do not compete much with natives, but rather compete for tasks that could be more easily performed by offshore workers. Since immigrants specialise in the most "manual-intensive" tasks, an increase in immigration is more likely to reduce the range of offshored tasks in an industry without affecting the employment level and type of tasks performed by natives. Offshore workers, on the other hand, specialise in tasks at an intermediate level of complexity and compete more directly with natives, thereby taking some of their jobs and pushing them toward more cognitive-intensive tasks. [VoxEU.org, 11/18/10]
Brookings Institution: "Immigrants And U.S.-Born Workers Generally Do Not Compete For The Same Jobs." The Brookings Institution has also reported that "immigrants and U.S.-born workers generally do not compete for the same jobs; instead many immigrants complement the work of U.S. employees and increase their productivity." [The Brookings Institution, September 2010]
San Francisco Fed Scholar: "There Is No Evidence That Immigrants Crowd Out U.S.-Born Workers In Either The Short Or Long Run." Examining the long-term effects of immigration on employment, Peri also found that "there is no evidence that immigrants crowd out U.S.-born workers in either the short or long run." [Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, 8/30/10]
Won't Legalizing Immigrants Increase The "Welfare State"?
Fox News' Bill O'Reilly has claimed that immigration reform would mean more immigrants "on the welfare entitlement train," and that before Congress passes immigration reform, "they have to deal with the welfare situation." [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 1/28/13]
Newly Legalized Immigrants Will Not Have Access To Social Benefits
KABC: Undocumented Immigrants Who Gain Legal Status Would "Not Receive Federal Benefits Like Welfare Or Medicaid." ABC's Los Angeles affiliate, KABC, reported that undocumented immigrants who "gain legal status to live and work in the U.S." would "not receive federal benefits like welfare or Medicaid." [KABC-TV, 1/28/13]
Under Senate Framework, Current Benefit Restrictions For Non-Immigrants Will Remain In Place For Those Given Probationary Status. The bipartisan framework for immigration reform recently announced by a group of eight senators states: "Current restrictions preventing non-immigrants from accessing federal public benefits will also apply to lawful probationary immigrants." [The Washington Post, accessed 1/28/13]
Majority Of Undocumented Immigrants Are H.S. Graduates, Work
Pew Hispanic Center: 94 Percent Of Male Undocumented Immigrants Are In The Labor Force. In an analysis of data from the March 2008 Current Population Survey, Pew estimated that male undocumented immigrants "are more likely to be in the labor force than are men who are legal immigrants or who were born in the U.S." The Center wrote that among "men of working age, 94% of undocumented immigrants are in the labor force, compared with 85% of legal immigrant men and 83% of U.S.-born men." [Pew Hispanic Center, 4/14/09]
Pew Hispanic Center: Majority of Female Undocumented Immigrants Are In the Labor Force. Pew has estimated that 58 percent of working-age women who are undocumented immigrants are in the labor force, according to the 2008 survey. [Pew Hispanic Center, 4/14/09]
Pew Hispanic Center: 52 Percent Of Adult Undocumented Immigrants Have A H.S. Degree Or More. Pew concluded from the 2008 survey that 52 percent of undocumented immigrants aged 25-64 (52 percent) have graduated from high school, attended or have graduated from college.
[Pew Hispanic Center, 4/14/09]
Pew Hispanic Center: 54 Percent Of Younger Undocumented Immigrants Have A H.S. Degree Or More. Pew further found that 54 percent of younger undocumented immigrants, those aged 18-24, have graduated from high school, attended or have graduated college.
[Pew Hispanic Center, 4/14/09]
Brookings: "Skilled Immigrants A Growing Force In The U.S. Economy." A June 2011 study by the Brookings Institution's Metropolitan Policy Program found that skilled immigrants are "a growing force in the U.S. economy." According to the study, the "share of working-age immigrants in the United States who have a bachelor's degree has risen considerably since 1980, and now exceeds the share without a high school diploma." [Brookings Institution, http://www.brookings.edu/%7E/media/research/files/papers/2011/6/immigrants-singer/06_immigrant_skills_media_memo.pdf&;ei=v0sJUcvEPOPV0gGZjICADQ&usg=AFQjCNGz5zWX4mcAhiepjyysJKqQwl2ryg">6/9/11, 6/9/11]
Do Undocumented Immigrants Pay Taxes?
Fox guest and radio host Mary Walter claimed that undocumented immigrants are "not paying taxes and enjoying all the benefits." [Fox News, Happening Now, 1/30/13]
Immigrants Pay Individual Income, Sales, And Property Taxes
CBO: "Immigrants Pay Individual Income, Sales, And Property Taxes." In a December 2007 report detailing the impact of undocumented immigrants on the budgets of local and state governments, the Congressional Budget Office found that "[a]ccording to available estimates," there were about "12 million unauthorized immigrants in the United States" at the time and "those immigrants pay individual income, sales, and property taxes." CBO further reported that "the IRS estimates that about 6 million unauthorized immigrants file individual income tax returns each year. Other researchers estimate that between 50 percent and 75 percent of unauthorized immigrants pay federal, state, and local taxes." [Congressional Budget Office, December 2007]
Immigration Policy Center: "At Least Half Of Unauthorized Immigrants Pay Income Taxes." According to the Immigration Policy Center, undocumented immigrants, "like everyone else in the United States, pay sales taxes. They also pay property taxes -- even if they rent. At least half of unauthorized immigrants pay income taxes." [Immigration Policy Center, 4/18/11]
Even Anti-Immigrant Group Has Acknowledged That Undocumented Immigrants Pay Taxes. In a 2004 study, the anti-immigrant Center for Immigration Studies found that "contrary to the perceptions that illegal aliens don't pay payroll taxes, we estimate that more than half of illegals work 'on the books.' On average, illegal households pay more than $4,200 a year in all forms of federal taxes." [Center for Immigration Studies, August 2004]
NY Times' Brooks: "Over The Course Of Their Lives," Undocumented Immigrants "Pay More In Taxes Than They Receive In Benefits." New York Times columnist David Brooks noted that "over the course of their lives," undocumented immigrants "pay more in taxes than they receive in benefits." He added, "Furthermore, according to the Congressional Budget Office, giving the current illegals a path to citizenship would increase the taxes they pay by $48 billion and increase the cost of public services they use by $23 billion, thereby producing a surplus of $25 billion." [The New York Times, 1/31/13]
Why Are There So Many Undocumented Immigrants? Are Immigration Laws Not Being Enforced?
