Friday, August 03, 2007

Update on US immigration

Senator John McCain is one of the co-sponsors of a bill which would put people on visa overstays in jail according to this piece in the LA Times. No news on Specter's proposals yet.

Immigration bill focuses on enforcement
Los Angeles Times - CA,USA
By Nicole Gaouette, Times Staff Writer WASHINGTON -- Conservative Republican senators Thursday introduced a bill bristling with immigration enforcement ...
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Can Two Kids Change Immigration Law?
When teenage brothers Juan and Alex Gomez were awakened at dawn on July 25 and arrested by US immigration officials, they simply became two more among the ...
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Police toughening stand on illegal immigrants
Seattle Times - United States
When police in the small Southeast King County town of Pacific stopped Jose Luis Diaz for speeding in May, officers joked about a flier for an immigration ...
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Anonymous said...

A refreshing breeze....

"Giving these people green-card status leaves open the opportunity for them to return to their native lands and seek citizenship through regular channels. Or, after our borders are secured and tough employer sanctions have been put in place, Congress can revisit the issue and possibly find a more hospitable America."

Sen. A Specter (R) P.A.

Full transcript here :

jack sparrow said...

The focus on border enforcement is a good idea. Maybe what Specter is thinking that we can lure these illegals to go back home by issuing them green cards. And once we have the border enforcement measures in place, we can snag these guys as they try to re-enter the US with what-they-think is a good green card. We just have to refuse them entry at this point, and not have to deport them. This is the ultimate self-deportation. I truly hope it works.

Anonymous said...

Sen A Specter"s bill is a waste of time the republicans are trying to stop the loss of hspanic votes for next years election .They couldent even agree within there own party this year when it was on the senate floor. The only thing happening at the border is bandits charge more money to bring people over, because of all the hype in the media this year. Specter is just giving lip service

Anonymous said...

Immigrant Rights Advocates Urge Supporters to Speak Up

Posted: Aug 06, 2007

Immigration rights advocates warned during a NAM Access Washington teleconference that the failure of immigration reform at the federal level is resulting in a spate of anti-immigrant local ordinances – and those who support immigration reform need to speak up.

SAN FRANCISCO – Even though they are in the minority, the “very vocal and very intense” voices of anti-immigrant forces in the United States are drowning the voices of those who want immigration reform, observed an immigrant rights advocate at a New America Media sponsored Access Washington teleconference briefing with the ethnic media on July 30.

The subject for the briefing, tracking immigration legislation, stemmed from the defeat last week of an ordinance proposed by the city of Hazleton, Pa., which would have punished landlords who rent to illegal immigrants and employers who hire them. The ordinance was struck down by a federal judge last week, who said that immigration was a federal issue that Congress must ultimately deal with.

Such anti-immigrant ordinances are designed “to punish people who are considered illegal,” said Omar Jadwat, a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, who was involved in challenging the Hazleton decision.

Cristina Lopez, deputy executive director of Fair Immigration Reformation Movement, was among the advocates on the panel who observed that “70 percent of Americans in a survey said they want immigration reform, but they did not mobilize like the anti-immigrant groups did. . . . If the majority doesn’t speak up, the country will be taken down an ugly path.”

Other immigrant rights advocates made similar observations during the hour-long briefing that drew active participation from the ethnic media.

The Hazleton ordinance was only one of more than a hundred such anti-immigrant initiatives cities across the country have tried to pass, even as the Senate fiercely debated the immigration reform bill earlier this year. According to the Fair Immigration Reform Movement’s database (, 38 such ordinances have been defeated, 33 approved and 40 pending.

But not all local ordinances were anti-immigrant. Such cities as Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York passed measures in support of comprehensive immigration reform. National City, Calif., passed an ordinance making it a sanctuary for immigrants.

The ordinances are a reaction to the failure of Congress to pass an immigration bill, noted Michele Waslin, director of Immigration Policy Research at the National Council of La Raza. She said unless “communities who are frustrated” put pressure on Congress, more anti-immigrant measures have or will be sneaked in as amendments to punish those who are undocumented and even those who once were.

Some of those bills would have “taken food out of the mouth of U.S. citizens simply because they once had no status,” Waslin said.

She noted that there is so much hatred spawned by talk show hosts and other immigrant bashers that many immigrants are fearful of leaving their homes.

Clarissa Martinez, manager of the Coalition for Comprehensive Immigration Reform, is worried that Hazleton-type ordinances are only going to multiply, with their sponsors selling them to the public with misinformation.

“Fear and hatred are permeating the debates,” she lamented.

Martinez said that one of the things that have grown out of the anti-immigrant discussion in the country is that legal immigrants are becoming citizens in record numbers, giving them a say in the voting process.

“Latinos will play a big role in the 2008 elections,” she asserted.

Anonymous said...


