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Posts Tagged ‘anti-immigrant’

Federal Judge Allows Access to Emails Concerning the Drafting of SB 1070 In Order to Search for Racial Overtones

January 6th, 2014 No comments
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TUCSON — A federal judge has given opponents of Arizona’s sweeping anti-illegal-immigration law access to emails, letters and memos between supporters of SB 1070 and legislators to see whether there are racial overtones in the messages.

In December, U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton in Phoenix rejected arguments made by two of the law’s supporters, who maintained that communications sent to lawmakers who created and supported SB 1070 were confidential.

Challengers to SB 1070 called Bolton’s ruling a victory because their lawsuit was based partly on allegations that legislators meant to discriminate against Latinos and other people of color. If so, the challengers argue, the law could violate the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution.

In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down key provisions of SB 1070 but allowed the most controversial portion to take effect: Arizona can compel law enforcement officials in most circumstances to check the status of someone they stop for lawful reasons if they suspect the person is in the country illegally.

Immigrant rights activists filed suit and have been battling in court since to have the provision blocked, claiming that the Arizona Legislature intended to discriminate against Latinos and other minorities.

Are House Republicans Backtracking on Comprehensive Immigration Reform?

June 13th, 2013 No comments
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A Democratic leader on immigration reform in the House is chiding Republican colleagues for backtracking on promises to overhaul the nation’s border control laws, signaling fears that a bipartisan compromise in the chamber remains elusive.

“Over the past week, it seems Republicans are having a relapse,” Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) wrote in an op-ed in the Huffington Post on Thursday. “The anti-immigrant policies and rhetoric are metastasizing and causing a substantial case of amnesia about the last election.”

Gutierrez is part of a bipartisan House group that has been working privately on a comprehensive immigration reform bill, but the group has suffered delays and setbacks for months. Most recently, one of the original eight members, Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), dropped out of the coalition, citing a standoff over requirements related to health care for illegal immigrants.

Immigration advocates are hopeful that the House group can come to agreement, which would give Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and other GOP leaders the option of moving forward with a comprehensive bill instead of smaller, piecemeal proposals favored by some conservatives.

Fearful that the progress has stalled, Gutierrez hit Republican colleagues for voting last week to defund President Obama’s executive order last summer to defer deportations of young immigrants — known as DREAMers — who were brought to the United States illegally by their parents as children. Republicans said they believe Obama should not have usurped Congress.

Tea Party Conservatives Attempting to Stop Comprehensive Immigration Reform

May 22nd, 2013 No comments
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At the moment, a bipartisan group of senators is working through its fifth full day of “markup” on the immigration reform bill. As Yahoo News reports, they plan to address some of the more controversial elements of the bill, from including the number of visas for high-skilled immigrants, to the question of whether to allow people in same-sex marriages to apply for green cards for their spouses.

All of this, of course, has been lost in the obsession over scandals — both real and imagined. What’s also been lost is the extent to which the ongoing fight over immigration reform is dividing the Republican Party between its more pragmatic, pro-reform members — conservatives like Marco Rubio or Arizona’s Jeff Flake — and it’s more doctrinaire, anti-reform ones, like Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions. So far, the fight has favored the former. Conservative proponents of comprehensive immigration reform have the largest platform — on account of their role in crafting the Senate bill — and recently scored a victory after the Heritage Foundation fell on its face following the release of its study on the “costs” of reform, which was widely-panned, as well as connected to racist ideas about the intelligence of Hispanic immigrants.

But anti-immigration conservatives haven’t given up the fight. This morning, a coalition of 150 conservatives — which includes Rich Lowry of the National Review, Phyllis Schlafly of Eagle Forum, Redstate.com editor Eric Erickson, and former Florida Representative Alan West — issued a letter declaring their absolute opposition to the comprehensive immigration bill, and urging Senate Republicans to scrap the entire project.

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

GOP Unveils Plans for Immigration Reform (Not Surprisingly . . . It’s Anti-Immigrant)

June 18th, 2011 No comments
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Two of the masterminds behind the GOP’s mass deportation (of immigrants) strategy, Representatives Lamar Smith (R-TX), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and Elton Gallegly (R-CA), chairman of the Immigration Subcommittee, are introducing new legislation intended to bring about their extremist fantasy: the expulsion of 11 million undocumented immigrants and their families.  That’s what their whole “enforcement only” approach is all about – tighten the screws on immigrant families while blocking any hope of being able to legalize their status.

The Republicans’ dark vision for immigration “reform” isn’t playing well with Latino voters.  But in addition to alienating Latinos, Smith and Gallegly are on a path that will also hurt U.S. workers and key industries — like agriculture — by forcing all employers to use the flawed E-Verify system when evaluating whether an employee is legal to work.

In a recent op-ed, the duo tries to sell E-Verify as a “successful tool for employers.”  With a fail rate of 50%, E-Verify is anything but successful.  We all want to crack down on unscrupulous employers who take advantage of workers, but that’s not what E-Verify does. Instead, E-Verify will give bad employers even more control over desperate workers who move off the books and into the cash economy, reducing tax revenue and expanding the exploitation of workers.