Rush Limbaugh has accused the administration of not enforcing immigration law, saying, "We're not enforcing existing law in a number of areas, particularly immigration." [RushLimbaugh.com, 1/15/13]
In Fact, Obama Administration Has Deported A Record Number Of Undocumented Immigrants
ICE Removed A "Record High" Number Of Individuals In 2012. In fiscal year 2012, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) "removed 409,849 individuals. Ninety-six percent of these removals fell into one of ICE's enforcement priorities, a record high." [ICE.gov, accessed 1/30/13]
NPR: Obama Administration Has Increased Deportations Of Those Convicted Of A Crime. As NPR reported, the Obama administration has prioritized the deportation of undocumented immigrants who have been convicted of a crime, with priority cases including "felons, repeat violators of immigration laws, people who have recently crossed U.S. borders illegally and those who pose a national security threat." According to the report, roughly "55 percent, or more than 225,000 people, deported in the past year were convicted of crimes such as drug offenses and driving under the influence."
Mother Jones: Obama Administration Removed More Than 1 Million Undocumented Immigrants In First Term. Mother Jones reported that "the Obama administration has been aggressive in pursuing deportations of unauthorized immigrants, removing more than a million since taking office." The report included a graph comparing the number of deportations under President George W. Bush to the number under President Obama:
[Mother Jones, 7/6/12]
Migration Policy Institute: The U.S. Spends More On Immigration Enforcement Than On All Other Agencies Combined. According to a recent report from the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), in 2012, the U.S. spent nearly $18 billion on immigration enforcement. That spending funded ICE, Customs & Border Protection (CBP), and a program called US-Visit that helps states and localities identify undocumented immigrants. According to MPI, "this amount exceeds by approximately 24 percent total spending for the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Secret Service, US Marshals Service, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), which stood at $14.4 billion in FY 2012." The report included the following graph:
[Migration Policy Institute, January 2013]
AILA: "Operational Control" Sets "An Unrealistic Expectation That The Border Can Be 100 Percent Sealed." In a report showing that the border security benchmarks set by previous immigration enforcement proposals have been met or exceeded, the American Immigration Lawyers Association argued that "operational control" of the border, as defined by the Secure Fence Act of 2006, "sets an unrealistic expectation that the border can be 100 percent sealed." The report continued:
The GAO, in its testimony before Congress, noted that "[r]esources that would be needed to absolutely prevent every single incursion would be something probably out of reasonable consideration." As of February 2011, the GAO reported that the southwest border is at 44 percent operational control, with nearly two-thirds of the remaining 56 percent at the "monitored" level, and the rest at "low-level monitored."
Achieving absolute border control, whereby no single individual crosses into a state without that state's authorization, is impossible. Commentators have noted, "the only nations that have come close to such control were totalitarian, with leaders who had no qualms about imposing border control with shoot-to-kill orders." [American Immigration Lawyers Association, 1/30/13]
Experts: Rigid Limits On Legal Entry Fuel Illegal Immigration
Cato Institute Fellow Stuart Anderson: "Few Legal Avenues Exist For Lesser-Skilled Workers To Enter America, Which Is A Prime Reason For Illegal Immigration." Stuart Anderson, Cato Institute adjunct fellow, wrote that "perhaps the most common myth" surrounding the U.S. immigration system "is that it's easy to immigrate to America." Anderson wrote that "it is particularly difficult to obtain a legal visa for lower-skilled jobs and that "few legal avenues exist for lesser-skilled workers to enter America, which is a prime reason for illegal immigration." [Cato Journal, Winter 2012]
Immigration Policy Center: "The Legal Immigration System Is Inadequate To Meet The Needs Of The U.S. In The 21st Century." In a March 2010 report, the Immigration Policy Center reported that the "legal immigration system is inadequate to meet the needs of the U.S. in the 21st century," and that "[i]nsufficient numbers of visas are made available to bring in either high-skilled or less-skilled workers at the levels needed to meet the changing needs of the U.S. economy and labor market." [Immigration Policy Center, March 2010]
National Immigration Forum: "There Is No Real Line For Unskilled Workers." A column in the Miami Herald has reported that, according to the National Immigration Forum, "[t]he U.S. labor market demands up to 500,000 low-skilled workers a year, while the current U.S. immigration system allows for only 5,000 permanent visas for that category." The column added:
[T]here would be nothing wrong with demanding that immigrants come to the United States legally if we allowed them to do so. But we don't -- they are coming through the back door to take jobs we offer them, because we don't allow them in through the front door. Legal immigration quotas were set more than 20 years ago, when the U.S. demand for unskilled and highly skilled workers was much smaller than today's. [The Miami Herald, 4/29/10]
Unless Immigrants Have "Extraordinary Ability," They May Wait Decades To Immigrate Legally
Huntsville Times: Entering The United States Legally "Can Take Decades And May Be Near Impossible" For Most People. A Huntsville Times article noted that in 2010, "1.38 million Mexican citizens were waiting in line for a United States work visa or an immigration visa through a family member. But there were only 26,000 visas made available for Mexico last year." While every country has a visa, wrote reporter Brian Lawson, Mexico has "by far the longest waiting list," and that "even for those with family here, it can take decades and may be near impossible to secure the paperwork to enter the United States legally." [The Huntsville Times, 7/21/11]
Wash. Post: Wait Times For Family-Based Visas Can Be As Long As 24 Years. The Washington Post reported that for people who want to immigrate to the United States but don't have advanced job skills, it can take decades for an application to be approved. The Post wrote: "As of November, there were 4.3 million people on the wait list for family-based visas and 113,058 waiting for employment-based visas." [The Washington Post, 1/31/13]
If Illegal Border Crossings Are Such A Concern, Why Don't We Just Complete The Border Fence?
On The O'Reilly Factor, Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer claimed that border "fences have worked for 5,000 years and they work everywhere." [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 1/29/13 via Nexis]
A Border Fence Is Not An Effective Solution
CBP Commissioner: A Fence Along The Entire U.S.-Mexico Border Is "One Of The Dumbest Ideas." Former U.S. Customs and Border Protection commissioner Ralph Basham said it is against common sense to build a border fence in an attempt to control illegal immigration, arguing that it is "one of the dumbest ideas" he heard when he was commissioner. [U.S. News & World Report, 10/25/11]
AZ Border Sheriff: The Border Fence Is Of "Little Or No Value." Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever told MSNBC in 2011 that "I think [the fence] is well intentioned, but you can build all the fence you want to build and unless it's the right kind of fence and unless you have the manpower to watch it, it's of very little or no value. The federal government has built a lot of fence and most of it has been inadequate in terms of actually stopping people from crossing." [MSNBC.com, 7/18/11]
President Reagan: The U.S.-Mexico Border Should Be "Something Other Than The Location For A Fence." Referring to a meeting he hoped to have with President Jose Lopez Portillo of Mexico in 1979, Reagan reportedly wrote in his private diaries that he wanted to discuss how the United States and Mexico could make the border "something other than the location for a fence." [NPR, 7/4/10]
U.S. Has Operational Control Of The Border
CRS: "Effective" Operational Control Defined As "The Ability To Detect, Respond, And Interdict Illegal Activity At The Border Or After Entry Into The" U.S. In a January 2012 report, the Congressional Research Service explained that the Department of Homeland Security has defined "effective" operational control as "the ability to detect, respond, and interdict illegal activity at the border or after entry into the United States." [Congressional Research Service, 1/6/12]
Wash. Post: Government Had 57 Percent Of Border Under "Effective Control." The Washington Post's Wonkblog reported that under the DHS' definition of "effective" operational control, "the government had 57 percent of the southern border under 'effective control,' up from 31 percent in 2007, due to the new border security measures that were implemented since then." [Wonkblog, The Washington Post, 1/29/13]
Illegal Border Crossings Have Decreased Sharply In Recent Years. In March 2012, The New York Times reported that the number of illegal border crossings has declined sharply in recent years. The Times wrote that the decrease in illegal crossings was "down to about 340,000 migrants apprehended in 2011 from a peak of 1.1 million in 2005." [The New York Times, 3/10/12]
Many Undocumented Immigrants Enter Country Legally But Overstay Visa
Pew Hispanic Center: Nearly Half Of All Undocumented Immigrants Came Here Legally. According to 2006 research from the Pew Hispanic Center, "Nearly half of all the unauthorized migrants now living in the United States entered the country legally through a port of entry such as an airport or a border crossing point where they were subject to inspection by immigration officials." Pew reported:
As much as 45% of the total unauthorized migrant population entered the country with visas that allowed them to visit or reside in the U.S. for a limited amount of time. Known as "overstayers," these migrants became part of the unauthorized population when they remained in the country after their visas had expired.
