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Posts Tagged ‘anti-immigrant laws’

Proposed Georgia Anti-Immigrant Law Would Bar Undocumented Immigrants from Marrying

March 29th, 2012 No comments
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Georgia legislators are considering a proposal that would bar undocumented immigrants from receiving marriage licenses or access to water and sewage.

The bill sponsored by Sen. Barry Loudermilk, R-Cassville, has gotten a lot of attention because it would also bar undocumented immigrants from the state’s public colleges, universities and technical schools. But another provision that’s generated very little discussion removes foreign passports from a list of identification documents that government agencies can accept for certain transactions. To be acceptable, foreign passports would have to be accompanied by federal immigration documentation proving someone is in the country legally.

“It’s very interesting that the reliability of foreign passports is being questioned by the Georgia Legislature when the Transportation and Security Administration has considered the passport to be a very secure form of ID,” said Azadeh Shahshahani, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union. “I think my worry is that perhaps some legislators might not be aware of the implications of this because it seems so innocuous. It doesn’t say on its face that undocumented immigrants can’t get water or can’t marry.”

Read more: http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/politics/2012/03/26/georgia-immigration-law-would-bar-targets-marriage-licenses-sewage-service/#ixzz1qFFRyqwP

More GOP States Introduce Costly Anti-Immigrant Laws in 2012

February 3rd, 2012 No comments
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Despite the devastating consequences of state immigration laws in Alabama and Arizona, legislators in other states have introduced similar enforcement bills this year. Legislators in Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee and Virginia introduced an array of costly immigration enforcement bills in their 2012 legislative sessions—some which are modeled on Arizona’s SB 1070. While study after study continues to document how these extreme state laws are costing state economies, disrupting entire industries and driving communities further underground, state legislators clearly aren’t getting the message.

Last month, legislators in Mississippi introduced a slew of anti-immigrant bills. State Senator Joey Fillingane, for example, introduced SB 2090, a bill which requires police to check the immigration status of anyone they reasonably suspect is undocumented, makes it a crime to fail to carry proper immigration documents and a crime to harbor or transport an undocumented immigrant, and a misdemeanor for an undocumented immigrant to apply for or solicit work. Both the Mississippi House and Senate passed different versions of this bill, but are expected to hammer out one bill to send to Governor Haley Barbour’s desk for a signature soon.

In Missouri, state Senator Will Kraus recently introduced SB 590, a bill which requires police to determine the immigration status of individuals they reasonably suspect are unauthorized and makes it a crime not to carry immigration documents. Missouri’s bill, like Alabama, however takes the law a step further by requiring schools to verify the immigration status of enrolling students and their parents. Remember that the U.S. Department of Justice blocked a similar provision in Alabama’s immigration law, HB 56, last October. Missouri’s legislature passed the bill out of committee last week—a bill likely to cost Missouri millions.

U.S. Supreme Court will Decide Constitutionality of Arizona SB 1070 Law

December 16th, 2011 No comments
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The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to decide whether an aggressive Arizona statute targeting illegal immigrants interferes with federal law, entering another high-profile dispute between the Obama administration and conservative state governments.

Among other provisions intended to drive illegal immigrants from the state, the 2010 Arizona measure, known as SB 1070, requires police to arrest people they stop whom they suspect of being foreigners without authorization to reside in the U.S. Federal courts have blocked much of the Arizona measure from taking effect, agreeing with the Justice Department that it undermines federal authority over immigration.

The U.S. Supreme Court is likely to hear the case by April and issue a decision before July. That is the same time it is expected to rule on the president’s 2010 health-care overhaul, which conservative activists and Republican leaders from 26 states contend exceeds federal authority.

The scheduling positions both cases for a significant role in next year’s presidential and congressional elections—and could make the Supreme Court, certain to be criticized by the losers in each case, itself an issue. Four of the nine justices are in their 70s, suggesting the next president could have at least one vacancy to fill on the closely divided court.

Arizona has become the center stage of the immigration debate over the last few years. Many other states have followed Arizona’s aggressive approach towards illegal immigration.

Immigrant Families Leave Arizona Due To New Anti-Immigrant Law

July 7th, 2010 No comments
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A family is in a hurry to get out of Arizona, to get away from the state’s harsh new immigration law. They still have a long way to their final destination: Pennsylvania. However, the hardest part of the nearly 2,700-mile journey will be the end. Their final destination is where starting their lives over begins.

Luis and Marlen, both 33, lived in Arizona for more than 15 years. They are from the same small town in southern Mexico, but they met while living in the US. Both came looking for work.

Their three children are U.S. citizens were born in Arizona. The oldest is a quiet 13-year-old, a 10-year-old girl that loves to talk., and a 2-year-old baby.