Jumping Ship on Immigration
by Suman Drum Major Institute
Wed Aug 08, 2007 at 08:40:29 AM PDT
Looks like our elected officials in Washington have jumped ship. And I don’t mean Congress leaving the capital for its August recess. I mean the Senatorial stampede to jump on the anti-immigrant bandwagon by signing on to the latest misguided immigration proposal.

Suman Drum Major Institute's diary :: ::
Late last week a group of Republican Senators introduced a bill with its feet squarely planted in enforcement-only thinking that doesn’t even give a nod to legalizing the 12 million undocumented immigrants in our nation - many of them workers crucial to our economy. What’s particularly disappointing is most of those who introduced last week’s bill were architects of this spring’s aborted bipartisan immigration compromise: Senators Graham (R-SC), Kyl (R-AZ), and McCain (R-AZ). As I’ve written before,that bill started out as a mixed bag and ended up so loaded with cheap shot amendments targeting immigrantsthat it shouldn’t have passed anyway - but at least it gave some lip service to trying to bring the country’s millions of undocumented immigrants out of the shadows (never mind just how complicated the bill would have made this process.)

Now with the latest incarnation of immigration legislation (or at least Washington’s tunnel vision view of what they think the nation needs on immigration policy), the Senate has dropped all pretense of taking a pragmatic approach to immigration that will honor immigrants’ economic contributions to the nation’s economy.

Instead, it looks like Messrs. Graham, Kyl, and McCain have started drinking Lou Dobbs kool-aid(joining Senators Cornyn (R-TX) and Sessions (R-AL), who’ve been drinking up for a while now) and jumped into a border enforcement bonanza by introducing a bill that will do nothing to fix our nation’s broken immigration system, honor immigrants’ contributions to our economy, and will definitely not benefit the American middle class. The $3 billion proposal’s highlights include constructing 700 more miles of border fencing; buying four drone planes to monitor the border; hiring 14,000 Border Patrol agents; and mandatory detention of all those who attempt to illegally cross the border.

Analysts are predicting the bill is so far gone in its enforcement haze that it will not even be able to pick up a Democratic co-sponsor to keep it alive in Congress; nevertheless Senator Graham’s press release about the bill touts it as "workable legislation" that "distills many of the lessons [we] learned discussing immigration reform".

Um, what?

Clearly the enforcement-only approach to immigration is not working. Let’s take a stroll down memory lane over the past 15 years. During that time spending on border enforcement has tripled, even as the number of undocumented immigrants has gone up threefold. Only policing the border is just not going to work unless we come up with real prescriptions for immigration reform that provide an incentive for the nation’s undocumented immigrants to come out of the shadows; addresses poor (or nonexistent) enforcement of existing worker protections; and ends a two-tiered labor market that separates immigrants from native-born workers.

The Graham/Kyl/McCain immigration proposal’s visionof punishing undocumented immigrants with raids, harsh penalties, and mandatory detention will only push them even deeper into the nation’s underground economy and expose them to even worse workplace violations.This misguided enforcement-only approach will further depress the wages and working conditions of American middle class workers who have to compete with the substandard wages and workers rights (or lack thereof) forced upon undocumented workers.

Senator Arlen Specter, who has been supportive in the past of earned legalization through immigration reform to elevate the undocumented out of the nation’s worker underclass, also appears to be sipping (not guzzling, like the Senators who introduced last weeks’ bill) some Senatorial kool-aid. In an op-ed in Monday’s Washington Post,Specter opines we need to improve the lives of the nation’s 12 million undocumented residents (no argument there, Senator Specter – you obviously hadn’t sipped too much Lou Dobbs kool-aid when you came up with that one) by providing legal status to the undocumented already in the country.

The glitch in Senator Specter’s new idea is that this new legal status must stop short of a path to US citizenship. Now Senator Specter, tell me how that’s going to make a difference. The whole point of earned legalization is to bring folks out of the shadows and let them get on a path to citizenship – erasing differences between their rights and those of native-born US citizens. Providing a green card to undocumented folks without giving them an option to apply for citizenship will simply transform a two-tiered labor system into a three-tiered one: undocumented immigrants at the bottom, green card-holding immigrants in the middle (still separate but equal from US citizens), and US citizens at the very top.

The National Conference of State Legislatures illustrated just how dysfunctional federal immigration policy is with a reportreleased Monday at their national conference. State legislators at the conference re-enacted the Boston Tea Party to show just how fed up state governments are with federal demands that states enforce federal immigration laws on states’ dimes – just as our nation’s forefathers did over 200 years ago. Except today, instead of being upset about cockamamie British trade laws on tea, state governments are fed u with the feds effectively passing the buck on immigration policy. The result has been over 1400 local and state-based immigration measuresthis year – a 250% increase from last year. Unfortunately, most of these proposals continue the enforcement-only trend.

Now that’s classy with a K.


cave man said...

"...Even though they are in the minority, the “very vocal and very intense” voices of anti-immigrant forces in the United States are drowning the voices of those who want immigration reform...

maybe they're not in the minority. put that in your pipe and smoke it.