The Pew Hispanic Center has previously estimated that there are between 11.5 and 12 million unauthorized migrants in 2006. The calculations reported in this fact sheet suggest that roughly 4.5 to 6 million or 40 to 50% of the total entered the country legally through ports of entry. Of them, some 4 to 5.5 million entered with nonimmigrant visas, mostly as tourists or business visitors, and another 250,000 to 500,000 entered with Border Crossing Cards. [Pew Hispanic Center, 5/22/06]
PolitiFact: GAO Has Estimated The Overstay Population To Hover Between 20 And 60 Percent. In a fact-check debunking the claim that most undocumented immigrants came here legally and overstayed their visa, PolitiFact highlighted a 2004 report by the Government Accountability Office that estimated the overstay population to be between 27 and 57 percent, according to different data sources. PolitiFact added that "data on overstayers has been considered unreliable, in part because of the incomplete collection of those immigration forms when foreign visitors leave the country." [PolitiFact, 9/23/12]
Wasn't Obama Responsible For Killing Immigration Reform In 2007?
Fox & friends co-host Steve Doocy claimed that President Obama "effectively killed" comprehensive immigration reform in 2007 when he was a U.S. senator. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 1/29/13]
Obama Voted In Favor Of 2007 Immigration Bill
Wash. Post: 2007 Immigration Bill Included Similar Legalization And Enforcement Conditions, Plus A Guest Worker Program. A comprehensive immigration reform agreement introduced in the Senate in 2007 that was supported by President Bush would have granted temporary legal status to undocumented immigrants only after "implementation of tough new border controls." The bill would also have toughened requirements for family-based immigration:
The Bush administration and a bipartisan group of senators reached agreement yesterday on a sprawling overhaul of the nation's immigration laws that would bring an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants out of society's shadows while stiffening border protections and cracking down on employers of undocumented workers.
The Senate deal would grant temporary legal status to virtually all illegal immigrants in the country, while allowing them to apply for residence visas and eventual citizenship. A temporary-worker program would allow as many as 400,000 migrants into the country each ye
Immigration reform, climate change, the foreclosure crisis: with some disappointment over limited progress on these issues over the past four years, local activists hope more will be done in President Obama’s second term.
While support for comprehensive immigration reform has broadened noticeably since the November election, immigrant rights groups are concerned over dramatically stepped-up deportations under Obama, which reached 409,000 last year.
They’ll march on Inauguration Day (Monday, January 21, starting at 11 a.m. at the Daley Plaza and rallying at 12 noon at the Federal Plaza) calling on Obama to declare a moratorium on deporations.
A moratorium would be a first step toward comprehensive reform, said Eric Rodriguez, executive director of the Latino Union of Chicago.
“We want the president to be on the right side of history,” he said. “His second term will define his legacy. Will he be the president who deported more people than any other in history, or the president responsible for championing inclusion and equality?”
Immigration raids are a constant threat in Chicago communities today, said Tania Unzueta of the Immigant Youth Justice League; just last week scores of local residents were picked up in raids on a factory and two gathering places for day laborers. IYJL is working to support several families who have members in detention, she said.
“Obama says he wants to do the right thing and keep families together, but we aren’t seeing it in our communities,” she said.
What should reform look like? It should be comprehensive rather than piecemeal, and it should include a path to citizenship — not some kind of extended residency — that does not exclude large numbers of people, said Fred Tsao of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.
“It needs to fix the current legal immigration system, so people aren’t waiting in line for ten or twenty years,” he said. Reform should extend to enforcement policies, which have been cited for human rights violations, for impairing community safety, and most recently for exorbitant costs, with immigration enforcement spending outpacing the combined budgets of the FBI, DEA, Secret Service, and BATF.
Immigration reform should also include measures aimed at integrating immigrants, including English language education and citizenship training, Tsao said, pointing at Illinois’s New Americans Initiative as a model.
He adds that the support of Republican leaders in Springfield for a measure providing drivers licenses for undocumented residents during the recent veto sessions offers another model for politicians in Washington.
(For more, Colorlines has a guide to immigration reform.)
Chicagoans will be among thousands of protestors in Washington D.C. on February 17 for Forward on Climate, called by 350.org, the Sierra Club, and the Hip Hop Caucus, urging Obama to reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline as “the first step in putting our country on the path for addressing the climate crisis.”
After 15,000 protestors circled the White House a year ago, Obama postponed a decision of approval for the pipeline. Tar sands oil emits far more carbon than conventional oil, and a new study points out that the use of a refinery byproduct as a coal substitute – even more carbon-intensive than coal – will add dramatically to climate damage.
“We’re trying to start the new session of Congress and President Obama’s second term by showing that the public is beyond ready for serious action on climate and clean energy,” said Jack Darin, executive director of the Illinois Sierra Club.
On clean energy, “we need to level the playing field; it’s been titled toward fossil fuels for decades,” he said. “If we give the market a clear signal we’re going to support and buy clean energy, it will respond.”
Darin praised departing EPA administrator Lisa Jackson and several initiatives in the administration’s first term, including raising mileage standards for cars — “the single largest reduction of pollution ever” – and regulations on toxic emissions from coal plants and on carbon emissions from new sources. “The key now is finding ways to reduce carbon from existing sources,” he said.
Obama’s “all-of-the-above” energy policy, which seeks development of renewable energy along with oil, coal, and natural gas, came in for criticism from Len Richart of the Eco-Justice Collaborative.
He points out that destructive new “extreme” technologies like fracking and tar sands extraction are making additional sources of fossil fuels available, adding to carbon emissions when we should be reducing them.