Luis has washed for the past four years, and has worked as a landscaper for a company that maintains office buildings in the West Valley. He earned $9.80 an hour. Marlen is a stay-at-home mom.

The couple started thinking about leaving Arizona when Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio began conducting his crime sweeps two years ago, saturating largely Latino neighborhoods with deputies, stopping vehicles for minor traffic violations and arresting illegal immigrants. The couple said the sweeps made them feel like prisoners. They used to enjoy spending Sundays at the park. But to avoid the police, they started staying home as much as possible.

The day after Gov. Jan Brewer signed Arizona’s new immigration law on April 23, Luis and Marlen decided to leave. And, they are not alone.

Nebraska Town Votes to Banish Illegal Aliens

June 30th, 2010 No comments
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Residents of Fremont, a small city in Nebraska, voted Monday to banish illegal aliens from jobs and rental homes. The law would bar landlords from renting to those in the country illegally.

Opponents of the new law argued that the City of Fremont simply could not afford the new law. They said that paying to defend such a local law, which is all but certain to be challenged in court, would require a significant cut in Fremont city services, or a stiff tax increase, or both.

However advocates argued that federal authorities had failed to enforce their own immigration restriction and that they had to take care of such matters themselves. They complained that illegal immigrants were causing an increase in crime, taking jobs that would once have gone to longtime residents, and changing the character of their quiet city, some 30 miles of farm fields from Omaha.

Shortly after the results were announced, officials from the A.C.L.U. Nebraska pledged to file a lawsuit as quickly as possible; claiming that if this law goes into effect it will cause discrimination and racial profiling against Latinos and others who appear to be foreign born, including U.S. citizens.

Fremont’s Hispanic population, practically nonexistent two decades ago, has grown to about 2,000 people, according to some estimates. Moreover, no one knows how many illegal immigrants live in Fremont.

In recent years, many towns and cities across the nation considered adopting laws restricting illegal immigrants. However, in most cases, political leaders and town councils have been the ones to pass the provisions and not the voters. Additionally, the laws have proven politically-tangled: measures in some towns are still being fought in court, while some other cities have dropped the issue.

ACLU and Coalition of Civil Rights Groups File Class Action Against Arizona for Anti-Immigrant Law

May 22nd, 2010 No comments
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The American Civil Liberties Union and a coalition of civil rights groups filed a class action lawsuit today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona challenging Arizona’s new law which authorizes police to demand “papers” from people who they suspect are not legally in the U.S.

The coalition filing the lawsuit includes the ACLU, MALDEF, National Immigration Law Center (NILC), and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), ACLU of Arizona, National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) and the Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC) – a member of the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice.

The lawsuit charges that the Arizona law unlawfully interferes with federal power and authority over immigration matters in violation of the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution; invites racial profiling against people of color by law enforcement in violation of the equal protection guarantee and prohibition on unreasonable seizures under the 14th and Fourth Amendments; and infringes on the free speech rights of day laborers and others in Arizona.

One of the individuals the coalition is representing in the case, Jim Shee, who is a U.S.-born 70-year-old American citizen of Spanish and Chinese descent. Shee asserts that he will be vulnerable to racial profiling under the law, and that, although the law has not yet gone into effect, he has already been stopped twice by local law enforcement officers in Arizona and asked to produce his “papers” to proof his legal presence in the U.S.

Another plaintiff, Jesus Cuauhtémoc Villa, is a resident of the state of New Mexico who is currently attending Arizona State University. The state of New Mexico does not require proof of U.S. citizenship or immigration status to obtain a driver’s license. Villa does not have a U.S. passport and does not want to risk losing his birth certificate by carrying it with him. He worries about traveling in Arizona without a valid form of identification that would prove his citizenship to police if he is pulled over. If he cannot supply proof upon demand, Arizona law enforcement is required to arrest and detain him.

Several prominent law enforcement groups, including the Arizona Association of Chiefs of Police, oppose the law because the law sends a clear message to communities of color that the authorities are not to be trusted, making them less likely to come forward as victims of or witnesses to crime.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of labor, domestic violence, day laborer, human services and social justice organizations, including Friendly House, Service Employees International Union (SEIU), SEIU Local 5, United Food and Commercial Workers International (UFCW), Arizona South Asians for Safe Families (ASAFSF), Southside Presbyterian Church, Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Asian Chamber of Commerce of Arizona, Border Action Network, Tonatierra Community Development Institute, Muslim American Society, Japanese American Citizens League, Valle del Sol, Inc., Coalicíon De Derechos Humanos, and individual named plaintiffs who will be subject to harassment or arrest under the law and a class of similarly situated persons.

According to Pablo Alvarado, Executive Director of NDLON day laborers have repeatedly defended their First Amendment rights in federal courts and successfully established their undeniable right to seek work in public areas. Moreover, Alvarado believes that Arizona’s effort to criminalize day laborers and migrants is an affront to the Constitution and threatens to disrupt national unity, and they are confident that federal courts will intervene to ensure the protection of their bedrock civil rights.”

