Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Finally, Support for Spitzer Begins to Grow

The New York Times is reporting today that Governor Spitzer's new policy on driving licenses is finally finding support among "terrorism and security experts, who, like Mr. Spitzer, regard it as a way of bringing a hidden population into the open and ultimately making the system more secure, not to mention getting more drivers on the road licensed and insured".

About time too.

We've been wondering when the sensible voices would prevail over the right-wing noise machine.

“If you talk to people in the intelligence and law enforcement communities, when they’re investigating terrorists or crimes or unlawful activity, they want people to be in the system, because that’s how you find them,” said Margaret D. Stock, an associate professor at West Point who also works for the Army as an immigration lawyer.

“I’m a Republican,” she added. “I find it disturbing that people who claim to be law and order types want to let hundreds of thousands of people run around the country without any oversight when there’s a war going on.”


Irish American Voter said...

Hey, it's like keiran staunton said at the ailsing dinner dance. our best friends are people like spitzer and schumer. They may not have Irish names but god knows we'll support them in the next election!! go on ya goodthings!

Anonymous said...

Must See Penn & Teller.. haha




Starring Cockroach Kirkorian and Chris Symcox...

Anonymous said...

October 14, 2007
The Nation
No Need for a Warrant, You’re an Immigrant

LONG ISLAND officials protested when federal agents searching for immigrant gang members raided local homes two weeks ago. The agents had rousted American citizens and legal immigrants from their beds in the night, complained Lawrence W. Mulvey, the Nassau County police commissioner, and arrested suspected illegal immigrants without so much as a warrant.

“We don’t need warrants to make the arrests,” responded Peter J. Smith, the special agent in charge in New York for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, the agency that conducted the raids.

His concise answer helps explain the friction that the Bush administration’s recent campaign of immigration enforcement has caused. Last week, immigration officials announced that they had made more than 1,300 arrests across the country over the summer when they went looking for gang members. Since the raids were carried out under immigration law, many protections in place under the American criminal codes did not apply. Foreign residents of the United States, whether here legally or not, answer to a different set of rules.

Immigration agents are not required to obtain warrants to detain suspects. The agents also have broad authority to question people about their immigration status and to search them and their homes. There are no Miranda rights that agents must read when making arrests. Detained immigrants have the right to a lawyer, but only one they can pay for.

While criminal suspects are generally sent to jails near the courts that hear their cases, immigration agents have discretion in deciding where to hold immigrants detained for deportation. Many suspected illegal immigrants who were detained in Nassau County, for example, were quickly moved to York, Pa., distant from family and legal advice.

This parallel course for noncitizens is not new. But it has come into fuller view as the enforcement drive has swept up record numbers of illegal immigrants, also reaching legal immigrants and citizens. In answer, a barrage of lawsuits is challenging both the laws and their enforcers.

“Buried within the proud history of our nation of immigrants, shrouded but always present, there exists a distinct system,” wrote Daniel Kanstroom, a law professor at Boston College, in his book “Deportation Nation: Outsiders in American History,” which traces the history of the immigration code. To begin with, he writes, the Constitution does not specifically address the government’s power to control immigration. This is “not a small problem for a nation of immigrants,” he notes.

Immigration law remains founded on the notion that immigrants are not full members of American society until they become citizens, writes Professor Kanstroom, who is also a practicing immigration lawyer. The reduced protections in modern-day law were shaped by some of the darker episodes of the 20th century, he writes, including the prosecution of immigrant dissidents, like the Australian union leader Harry Bridges, in the 1930s; and the mass roundups of Mexican workers in the 1950s.

Arising from that landscape, the courts that handle immigration cases are part of the Justice Department, not the judiciary. Even immigrants who have lived here legally for many years, lawyers said, can run afoul of the immigration laws with minor infractions or misdemeanors. A late filing of visa renewal papers or a shoplifting citation can quickly spiral into an order for the ultimate penalty: deportation. Immigrants who fight the orders have more limited bail rights than American criminals and can spend years behind bars while their cases inch through the overburdened court system.

The immigration laws have gained new influence in everyday life because of the record number of immigrants — 37.1 million, according to census figures — now living in the United States. Of those, more than 22 million are not naturalized citizens and remain subject to the immigration system, including about 10 million legal residents and 12 million illegal immigrants, by estimates from the Pew Hispanic Center in Washington. Increasingly, immigrants live in mixed-status families that include illegal and legal residents as well as citizens.

Over the last two years, ICE has grown more aggressive, entering factories and communities, hunting down foreign fugitives ranging from convicted criminals to workers whose visas have expired. Last year, the agency deported 195,000 people, another record. After President Bush’s immigration overhaul failed in Congress in June, the administration has vigorously pursued the enforcement-first policy that Republicans demanded.

There are sharp differences among legal experts and law enforcement officials about the limited protections in the immigration laws, many of which have been upheld over the years by the Supreme Court. Officials point out that the majority of the people deported last year entered the country illegally or plainly had lost any claim to legal status, including thousands of convicts.