“We really need a transitional plan,” Richart said. “We’re going to be dependent on fossil fuels for the foreseeable future, but there’s a big difference if we agree on a transition to renewables.”
He’s particularly skeptical of the “clean coal” technology that Obama supports. “They talk about it as if it’s up and running, and that’s not the case at all.” In the meantime, he said, coal continues to be mined and burned, contributing a third of the nation’s carbon emissions.
Working with the Heartland Coalfield Alliance, EJC sends delegations of local activists to learn about the impact of coal mining in central and southern Illinois, which includes destruction of farmland, natural areas, and entire communities, and groundwater pollution from coal slurry and unlined pools of coal ash and sludge.
Like tar sands oil, much of Illinois’s high-sulfur coal is being exported to developing countries – which Richart argues should put to rest the argument that “all-of-the-above” development is needed for “energy independence.”
Housing advocates seem unanimous in their top priority for Obama’s second term: replacing Edward DeMarco as interim director of the Federal Housing Finance Authority. “We need someone there who’s looking out for homeowners and communities and not the bottom lines of banks,” said Liz Ryan Murray, policy director for National Peoples Action.
DeMarco has blocked Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which FHFA regulates and which control a huge chunk of the nation’s mortgages, from carrying out loan modifications with principal reductions to reflect the collapse of housing prices. That’s a key step if the foreclosure crisis is to be stemmed.
In the Chicago area, the foreclosure rate has been up and down, said Katie Buitrago of the Woodstock Institute. Last year several poor communities where foreclosures had been dropping saw sharp increases: up 60 percent in West Pullman, 25 percent in Englewood, she said.
If the employment situation doesn’t improve – and if long-term unemployment benefits are cut – foreclosures could continue at high levels, she said.
Obama tried to replace DeMarco, a Bush administration holdover, two years ago, but the appointment was held up in Congress. If Congress won’t approve a replacement, Obama should made a recess appointment, Murray said.
Principal reduction has been a key proposal for housing groups since the start of the crisis, when they pushed for bankruptcy reform, a proposal that Obama supported and then backed away from.
The administration’s early efforts at foreclosure prevention were largely ineffective, in part because they sought voluntary participation by banks. Mortgage services seemed to lack both the capacity and the interest to address the crisis on their own.
Recent settlements by state attorney generals and federal regulators have improved the framework, though according to Murray, “legal aid attorneys say the on-the-ground experience hasn’t changed dramatically.”
New servicer regulations by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau may help, establishing strict timetables for servicers to act on modification requests and ending “dual tracking,” in which homeowners on trial modifications were simultaneously foreclosed on.
The future of Fannie and Freddie, now in government receivership after being bailed out, is under debate. The agencies should be reformed “in a way that maintains wealth building opportunities for the low-wealth communities of color that were targeted by predatory lending and really hurt by foreclosures,” Buitrago said.
“Completely privatizing the housing market and handing it all back to Wall Street couldn’t be a worse idea,” Murray said. “We’ve already seen what that would mean.”
LONDON -- Will President Obama’s plans for "comprehensive immigration reform," centred on a "pathway" to “earned citizenship” for 11 million undocumented immigrants, inspire British politicians to unveil similar proposals here?
In the UK, the number of undocumented immigrants has been estimated to be anywhere between 500,000 and 1.1 million. The much-maligned UK Border Agency is attempting to clear a massive backlog of cases of some 320,000 people -- the equivalent of the population of Iceland.
Yet ministers studiously refuse to talk of reform, which has been criticized as "amnesty": to be seen as “soft” on immigration, illegal or otherwise, is considered the kiss of death in modern British politics.
Here, the debate over immigration reform revolves around devising new and ingenious ways of keeping people out of the country -- for example, the government’s "cap" on the number of immigrants allowed into the UK from outside the European Union, or the ongoing war on "bogus" foreign students from the Indian subcontinent –- rather than legalising the status of undocumented people who are inside the country (a process known as “regularisation”).
And Fortress Britain is, of course, part of Fortress Europe; across the continent, governments have erected an increasing number of hurdles and barriers to try and limit immigration into the EU from North Africa and the Middle East while far-right parties have exploited a growing fear of foreigners to make substantive electoral gains.
“Globally, European countries stand out as having a negative attitude towards immigration (and Britain especially so),” wrote Ben Page, chief executive of pollsters Ipsos MORI, earlier this year, “and this appears to be linked to economic stagnation, high unemployment and public-sector cuts providing a framework in which immigrants are likely to be seen as a drain on limited resources and a threat to limited opportunities.”
Nonetheless, there have been a few attempts to buck the trend. In December 2011, the Polish government announced a relief for an estimated 7,000 undocumented immigrants.
Here in the UK, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg –- prior to entering into coalition with the Conservatives and being elevated to deputy prime minister –- said he wanted to “regularise” the status of undocumented immigrants and bring them “out of the shadows”; his party’s 2010 manifesto pledged to “allow people who have been in Britain without the correct papers for ten years ... to earn their citizenship."
Influential Labour MP Jon Cruddas, now in charge of his party’s policy review, is also on record backing deportation relief for undocumented foreign workers who have been in the UK for a long time.
Remarkably, so too is the Conservative mayor of London, Boris Johnson. "If an immigrant has been here for a long time and there is no realistic prospect of returning them, then I do think that person's condition should be regularised so that they can pay taxes and join the rest of society," he has said in the past. (The capital is thought to be home to more than two-thirds of the country’s undocumented immigrants.)
But it would be a mistake to assume that relief for undocumented in the UK is around the corner. “In the U.S., ‘comprehensive immigration reform’ brings together a broad alliance of business and unions, human rights and race advocates and universities; and advocates have built an argument that two-thirds of Americans back by putting effective borders, a path to citizenship, and enforcement of labour market standards together,” says Sunder Katwala, founder and director of the British Future think tank. This contrasts with the UK, he explains, where “advocacy is fragmented.”
Reform is also deeply unpopular –- hence the reluctance of most mainstream politicians to utter the A-word. Poll after poll shows the public supports deportation of undocumented immigrants, no matter how expensive or impractical such measures may be, rather than "amnesties" or "regularisation." As Katwala observes, “The 2010 election, where the LibDems came under fire over amnesty, showed that there is a very long way to go to build public support and consent, and to offer credible reassurance that it would be a one-off to sort an effective system out, not the first in a series of amnesties seeming to create an open door policy for all.”
Few would pretend that there is anything resembling a "liberal" majority on immigration in the UK: A recent YouGov poll for the Sunday Times revealed that 67 percent of the public thinks immigration has been “a bad thing for Britain” and 80 percent support the Conservative-led coalition government’s pledge to reduce net immigration into the UK from the hundreds of thousands to the "tens of thousands."
Consider, however, the results of YouGov’s latest “issues” poll. When asked which two or three issues were the “most important ... facing the country at this time," the economy came first, cited by 79 percent of the public, while immigration was second, cited by 49 percent. But when asked to rank “the most important issues facing you and your family,” the economy still came first (67 percent) while immigration plummeted to sixth (14 percent), behind health (33 percent), pensions (31 percent) tax (27 percent) and family life (16 percent).