The consequences of mandatory E-Verify aren’t limited to immigrant workers.  The Smith/Gallegly E-Verify plan would cause almost 800,000 Americans to lose their jobs due to errors in the government databases; force an additional 4 million legal workers into an administrative quagmire; create an undue burden on small businesses; nearly wipe out the agricultural workforce; and result in loss of tax revenue, increasing the deficit.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) concluded that mandatory, nationwide E-Verify would cost us $17.3 billion over 10 years because it would increase the number of undocumented workers being paid outside the tax system. Just implementing the program, according to the CBO, would cost $23 billion over ten years.

Mandatory E-Verify would also have a devastating impact on industries that rely on immigrant labor, like agriculture.  By cracking down on immigrant farm workers, Smith and Gallegly’s vision would lead to the exportation of farms and jobs and the increased importation of food from foreign sources.  The loss of on-farm jobs would also have a domino effect: 3.2 million non-agriculture jobs depend on the agriculture industry.

All these problems, and the program only identifies undocumented workers 50% of the time. Despite all this, there is a real possibility that some version of E-Verify will advance, especially in the House of Representatives.

The Smith/Gallegly strategy is to ignore the faults and cost of the system, its impact on the economy, and its burden on U.S. workers—and insist that E-Verify will “free up” jobs and force undocumented immigrants to “deport themselves.” The reality is that most undocumented immigrants will remain here, even more in the shadows of the underground economy, subject to exploitation and reduced labor standards that impact everyone.

What’s frustrating is that there’s a better solution staring Smith and Gallegly right in the face. Comprehensive immigration reform, which would combine border and workplace enforcement with a program to require undocumented immigrants to register for legal status, would raise wages and labor standards for all workers, boost tax revenues, and gut the underground economy.  This is a fiscally responsible solution—and a practical alternative to the Smith-Gallegly mass deportation fantasy.  What’s more, a majority of Americans support it.

The Smith-Gallegly plan will only make a bad situation worse.  Throughout the summer, we will be pointing out that Smith and Gallegly are wrong on the politics and wrong on the facts.  We will also be pointing out their rank hypocrisy.  House Republicans benefit from immigrant labor every time they eat a Georgia peach, go to a restaurant, leave their children with the nanny, or build an addition onto their homes.  Undocumented immigrants are present in every state, in every sector of the economy.  It’s time that Republicans in Congress admit this simple fact, and support a plan that gives immigrants the respect they deserve and enacts a real solution for taxpayers and workers.

ACLU and NILC File Lawsuit Challenging Indiana’s State Anti-Immigrant Law

May 30th, 2011 No comments
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The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, the ACLU, the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) and the law firm of Lewis & Kappes, P.C. filed a class action lawsuit recently challenging an Indiana law inspired by Arizona’s infamous SB 1070. According to the legal director of the ACLU of Indiana, “Indiana has created a law that not only tramples on the constitutional rights of Hoosiers, but also improperly involves Indiana in areas that are clearly of federal, not state, concerns.”

Some state lawmakers oppose the extreme law, saying it will increase law enforcement costs and deter both employers and employees from coming to the state. Additionally, Indiana University also is concerned that the law will discourage enrollment and academic participation, since the institution hosts thousands of foreign national students, faculty members and visitors every school year.

Since immigration bills inspired by Arizona’s SB 1070 have been introduced across the country, Indiana is now the third state to pass the controversial legislation this year, becoming one of four states to enact rigorous state-based immigration laws, along with Arizona, Utah and Georgia.

Unfortunately, this provision, like the rest of the law, is misguided and without a doubt, have unintended social and economic consequences.

Kansas Legislator Virgil Peck Unapologetic About Comment Regarding Armed Hunters Patrolling the Mexican Border in Helicopters

March 15th, 2011 No comments
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Topeka — A legislator said Monday it might be a good idea to control illegal immigration the way the feral hog population has been controlled: with gunmen shooting from helicopters.

Rep. Virgil Peck, R-Tyro, said he was just joking, but that his comment did reflect frustration with the problem of illegal immigration. After one of the committee members talked about a program that uses hunters in helicopters to shoot wild swine, Peck suggested that may be a way to control illegal immigration.

Appropriations Chairman Marc Rhoades, R-Newton, said Peck’s comment was inappropriate. Asked about his comment, Peck was unapologetic. “I was just speaking like a southeast Kansas person,” he said.

He said most of his constituents are upset with illegal immigration and the state and federal government response. He said he didn’t expect any further controversy over his comment. “I think it’s over,” he said.

Last month, another state legislator, Rep. Connie O’Brien, R-Tonganoxie, apologized after referring to a college student as an illegal immigrant because of her “olive complexion.”

(One more reason I’m glad I don’t live in Kansas.)

House Republican O’Brien: “We could tell by looking at her that she was not originally from this country.”

February 16th, 2011 No comments
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House Republican Connie O’Brien rejected a claim Monday she made a racist comment during a committee meeting when pointing to people with “olive complexion” as immigrants potentially in the country illegally.

