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Posts Tagged ‘Arizona’

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.

Private Prisons Generat Huge Profits on the Detention of Immigrants

August 2nd, 2012 No comments
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The country’s largest privately prisons are generating huge profits as the U.S. detains more undocumented immigrants than ever, and an Associated Press review shows the businesses are spending tens of millions on lobbying and political campaigns. The Arizona law that was recently struck down by the US Supreme Court was drafted by lobbyists for the private prison industry.

The cost to American taxpayers is on track to top $2 billion for this year, and the companies are expecting their biggest cut of that yet in the next few years thanks to government plans for new facilities to house the 400,000 immigrants detained annually.

After a decade of expansion, the sprawling, private system runs detention centers everywhere from a Denver suburb to an industrial area flanking Newark’s airport, and is largely controlled by just three companies.

The growth is far from over, despite the sheer drop in illegal immigration in recent years.

In 2011, nearly half the beds in the nation’s civil detention system were in private facilities with little federal oversight, up from just 10 percent a decade ago.

The companies also have raked in cash from subsidiaries that provide health care and transportation. And they are holding more immigrants convicted of federal crimes in their privately-run prisons.

The financial boom, which has helped save some of these companies from the brink of bankruptcy, has occurred even though federal officials acknowledge privatization isn’t necessarily cheaper.

Read more: http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/news/2012/08/02/immigrants-are-big-business-for-private-prisons/#ixzz22Pd6C7ki

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.

Latinos Were Crucial in Recall Vote of Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce

November 18th, 2011 No comments
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Latinos were a key factor in the defeat of Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce, author of the state’s controversial immigration law, according to a poll taken of voters.

Latinos voters supported Pearce’s challenger, fellow Republican Jerry Lewis, a political newcomer, by a three-to-one margin, according to Project New West, which conducted the poll.

They account for 13 percent of the recall electorate. Lewis won by 53.4 percent to 45.3 percent, a difference of around 1,800 votes.

“I think we can make a pretty good assumption that the Hispanic vote really made a huge difference in this election,” Lewis, a charter school executive, said in an interview with Fox News Latino. “I did a lot of door-knocking in Hispanic neighborhoods. I went on Hispanic shows.”

If Latinos exercise their right to vote, the Latino vote has the power to determine elections on a local, statewide, and national level. Latinos (and all voters) need to thoroughly study the issues the care about and fully understand each candidates’ position before deciding whom to vote for.

Federal Judge Upholds Key Provisions of Alabama Anti-Illegal Immigration Legislation

September 29th, 2011 No comments
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On Wednesday, a federal judge refused to block key parts of a closely watched Alabama immigration law considered by many the strictest state effort to clamp down on illegal immigration, including a measure that requires immigration checks of public school students.

U.S. District Judge Sharon Blackburn authored the 115-page opinion finding some parts of the law conflict with federal statutes, but others don’t. Left standing at least temporarily are several key elements that help make the Alabama law stricter than similar laws passed in Arizona, Utah, Indiana and Georgia. Other federal judges already have blocked all or parts of those.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley said most of the law was still intact and the state will enforce it. He planned to work with the state attorney general’s office to appeal those parts that the judge blocked. The judge’s previous order blocking the entire law expires Thursday.

Link to Associated Press Article.

US Citizen Children Forced to Leave the US with Parents

July 27th, 2011 No comments
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Jennifer was born in Chattanooga, but was yanked out of the only life she knew when her mother took her to Guatemala last year. Work in Chattanooga was scarce because of the recession, her mother Inocenta Garcia said, even more so because she was in the country illegally.

Jennifer is one of untold numbers of children in the crosshairs of a vitriolic immigration debate: children born and raised in America — and thereby U.S. citizens by law — but forced to move to other countries when their parents are deported or pressured to leave.

Opponents of illegal immigration say that’s fair; the parents knew the risks when they crossed the border without permission in the first place. In their view, Jennifer is exactly where she belongs.

The discourse is so heated and the issue so divisive that some Americans patrol the border with Mexico on their own time, with their own weapons.

And states like Georgia, Alabama and Arizona have passed some of the toughest laws in the country to deter illegal immigration.

Republican Congressman Flake of Arizona Introduces Border Security Enforcement Act of 2011

June 22nd, 2011 No comments
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Arizona Congressman Flake introduced the Border Security Enforcement Act of 2011 a couple of months ago.

The House Bill Directs the Secretary of Defense (DOD) to deploy at least 6,000 National Guard personnel to perform operations in the Southwest Border region (Region) (the area in the United States that is within 150 miles of the U.S.-Mexico international border) to assist U.S. Customs and Border Protection in securing such border.

Directs the Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) to increase, by September 30, 2016, the number of Border Patrol agents stationed in the Region by 5,000.

Directs the Attorney General, the Secretary, and the Director of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts to: (1) implement Operation Streamline in the Region; and (2) reimburse state, local, and tribal law enforcement for related detention costs.

Authorizes the chief judge of each federal judicial district in the Region to appoint additional full-time magistrate judges who shall have the authority to hear all cases and controversies in the district in which the respective judges are appointed.

Directs the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to enhance border enforcement preparedness and operational readiness through Operation Stonegarden.

Directs the Secretary to: (1) construct, as needed, additional Border Patrol stations in the Region to provide operational support in rural, high-trafficked areas; (2) upgrade existing Border Patrol forward operating bases and establish new bases as needed; (3) complete the construction of a permanent checkpoint near Tubac, Arizona, and deploy additional temporary roving checkpoints in the Region.

Amends the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 to direct the Secretary to: (1) complete the required 700 mile southwest border fencing by December 31, 2011; and (2) construct double- and triple-layer fencing at appropriate locations in the Region.

Authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture (USDA) and the Secretary of the Interior to provide U.S. Customs and Border Protection personnel with access to federal lands under their respective jurisdictions (within 150 miles of the Region) for security activities.

Directs the Secretary to establish a two-year grant program to improve emergency communications for persons who live or work in the Region and who are at greater risk from border violence.

Provides for: (1) specified equipment and technology enhancements; and (2) reimbursement of state, county, tribal, and municipal costs associated with the prosecution and pre-trial detention of federally initiated criminal cases declined by local U.S. Attorneys’ offices.

Amends the Tariff Act of 1930 to include ultralight vehicles within the definition of “aircraft” for purposes of aviation smuggling provisions.

Provides for DOD-DHS cooperation in identifying DOD equipment and technology that could be used by U.S. Customs and Border Protection to improve security along the U.S.-Mexico border by: (1) detecting border tunnels and ultralight aircraft, and (2) enhancing wide aerial surveillance.

Find out the latest developments of the bill here.

Supreme Court Upholds Arizona’s Immigration Law Sanctioning Employers that Hire Undocumented Aliens

June 5th, 2011 1 comment
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Arizona’s law that penalizes businesses for hiring workers who are in the US illegally was upheld by The Supreme Court rejecting arguments that states have no role in immigration matters.

Recently, the court said that federal immigration law gives states the authority to impose sanctions on employers who hire unauthorized workers.

The federal law makes the federal government the exclusive enforcer of immigration violations exempting state licensing provisions. However, Arizona defines licensing to include virtually all business permits, from incorporation documents to partnership agreements, and under state law, if an employer knowingly hires an illegal immigrant worker, the business can be fined for the first offense, and a second offense can mean you lose the right to do business in the state.

Business interests and civil liberties groups challenged the law, backed by the Obama administration.

The measure was signed into law in 2007 by Democrat Janet Napolitano, then the governor of Arizona and now the administration’s homeland security secretary. Lower courts, including the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, previously upheld the law.

 

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.

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