Even prior to the passage of the statute, local enforcement of federal immigration law has already caused an increase on racial profiling of Latinos in Arizona. The ACLU, MALDEF and other members of the coalition have several pending lawsuits against government officials in Arizona because of civil rights abuses of U.S. citizens and immigrants.

Michigan Legislator Inspired by New Anti-Immigrant Law in Arizona

May 12th, 2010 No comments
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After the controversial immigration law passed in Arizona, Michigan has shown interest in a similar immigration law. The Arizona law passed last month directs police to stop suspected illegal aliens and ask them for documentation proving their lawful residency.

Even though Michigan doesn’t have nearly the immigration problem that the border states have, there is no official estimate of the number of illegal aliens in Michigan. Also, according to demographer Ken Darga, the counting process is pretty imprecise.
However, the issue is enough of a concern to federal border officials that they allocated about $20 million a year ago to watch the northern US border for illegal immigrants crossing from Canada.

Republican Kim Meltzer, R-Clinton Township, is drafting a bill that would give police officers the authority to arrest illegal aliens who are stopped and questioned on another offense.
Meltzer believes that the firestorm made on the Arizona law is being misplaced.  She’s proposing tightening immigration laws because there are many illegal immigrants crossing the northern US borders and that the local law enforcement has their hands tied.

Ken Grabowski, legislative director for the Police Officers Association of Michigan, also believes that a law giving local police more authority to deal with illegal aliens is something that needs to be done, because if police find someone who is here illegally, they take them to the local USCIS office. After this, the illegal alien is given a notice to appear for a later date, however nobody ever shows up.

Others are also interested in immigration state law enforcement against illegal immigrants. Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard is making immigration a key topic in his race for the Republican nomination for governor. He says the federal government’s failure to secure the borders is the reason Arizona had to take action. He believes that more and more illegal immigrants are sneaking into America on the southern and northern borders. Additionally, those here illegally are stealing identities to take jobs from American citizens and legal immigrants.

Shelli Weisberg, legislative director for ACLU Michigan, said the organization will fight the Meltzer bill in the Legislature and in court if it comes to that.
“We don’t want an Arizona-style bill. It encourages racial profiling,” Weisberg said.

She added such a law would put Michigan out of step with other states and “make us look like a police state.”

Phoenix Suns Will Wear “Los Suns” Jerseys to Protest New Arizona Anti-Immigrant Law

May 5th, 2010 No comments
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The Phoenix Suns will wear “Los Suns” jerseys Wednesday for Game 2 of their second-round match-up with the Spurs in protest of Arizona’s new immigration law. The Suns called the new law “flawed.”

“Our players and organization felt that wearing our ‘Los Suns’ jerseys on Cinco de Mayo was a way for our team and our organization to honor our Latino community and the diversity of our league, the State of Arizona, and our nation,” said managing partner Robert Sarver.

Arizona’s new SB 1070 law requires Arizona police officers to use “reasonable suspicion” to question and detain possible undocumented aliens. The law has been labeled as racist and opened the door to charges of racial profiling from critics.

New Arizona Anti-Immigrant Law Dubbed as Racist and Unconstitutional by Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon

April 15th, 2010 No comments
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Yesterday, that state’s House of Representatives passed what’s being called the most anti-immigrant bill in the country making it illegal for undocumented immigrants to live or work in the state, or for employers to hire them. The bill, entitled the “Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act,” states that during any “lawful contact” with law enforcement, an officer shall attempt to determine the immigration status of any person they reasonably suspect to be in the U.S. illegally. The person may prove their citizenship by producing a driver’s license, tribal license, or federal ID card. The bill’s author, state Sen. Russell Pearce, said the law simply “takes the handcuffs off of law enforcement and lets them do their job.”

Police were divided on the matter, with police unions backing it but the state police chief’s association saying it could erode trust with immigrants. It requires law enforcement officers who have a “reasonable suspicion” that someone is an illegal immigrant to determine that person’s immigration status “when practicable.”
A provision in the bill states that race or ethnicity cannot be the sole grounds for asking about immigration status, but civil rights groups say authorities are not barred from using them along with other factors that raise suspicions.

The bill also puts the kibosh on any sanctuary city policies, stating any legal resident or citizen of the U.S.  can sue any entity in the state with a policy that impedes the enforcement of federal immigration laws.

Immigrant rights groups said Arizona had been transformed into a police state.

Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon told SF Weekly that he believes the bill is racist and will be struck down in the courts for being unconstitutional. Basically, he says, it’s reversing the burden of proof to make a person have to prove he or she isn’t an illegal immigrant.

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