The YouGov poll, incidentally, backs the findings of a recent "State of the Nation" survey conducted by British Future, which found that 19 percent of the public picked immigration as their top local concern while 30 percent put immigration first when asked to think about the tensions facing “British society as a whole."
As YouGov chairman Peter Kellner points out, “there is a huge gulf between people’s perception of immigration as a national issue, and one that affects their own lives.”
It is this “gulf” that the advocates of deportation relief, and a less draconian approach to immigration as a whole, will have to try and turn to their advantage if they are to secure popular support in the near future. In the meantime, the UK's undocumented immigrants will continue to remain in the shadows, watching the unfolding debate across the Atlantic with envy.
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Isabel Garcia is the co-chair of the human rights organization Derechos Humanos in Tucson, Arizona. She's a criminal defense and immigration lawyer, and she is on the board of the National Network For Immigrant and Refugee Rights.
PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Paul Jay.On Wednesday, the White House released details of President Obama's proposal on immigration reform. Here are the four main headlines. Number one, continue to strengthen border security. Cracking down on employers hiring undocumented workers. Earn citizenship. And streamlining legal immigration.Now joining us to discuss President Obama's proposal is Isabelle Garcia. She's the cochair of the human rights organization Derechos Humanos in Tucson, Arizona. She's a criminal defense and immigration lawyer, and she's on the board of the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. And she joins us from Tucson.Thanks for joining us again, Isabel.ISABEL GARCIA, COCHAIR, DERECHOS HUMANOS: You're welcome. Thank you so much.JAY: So let's work our way through these notes that came from the White House, President Obama's proposal. But just before we do, just give me an overall impression of what you think of what he's suggesting.GARCIA: Well, I think it's pretty unfortunate that President Obama has not chosen to take a stronger, more honest approach to immigration reform, that he has given in still to, you know, quote, security hawks. And so that's initially my impression, that this is going to be very limited, with huge costs.JAY: Okay. Well, let's go through the proposal. And we'll start with the first thing, "Continuing to Strengthen Border Security". And here's a bit of what they say: "by enhancing our infrastructure and technology, the President’s proposal continues to strengthen our ability to remove criminals and apprehend and prosecute national security threats." So I guess most people hearing that will say, well, what's wrong with that.GARCIA: People would say that only because there's been a lot of fear, especially since 9/11.People need to understand in this country that migration from Mexico has been ongoing ever since we took half of Mexico, but in very specific intentional terms since the beginning of the century. In the early 1900s, they decided they needed to bring in Mexicans to build. And we have kept up that practice for a long time. We don't have 11 million people just out of accident or because we're humane. We have 11 million people here undocumented because our economy depends on them. And so to characterize this as national security threats on the border is absolutely wrong. Migration worldwide, and not just here, is a socioeconomic-political phenomenon that we have contributed to. We have made the call for Mexicans to come to work in the United States for over 100 years. That really has not changed.JAY: I've told this story before on The Real News, but in '91, I was researching a film. I was on the Tijuana border—I was on the Mexican side of the Tijuana border, and the sun was going down, and people were ready to go into California when it got dark. And there must have been 400—300, 400 people lined up on either side of me ready to cross, completely out in the open. In fact, there was like a fest, that people were selling popcorn and other kinds of food there. And on the other side waiting to stop people from coming in was nobody, because it was harvest season in California and they wanted all this labor to come in. And they were treating it like a valve, to let labor in when they wanted it, and then they could threaten people once they got there.GARCIA: That's absolutely correct. But migration has gone down to the lowest it's been in 40 years, so we've got to keep that in mind as well.JAY: Well, these days, enforcement, I think, has gotten—is much stiffer than when I was there. But I guess the point I'm making is many of the people that are undocumented that are here are here 'cause there were jobs for them and employers wanted them, and there was no real security at the border to stop it, precisely for those reasons.GARCIA: Absolutely. We've used border, you know, security when our economy demands it. We're restrictive at those times. Otherwise, we've been—the secret that nobody wants to say is that we've had an open border with Mexico in a lot of ways. In other words, it's not militarized. If we militarize this border, I mean, people have to understand what the economic cost is: 18 billion just last year, more than all the combined budgets of the rest of the federal law enforcement agencies combined. And now we're asking for even more, while we don't have, you know, jobs and schools and health care and bad roads. We're building this other arm that really doesn't relate or respond to the issue at hand.JAY: What do you make of people who argue that if you do create this path to citizenship, which is later in the proposal, and you do regularize anyone who's here who's undocumented, and if the border isn't "secure", quote-unquote, then why wouldn't tens of thousands or more people from not just Mexico but from all over Latin America make their way up and come to the United States?GARCIA: A couple of things. First of all, that's a failure of this alleged comprehensive immigration reform. If we were comprehensive about it, we would look immediately to why people are coming. And no one—not the Democrats, not the Republicans—want to look at that. So, yes, I agree with people that if we're wondering, wait a minute, is this a one-time thing, what is it that we need to do to fix it, I think we have to look at what our policies are. I mean, NAFTA has propelled 6 million workers out of agriculture in Mexico, and they crossed unlawfully into the United States. We had a boom, right? Right now we're at a low, but we had a massive crossing. You described it in what you saw in Tijuana. So why don't we deal with policies that the United States has that is causing mass migration from the sending countries? I think—let me tell you, I've been involved in this issue since '76. People don't necessarily want to come. People have asked me, please, not only fight for humans' right to migrate, but why don't you fight for the right for us to remain home, that you don't enact policies that impact our livelihood?And that's what we've done. We've allowed Monsanto to do away with, you know, corn producing in Mexico. And so I agree with what they're saying. But on the other hand, people need to understand that we've never had immigration laws that reflect the reality. The reality is what? That we've invited almost 11 million people to come here. We also have to acknowledge that families must be unified, that a border cannot keep families separated and that we should not do that. And thirdly, we should look at other policies, such as our alleged war on drugs, that is causing more and more migration into the United States.I think if we're going to talk about comprehensive, that's what we need to deal with, not enforcement at the border. Even Napolitano herself said, if we build a 50-foot wall, people will build a 51-foot ladder. I mean, that is not what we're talking about. This is not a law enforcement or a national security issue. I beg to differ.JAY: I mean, I guess the argument would be, if you're going to have a free-trade agreement with Mexico, then, one, even some people on the right have argued in favor of this, that there should be also free coming and going of people in free trade zone countries. And number two, the free trade agreement actually has to be good for the economies of all the countries involved, and it clearly hasn't been good for Mexico.Alright. Let's move on to the next part of President Obama's proposal, "Cracking Down on Employers Hiring Undocumented Workers". The notes say, "Our businesses should only employ people legally authorized to work in the United States. Businesses that knowingly employ undocumented workers are exploiting the system to gain an advantage over businesses that