“Immigration law enforcement is all about getting you to where you belong, which is outside the United States,” said Jan C. Ting, a law professor at Temple University who is a former assistant commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the precursor to ICE. He pointed out that immigration laws are civil codes, not criminal. “A lot of constitutional protections that one would normally expect in a criminal case do not necessarily apply,” he said.

Professor Ting says ICE agents are well within their authority to question people they come across in the course of a raid, even if they are not its targets, and detain them as suspects.

But new legal challenges are seeking to restrain ICE’s powers. A lawsuit in Tennessee challenges raids where agents teamed up with a county sheriff to search trailer parks, forcing their way without warrants into Hispanic immigrants’ homes. In a suit against ICE in Texas, seven citizens and legal immigrants contend their rights were violated in raids last year at Swift & Company meatpacking plants.

These cases are spurred by people like Peggy Delarosa-Delgado, a naturalized citizen born in the Dominican Republic whose Long Island home was raided twice. She described the shock of having a dozen ICE agents march into her living room, terrifying her children. As the laws governing immigrants have left American citizens increasingly vulnerable as well, more legal challenges can be expected.

Casey said...

It is heartening to see that some sense is beginning to surface with regard to licenses for un-documented. Gov Spitzer is an enlightened man brave enough to put his neck on the line for what is right we need many more like him. It’s a start albeit a small one to help our community here. There is still a long way to go for the many others in the rest of the country. Being able to drive legally will help a great deal, will help families function better and support themselves and will help our un-documented from coming into view of increasingly vigilant authorities. This is what gets up the noses of bottom feeders that want mass deportations and promote the America of intolerance they would like to have.

These measures will take a little pressure of us but the need to be documented through some visa program is vital if the Irish want to prosper in the US. Irish people are probably one of the most versatile nationalities in the world they are successful in many fields across the globe. Without documentation that barrier to progress is virtually in-surmountable. This has an effect on Ireland also a lot of Ireland’s success of the past decade or so has in no small effect stemmed from the Irish abroad and in a big part from America. To cut this off by lack of a program for present and future Irish to emigrate to the US will have negative repercussions on Irish culture and the economy. Historically the Irish economy has fluctuated wildly up and down. To not have a program in place for present and future emigrants is taking a risk.

Comprehensive reform when looked at in hindsight was probably doomed from the start. Nibble at the problem with incremental bills will probably be the likely approach. At the time it was the best approach for us to join all the groups and push for it. The issue of the many groups of un-documented seeking reform needs to continue. They are pure and simply being exploited by the American economy and powerful forces do not want to see a change in the status quo. There are billions of dollars at stake. But it would seem that unfortunately we need to press on for our own solution, probably selfish in a way but it’s the reality.

So how to get a program in place? Playing the Irish card appears not to cut it. Economic reasons always seem to hit home, a reciprocal agreement between the two nations as there is a strong will from Americans to work in Ireland. The Australian E3 visa shows that governments can cut a deal and nothing is set in stone. It may not be a perfect fit for Ireland but can be tweaked to suit. The Irish government will need to step up their efforts. It is not easy for a foreign government especially one of the size of Ireland’s to seek change in US policy but the Irish are known for diplomacy. The Irish government has been quiet of late on this issue by which I hope means there is a lot of behind the scenes discussions. The ILIR have done a fantastic job with the resources they have and the motivation of preserving our community here. Lobbying in Washington will play no small part also.

There is a lot at stake here, more than an un-documented group of Irish getting caught in a bigger issue. A way of life for Irish in America, a prosperous Ireland and a diverse America deserve protecting. I am positive of a solution I’m a firm believer in that there is always a way out or even the most desperate situation, na├»ve maybe . I love this country, it is not perfect but the good points far outweigh the bad and I am not ready to through in the towel. Like many others there will come a time when I can’t move any further in the present system I hope that time won’t come before a program is in place.

Anonymous said...

Ex-antiterrorism chief supports Spitzer's license plan



Saturday, October 20th 2007, 4:00 AM


Suggest a Story
A former U.S. counterterrorism chief backed Gov. Spitzer's plan on Friday to give undocumented immigrants driver's licenses, but state Senate Republicans plan to fight it.

Richard Clarke, who served in the Clinton and Bush administrations, disputed Spitzer foes who say giving illegal immigrants government IDs threatens public safety.

He said states should give the newcomers licenses in advance of a secure, uniform national ID system.

"From a law enforcement and security perspective, it is far preferable for the state to know who is living in it and driving on its roads, and to have their photograph and address on file, than to have large numbers of people living in our cities whose identity is totally unknown to the government," Clarke said in a statement.

Speaking at the NYU School of Law yesterday, Spitzer appealed to practicality, saying the state can't ignore people who already live, work and drive here.

"If you don't like our policy because of your immigration politics, that's fine. There's probably nothing I can do to change your mind," he said. "I only ask you to recognize that my challenge as governor has very little to do with how someone got into New York."

Republicans vow to fight the plan. State Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno (R-Rensselaer) said in a statement that his conference will pass a bill to make license applicants provide a Social Security number or "proof of authorized presence in the United States." To become law, the bill would need approval from the Democratic-led Assembly, which is unlikely.

Bruno said the governor "persists in his arrogance, refuses to listen to the people and will not set aside his ill-advised plan."