She spoke during the meeting of her son’s difficulty paying for classes in 2010 at Kansas City (Kan.) Community College and a feeling of despair at waiting in line at the college with a female student who appeared to them to have been born outside the United States.

“My son, who’s a Kansas resident, born here, raised here, didn’t qualify for any financial aid,” according to a recording of her statement to the committee. “Yet this girl was going to get financial aid.”

“My son was kinda upset about it because he works and pays for his own schooling and his books and everything and he didn’t think that was fair. We didn’t ask the girl what nationality she was, we didn’t think that was proper. But we could tell by looking at her that she was not originally from this country,” she says on the recording.

During the meeting, Rep. Sean Gatewood, D-Topeka, asked O’Brien to clarify her remark.

“Can you expand on how you could tell that they were illegal?” Gatewood asked.

“Well, she wasn’t black,” O’Brien said. “She wasn’t Asian. And she had the olive complexion.”

The Kansas Legislature approved a law in 2004 granting in-state tuition to qualified children of illegal immigrants attending state colleges and universities. Students relying on the tuition break primarily attend community colleges. All must have graduated from a Kansas high school and applied for citizenship.

Introduction to the New House Republican Majority’s Position on Immigration and U.S. Workers

January 25th, 2011 No comments
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After four years of Democratic control, Republicans are now in charge of the U.S. House of Representatives.  House Republican leaders have placed a familiar cast of characters in position to draft the chamber’s strategy on immigration:

* Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) is now the chair of the House Judiciary Committee, and he has declared that immigration will be a top priority for his Committee.  Smith was the chair of the House Immigration Subcommittee in 1996 when Congress passed a series of laws that ramped up enforcement against both legal and undocumented immigrants—bills that collectively made the broken immigration system worse, not better.  Despite following Smith’s enforcement-only strategy for nearly fifteen years, the number of undocumented immigrants in our country has continued to rise.

* Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-CA) is now the chair of the House Immigration Subcommittee, and he is preparing to launch a series of hearings on immigration enforcement at the beginning of the 112th Congress.  Gallegly also has a long track record on immigration, and has focused much of his efforts on attacking children.  For example, since the early 1990s Gallegly has sponsored legislation to deny U.S. citizenship to babies born in America based on who their parents are.  In 1996, he famously pushed an amendment to deny undocumented children access to an education—the federal version of California’s Proposition 187.

* Rep. Steve King (R-IA) is now vice-chair of the House Immigration Subcommittee.  He may have been passed over for the top spot because of his incendiary comments, such as his comparison of immigrants to livestock and suggestion that we install an electric fence at the border to keep them out.  Still, Smith and Gallegly share King’s policy positions on immigration, and he will continue to play a key role in crafting their approach.

In one of his first acts of the year, Rep. Smith (R-TX) changed the name of the Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security and International Law to the Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement.  The name change reflects the new priorities of the Committee—an enforcement-only approach with the goal of driving 11 million undocumented immigrants and their family members out of the country.

However, since a mass deportation policy is not popular with Latino voters, House Republicans are attempting to recast their approach in more palatable terms.  Rather than change course and embrace comprehensive immigration reform—the only proposal that would truly level the playing field, turn workers into taxpayers, and restore the rule of law—they are simply recasting their anti-immigration agenda using pro-worker terms.

In this report, America’s Voice Education Fund (AVEF) peels back the pro-worker mask that Smith, Gallegly, and King are attempting to put on, and shows that they are motivated not by concern for workers but their desire to remove 11 million immigrants and their family members from the country.  AVEF reviews their voting records on worker issues, and find that they have a long history of opposing policies to help American workers succeed, such as an increase to the minimum wage.

In reality, Smith, Gallegly, and King are simply carrying out the policies embraced by a shadowy coalition of anti-immigrant organizations—many of whom have been tied to white supremacists or labeled hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center.  This report exposes that connection and makes it clear that groups like the “Coalition for the Future American Worker” are simply using American unemployment as the latest excuse to rail against immigrants.  In the past, these same organizations have blamed immigrants for such diverse issues such as global warming, the housing crisis, a broken health care system, traffic congestion, and more.

Finally, AVEF examines why a mass deportation agenda is dangerous politics for the Republican Party.  After pushing anti-immigrant policies for years and campaigning on the issue in the 2006, 2008, and 2010 elections, Republicans have boxed themselves in with Latino voters.  Following the strategy of Smith, Gallegly, and King, they are the party of Proposition 187, the Sensenbrenner bill, the Arizona “papers, please” immigration law and copycat proposals in other states, the defeat of comprehensive immigration reform, and the defeat of the DREAM Act.  Latino voters feel disrespected and attacked by the GOP, and are increasingly voting Democratic because of it.

As the 2010 Census results drive home, unless the GOP finds a way to reverse course on immigration and win at least 40% of the Latino vote, it will never see the inside of the White House again, and will become a minority party.  With Smith, Gallegly, and King at the helm in the House, the GOP is poised to become a sinking ship with Latino voters unless real leaders in the Party step up.

(As published by America’s Voice)

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.

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