play by the rules." So they're going to crack down on employers, which they never have. They've always allowed employers to more or less hire undocumented workers at will. What do you make of this proposal? Because—I'm going to get to a point, 'cause something I don't get about all of this is, if they really crack down on employers, then what's supposed to happen to all these people that are going to get fired now?GARCIA: Well, I'd like to begin with the observation that the premise is absolutely faulty. If we want immigration reform and they're responding to the issue that, you know, elected people here, it's not employer sanctions, it is not more immigration enforcement that we want. What we want is a full legalization. Cracking down on employers just sounds great, right? We all say, oh, yeah, those employers, those terrible employers that crack down. However, do we question what we pay for fruit and vegetables here, the clothes that I wear, the housing I have? To a large part, immigrants have impoverished their lives to enrich our lives. And so, to say that they're going to crack down on employers is ridiculous. We already have employer sanctions right on the books, which we fought in 1986. But we know that there's not enough enforcement. And I don't believe that our tax money should go for enforcement at the work site.JAY: Well, that's what the proposal—the proposal is about a new big electronic system with social security cards that are more verified, and then a onus on employers to use this electronic verification program. And if they—.GARCIA: Do we want that? Do we want those violations of privacy? I knew a United States of America where people who—said, hey, you know, I'm a tramp and I go across the country and I don't have to have an ID and nobody's going to have my information. We have a very strong privacy sentiment in this country. And because of 9/11, everybody's giving in. And as the world globalizes, that we have no borders, they say, for capital and intellectual property and such, and yet now we're going to police ourselves to the point of each of us having this verifiable national ID. I think it's absolutely wrongheaded. It's absolutely wrongheaded, goes for surveillance of all of our community, between the employment of surveillance and along the community, because here in Tucson, everybody's afraid of the police department. With SB 1070 the law on the books here, we're all under a police state. So I think it's wrong.JAY: But don't you think a country has a right to tell employers that people have to be in the country legally documented before you can hire them? If you take this issue aside, that—so many people are here undocumented because they were more or less invited here, really. But if you separate that question as a principle, don't you think a country can say to its employers, you can only hire people that are legally here?GARCIA: I don't think—it depends on the problem you're trying to address. And in this particular situation, no, I think it's wrong. I think when you say the government, well, yes, the government can—you know, we have a government. Is it wrong? I think it's absolutely wrong. Why aren't we having a government say to the corporate interests that are going into Mexico and, you know, doing away and displacing Mexican workers that in the end cross over to the United States—why aren't we doing that? Why aren't we cracking down on Wall Street? People say, oh, well, the people crossed unlawfully. We've invited them. For generations, Mexico has entire towns that—where their young men of working age are all in the United States or Canada, but mainly in the United States, and behind are the women, the grandparents, and the children. We've established this pattern with Mexico for a long time, and I think it's time that we acknowledge that and legalize everybody and not go back to what we've done. We've had a thriving workforce without having employer sanctions, without having employer verification system. Do you know what that does as well? It institutionalizes racism or racial profiling, because as we discuss this issue, even at a societal level, we're having an impact on our children and everybody else and employers saying, boy, I wonder if this employee has papers? You know, she speaks Spanish and doesn't speak—.JAY: Well, let's look at that next part of the proposal, then, "Earned Citizenship". It says, "It is just not practical to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants living within our borders." It's interesting it says "not practical." It doesn't say it'd be morally wrong; it just says it's impractical. "The President’s proposal provides undocumented immigrants a legal way to earn citizenship that will encourage them to come out of the shadows so they can pay their taxes and play by the same rules as everyone else. Immigrants living here illegally must be held responsible for their actions by passing national security and criminal background checks, paying taxes and a penalty, going to the back of the line, and learning English before they can earn their citizenship. There will be no uncertainty about their ability to become U.S. citizens if they meet these eligibility criteria." What do you make of that?GARCIA: I see it as almost a very rough obstacle course for people. In other words, these limitations are meant to diminish the number of people who can successfully get on this famous path for citizenship. Remember, it's not—we don't go after citizenship. The first thing you have to do is become a permanent lawful resident. In the Senate, of course, they want to condition it to border security, but the president is still creating such a tough road. Who's going to determine back taxes? And I'm telling you, I object from the very tone of what he's saying, because it's basically saying that they've done wrong, that if it were practical to deport 11 million people, we should. It's not only not practical; it's immoral, it's the unfair thing to do when we have millions of people, again, that have been enriching our lives while impoverishing their own. Just ask the auditor of the Social Security suspense fund. He will tell you that the over $220 billion that will pay for my Social Security comes from the earnings and the taxes paid by undocumented workers. Why should they pay a fine? They've been paying taxes, they've been subsidizing us in so many ways. And all the credible studies will verify. And so that's why I'm upset.JAY: The politics of all this is that Latinos, Hispanic-speaking people voted in large numbers for President Obama. It was one of the things that helped him swing the last elections. And everyone's talking about the future of American elections to a large extent are going to be decided by Hispanics and Latinos. Is this going to please people or not, these proposals?GARCIA: Well, I'll tell you, the sound of it is already pleasing some people, just because they're so hungry for reform. But once they learn the details of this immigration reform, I think the Latino voter is not going to be that superficial. I think the Latino voter is going to actually see what this reform really results in. Remember, when we had amnesty, we only legalized half of the undocumented worker force at that time in '86; we didn't have all of these tough requirements, and yet legalized only half. The good thing back then is that we didn't have this huge enforcement apparatus that we now have.JAY: In the next part of our interview, I'm going to ask Isabel Garcia what her immigration reform would look like. So please join us for part two of the interview on The Real News Network.
EndDISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.
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WASHINGTON - January 29 - President Obama is scheduled to address immigration policy today at a speech in Las Vegas.
JEFF BIGGERS, [email]
Biggers is author of State Out of the Union: Arizona and the Final Showdown Over the American Dream. He stresses the need to look at “border security realities, including the militarization of the U.S.-Mexico border and the largely forgotten impact — including thousands of migrant deaths — from Operation Gatekeeper passed by President Bill Clinton nearly 20 years ago.” See a recent review of his book in the El Paso Times: “Taking back Arizona: Author casts state’s politics as community vs. carpetbaggers.”
MAEGAN ORTIZ, [email], @mamitamala
Ortiz is publisher of VivirLatino. She recently wrote the piece on “Comprehensive Immigration Reform” titled “It’s Like #CIR All Over Again,” which states: “There is so much hype about what comprehensive immigration reform could be that the rhetoric about what may happen is really an industry on it’s own. …Some are anxious for a real sign that President Obama is serious about reform. His tenure in office has brought increased funding for enforcement and record deportation numbers.”
