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Posts Tagged ‘state immigration legislation’

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.

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.

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.

State Legislatures Continue to Aggressively Pursue State Laws Regarding Immigration

May 25th, 2011 No comments
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State legislatures continue to involve themselves with immigration issues at an unprecedented rate. In the first quarter of 2011, state legislators in the fifty states and Puerto Rico introduced 1,538 bills and resolutions relating to immigrants and refugees. This number surpasses the first quarter of 2010, when 1,180 bills were introduced.

As in past years, employment, identification/driver’s licenses and law enforcement remain top areas of interest for immigrant-related bill introductions. With passage of federal health care reform, however, health also emerged as a top contender. This quarter, the number of health-related bills was more than double those introduced during the same quarter last year. Following last year’s example of Arizona’s SB 1070, omnibus bill introductions also increased in 2011.

As of March 31, 2011, 26 states enacted 63 laws and adopted 78 resolutions, totaling 141 measures. As of March 31, one additional bill was vetoed in New Jersey. Among enacted laws, the top areas of interest were health, identification/driver’s licenses, law enforcement and resolutions. During the first quarter of 2010, 34 states had enacted 71 laws and adopted 87 resolutions, for a total of 156. An additional 37 bills were awaiting governors’ signatures.

Ohio is One of 22 States Considering State Immigration Laws Against Illegal Immigration

August 22nd, 2010 No comments
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Ohio is one of 22 states that has immigration reform bills pending. Americans for Legal Immigration PAC, an organization focused on fighting against amnesty and illegal immigration, announced that 22 states now have lawmakers pushing versions of Arizona’s illegal immigration bill SB 1070. Activists from Americans for Legal Immigration PAC, or ALIPAC, supported passage of the new Arizona law and have helped pass other immigration enforcement measures in many states.

According to William Gheen, president of ALIPAC, activists have been working hard contacting state lawmakers in every state in the US asking them to stand up with Arizona. Additionally, Gheen stated that there are 22 states now following Arizona’s lead.

Aside from Ohio, the other states considering versions of the bill include: Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah.

Dave Isaacs, deputy director of communications for the Ohio House of Representatives, said there are three bills currently in committee that deal with immigration reform. One of the bills requires public and private employers to register with a federal electronic system to verify the identities and legal working status of new employees.

The other two bills have gone nowhere in the House since clearing the Senate in March. Both would give local law enforcement agencies authority to enforce violations of federal immigration law, which is similar to the Arizona immigration law SB 1070.

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.

Oklahoma Lawmakers Intend to End Birthright Citizenship and 14th Amendment

June 27th, 2010 No comments
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The 14th amendment, which was adopted after the Civil War, defines who is a citizen of the U.S. The law states that any person born or naturalized in the U.S. is a citizen and that no state shall make or enforce any law denying that right.

However, in Oklahoma, a group of lawmakers, led by Rep. Randy Terrill, R-Moore, have stated that they are thinking of filing a bill in the next session that is similar to the controversial Arizona immigration law and goes a step further:  preventing children from becoming citizens at birth if both parents are illegal immigrants.

The state of Arizona, which already has the law that makes it a crime to be in that state illegally and requires law enforcement officers to check documents of people they reasonably suspect to be there illegally, already stated plans to introduce a law denying citizenship to children of illegal immigrants. Actually, a challenge to birthright citizenship has been proposed in Congress as recently as 2009.

The American Immigration Lawyers Association, Immigration Policy Center and legal scholars cite judicial rulings and precedent, executive branch interpretations, congressional law and Supreme Court rulings in arguing to uphold birthright citizenship. They all say altering the amendment or its interpretation would create a subclass of citizens and lead to discrimination.

But the reform activists argue that the amendment was to grant citizenship to former slaves, not illegal immigrants.

According to Carol Helm, the founder of the Tulsa group Immigration Reform for Oklahoma Now, who supports the challenge, added: that since birth certificates are state-issued papers, it should also be controlled by the state; and that the myth of a U.S. born baby can serve as an anchor to allow illegal immigrants to remain in the country is lingering and encouraging people to do so.

If Oklahoma were to pass legislation restricting citizenship, it likely would be challenged in the federal courts.

Immigration law today regarding U.S.-born child does not change the immigration status of a parent, and a child cannot legally petition for a parent until age 21.

Additionally, an illegal immigrant must return to their home country pending a petition, which may trigger a 10-year ban from re-entering the country. The process involves eligibility based on congressional quotas and sponsor relationships.

US Born Children of Illegal Immigrants Targeted for Change in Law

July 13th, 2009 No comments
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Anti-immigrant activists are pushing for a California ballot initiative to end public benefits for illegal immigrants, cut off welfare payments for their children and impose new rules for birth certificates.

Although the 14th Amendment clearly states that all persons born in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are United States Citizens, backers of the ballot measure argue that the illegal immigrant parents are not “subject to the jurisdiction thereof.”

I will have to read more about the anti-immigrant groups’ legal arguments, but it would seem that the ballot measure is unconstitutional. First, the 14th Amendment refers to persons born in the United States; it says nothing about whether the parents must be subject to the jurisdiction of the U.S. Second, illegal immigrants are subject to the jurisdiction of the United States despite their illegal immigration status. They can be sued. They can be tried and convicted in criminal courts. The reference to jurisdiction in the 14th Amendment clearly applies to children of foreign diplomats, who are immune from U.S. jurisdiction. These children are considered citizens of their parents’ home countries despite being born in the United States.

Even if this measure passes, I suspect it will be struck down by the federal courts.

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