Most recently, she wrote “Blueprint for a Road that Already Is,” which states: “And they’re off! ‘The Road to Immigration Reform Starts Today!’ announced one organizational email. They are talking about a set of immigration reform principles — not an actual bill — that was released today by a bi-partisan group of eight senators. … What’s interesting about all the congratulatory messages that ask people to support immigration reform is that they lack an actual analysis of what is in the principles. Since the principles include ‘a pathway to citizenship,’ it’s assumed to be good enough.” Ortiz lists nine points that are skewing the discussion:
1: The border is “secure” so let’s stop pouring money into agencies and organizations that put more boots on the ground and enforcement technology.
2: Being able to live in the United States “with papers” shouldn’t be based on some merit system that awards the “smart” immigrants. If we really want to award success then we need to look at how the educational system in the U.S. perpetuates cycles of poverty and underachievement, filtering a limited amount of “success stories.”
3: Employment verification systems like E-Verify have proven themselves flawed and harmful to the labor market so stop the push to make this mandatory. … We will not accept the introduction of a biometric identification card which has been the subtext for much of … the discussion in years past.
4: We don’t want a guest worker program. We want fair labor standards for farmworkers. How is the proposed Agricultural Worker Program different from H-2A visa program already in place?
5. This get-to-the-back-of-the-line language means people who are already in the United State will have to wait how long before they can get papers? Ten years? Twenty years? Is this the beginning of an expanded DACA-like [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals] program that will allow people to stay in the U.S. in a limbo status indefinitely? How do immigration court backlogs figure into this line?
6: Who will determine what makes an immigrant “seriously criminal” or a threat to national security and thus ineligible for citizenship and targeted for deportation?
7. Limits on accessing federal public benefits for “lawful probationary immigrants” helps to perpetuate poverty and poor health outcomes in immigrant communities. This isn’t being “tough” — this is punishment.
8: Having an English language requirement in order to earn a green card is reminiscent of Jim Crow era literacy laws. There is already a proficiency requirement to become a naturalized citizenship. Making it a requirement for permanent residency has one intention, to limit the amount of people eligible.
9: Creating a fast track to citizenship for DREAMers and some agricultural workers while leaving others to languish in undefined lines will serve to further separate families who have mixed statuses and mixed immigration histories. No to a hierarchy of applicants.
You need to know this. A rare word is coming out of the Senate today: "compromise." With President Obama set to tackle immigration reform on Tuesday, a bipartisan group of Senators came out today with their own compromised deal. The team of four Democrats and four Republicans introduced a plan that will put the more than 11 million undocumented immigrants, currently in the United States, on a path to citizenship. But first, they will have to register with the government, pass background checks, pay back taxes and penalties, and then move to the back of the line for full citizenship status. The proposal also puts in place new border security measures – and young people – or "DREAMers" who were brought to the country illegally when they were a child, but have gone to school here and kept their nose clean, will be put on a faster track toward citizenship. This is a good sign that a deal on comprehensive immigration reform can be struck this year. Stay tuned.
In screwed news..the banking sector is ruled by monopolies. New data from the Dallas Federal Reserve shows that a small group of "mega banks" control upwards of 70% of all banking assets. Just twelve banks, out of the total 56-hundred commercial banks in operation across the nation – have assets between $250 billion and $2.3 trillion dollars. They represent only point- 2% of all banks in operation, yet they account for 69% of the industry's total assets. This is the definition of "Too Big to Fail." In fact, as Senator Sherrod Brown has pointed out, these banks aren't just too big to fail, "they're too big to manage."
In the best of the rest of the news...
As state senators in Virginia contemplate taking up legislation, to rig the Electoral College for the benefit of Republicans, lawmakers in Michigan are considering doing the same exact thing. Last Friday, Michigan's Republican House Speaker, Jase Bolger, was quoted as saying, "I hear more and more from our citizens in various parts of the state of Michigan, that they don't feel like their vote for president counts because another area of the state may dominate that, or could sway their vote...They feel closer to voting for their congressman or their congresswoman, and if that vote coincided with their vote for president they would feel better about that." Michigan is one of the bluer states taken over by Republicans in 2010 – and if Republicans succeed in rigging the Electoral College there, then that would seriously hurt Democrats' chances of taking the White House in the future. In fact, if all states took up this election rigging scheme last year – then Mitt Romney would be our president today.
Last Friday, the so-called pro-life movement marched in Washington, DC, to take away a woman's right to make a choice about her body. And while they got all the media attention, a different kind of pro-life movement arrived in Washington, DC over the weekend. Thousands of protestors flocked to the nation's capital, calling for national gun control legislation. The march was organized after the Newtown massacre – and more than 100 residents of the Connecticut town joined in, to demand a ban on military style assault weapons and high capacity ammo magazines. Senator Dianne Feinstein, who introduced an assault weapons ban last week, appeared on CNN on Sunday claiming that she does have the support for such a ban – and that she's been promised by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, that it will receive an up-or-down vote on the floor of the Senate.
The NYPD's controversial stop-and-frisk policy may have recently been ruled unconstitutional, but that doesn't bother New York police, who are set to unveil a new type of technology that makes stop-and-frisk unnecessary. NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly announced over the weekend, that within the year, his police force will begin using what are called Tera-Hertz scanners – or T-Ray machines – that can see through people's clothing, to determine if they are carrying any weapons. As Raw Story reports, "The new device utilizes T-rays, which pass through fabric and paper, but cannot pass through metals." The NYPD plans to deploy the machines in police cruisers at first, but eventually hope they can get the technology into a small enough machine, that it can fit on an officer's belt. Privacy activists cheered the decision by the TSA, to get rid of the porno scanners in our airports, but now the fight for privacy continues on the streets of the Big Apple.
Don't touch our libraries! That's what the American people are saying amid the age of austerity and privatization, as they watch their community libraries lose funding, and close their doors. A new survey by the Pew Research center, found that 91% of Americans felt that libraries are important to their community. Another 76% said that libraries are important to them personally – and to their family. Unfortunately, public libraries are often the victim of budget cuts on a local, state, and federal level. In fact, the coming sequestration included a $19 million cut to a federal program that provides extra funding for public libraries around the nation.
And finally...Sarah Palin is out at Fox so-called News. Last Friday, Real Clear Politics reported that Fox News has decided to part ways with the gubernatorial quitter turned political celebrity. Over the last three years, she was a paid contributor, earning roughly a million bucks a year. A study out of the University of Minnesota analyzed Palin's appearances on the network, and concluded that between 2010 and 2012 – Palin spoke nearly 190,000 words on the network – meaning she was paid roughly $15.85 per word. And that includes some of the words that none of us have ever heard before, and don't even appear in any English language dictionary.
And that's the way it is today – Monday, January 28, 2013. I'm Jim Javinsky in for Thom Hartmann – on the news.
(L) Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) (AFP Photo / Mark Wilson)
A group of bipartisan senators is on Monday announcing an immigration reform plan that would provide a path to citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants while also tightening border security.
Eight lawmakers – four of which are Democrats and four of which are Republicans – worked together on this legislation, which addresses issues they have tried to tackle for years. The plan will be unveiled the day before US President Barack Obama gives a speech on immigration in Nevada on Tuesday.
The proposed legislation would allow the approximately 11 million illegal immigrants to register with the government, pay a fine and receive probationary legal status to be able to find employment. This measure would reduce the number of employers illegally hiring immigrants, as well as protect undocumented foreigners from working for less than minimum wage.
Rather than fearing deportation, illegal immigrants could work towards eventual citizenship, even though they would have to “go to the end of the line” and apply for permanent status, reads the document drawn up by the senators.
Immigrants who obtain university degrees in science, math, technology or engineering would be awarded with green cards – an incentive that leads to higher education among immigrants and academic contributions to society.
“Let’s be very clear: having a pathway to earned legalization is an essential element. And I think that we are largely moving in that direction as an agreement,” said Sen. Robert Menendez, D-NJ, in an interview on ABC’s “The Week”.
The eight senators that will endorse these new principles on Monday are Democrats Dick Durbin of Illinois, Robert Menendez of New Jersey, Charles Schumer of New York, Michael Bennet of Colorado and Republicans John McCain of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Marco Rubio of Florida, and Jeff Flake of Arizona.
While Democrats have primarily advocated for a path to citizenship, Republicans have long been concerned about border security – both of which the new legislation addresses. Borders would be more efficiently guarded and the US government would crack down on those with expired visas and employers who illegally hire undocumented immigrants. All immigrants who apply for a provisional status would also undergo a mandatory background check.
Rather than unlawful employment, the US government would permit hiring immigrants – as long as a company can first prove that it cannot recruit a US citizen.
The proposed legislation is still in its beginning stages, but the senators are hoping for input on border security and expired visas before completing the details of the 5-page document.
The bipartisan collaboration on this measure has sparked discussion about new GOP leniency on immigration. In past elections, Democrats have overwhelmingly won the Hispanic vote, which Republicans have recognized as a problem. In last November’s presidential election, Obama won more than 70 percent of the Latino vote, partially due to conservative opposition to immigration reform.
“What’s changed is, honestly, is that there is a new, I think, appreciation on both sides of the aisle – including, maybe more importantly on the Republican side of the aisle – that we have to enact a comprehensive immigration reform bill,” McCain said on ABC’s “This Week”.
“Well, I’ll give you a little straight talk: Look at the last election… We are losing dramatically the Hispanic vote, which we think should be ours for a variety of reasons,” he added.
The Senate is expected to debate on immigration this spring, after which the House of Representatives will take on the issue. The senators have not decided upon a proposed time period for a provisional status, but will outline their general ideas in a news conference Monday at 2:30 p.m. ET.
An "unacceptable" backlog of more than 16,000 immigrants waiting to hear whether they can stay in Britain has been discovered in a fresh investigation into UK border controls.
Some 14,000 applicants, growing at a rate of 700 a month, had already been refused the right to stay but are still pleading with the UK Border Agency (UKBA) to reconsider.
And an additional 2,100 cases - shipped in a box from an office in Croydon to Sheffield - were still waiting for an initial decision at the time of the inspection - with some dating back a decade. The UKBA said these have since been cleared.
Immigration procedure has been slammed for being chaotic and inefficient
The backlogs were discovered by the Independent Chief Inspector for Borders and Immigration John Vine as part of an inquiry into applications to remain in Britain on the basis of marriage.
"This is completely unacceptable and I expect the Agency to deal with both types of case as a matter of urgency," Mr Vine said.
The inspector said he was "surprised" to discover the UKBA is also failing to check whether applicants earn enough to look after themselves without having to rely on state handouts.
Theresa May has been criticised over the backlog
Meanwhile, a separate inspection into how the UKBA and Border Force deal with criminals at ports, such as Heathrow Airport, discovered that the policy of swift removal is being rendered ineffective by the level of immigrants claiming asylum.
UKBA staff told the inspector the agency was sitting on 14,000 refused cases that the UKBA was asked to reconsider because there was "no policy" on how to deal with them.
Further investigation discovered "confusion" among staff, with one senior manager informing the inspector there was nothing to stop the cases from progressing.
Sir Andrew Green, chairman of campaigners Migration Watch UK, said: "This is yet further evidence of the chaos in the immigration system from which they are taking years to recover."
During the inspection, Mr Vine discovered 2,100 cases that had yet to receive an initial decision, including some dating back as far as 2003.
Around 180 of these applicants wanted to stay in the UK due to marriage or a civil partnership, while the remaining cases related to other reasons.
In his report, Mr Vine said: "This situation causes anxiety, uncertainty and frustration for those individuals and their family members.
"Delays in deciding applications also mean that enforcement action is likely to be more difficult in the event that the case is ultimately refused.
"This is because the individual will have been in the UK for a number of years and may have developed a family or private life."
UKBA staff are not consistently applying the "income support threshold" rule to applicants who want to stay in the UK due to marriage, the report also found.
In one case, an applicant applied to stay in Britain because he was married to a person settled in the country who had a disposable income of around £200 per month - far below the minimum income support level.
The inspector also found that the percentage of allowed appeals in marriage cases was too high at 53% between April 2011 and February 2012.
Mr Vine said: "The agency needs to improve the quality of its initial decision-making to avoid the cost of unnecessary legal challenges and to reduce the proportion of allowed appeals where its refusal decisions are challenged."
The inspector's report also highlighted problems with the agency failing to take into account the rights of children when refusing further leave in the UK.
Mr Vine said children's rights were given specific consideration in one out of 21 examined cases of applicants refused leave in the UK, while the impact on UK-based children was not considered in any of the 39 overseas cases examined.
In a separate report on customs offences, the inspector found that the policy of using swift removal as an alternative to prosecution was not available in a large proportion of immigration cases.
Some 73% of the individuals covered by the investigation claimed asylum, meaning they could not be removed from the UK until decisions had been made.
Some 36% of cases remained in the UK awaiting the outcome of an appeal or a decision on their initial claim and nine individuals were found to be waiting nearly a year without a decision.
Keith Vaz MP, chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, said: "These backlogs are a disease that has infected our immigration policy. What is more, as the backlog increases each month it is clear that this disease is spreading. The way the Agency operates requires urgent surgery of the most profound kind."
Shadow immigration minister Chris Bryant attacked Home Secretary Theresa May's management of the UKBA.
He said: "In recent months we have learnt of files left unopened, letters left unanswered, hundreds of original decisions being overturned on appeal and applicants coming to Britain who did not prove they could support themselves.
"It all adds up to delay, confusion and a massive waste of taxpayers' money.
A Home Office spokeswoman said: "The Agency is taking action to deal with historic backlogs and has a transformation plan that will put the Agency on a surer footing.
"This group of people have already been refused but are trying to circumvent the appeals process by requesting an informal 'reconsideration'.
"We've changed the rules to make clear that those not happy with the original decision should re-apply or appeal and if they choose not to, they should leave the UK voluntarily. We are contacting them to make sure they do this, but if they refuse we will enforce their removal."