Archive for the ‘Immigration’ Category

Senate immigration reform tries to be everything to everybody

The package of immigration reforms unveiled today by four GOP senators and four Democratic ones has been pitched as “comprehensive.” And it certainly is comprehensive — so all-encompassing, in fact, it seems to include everything both side wants, even the things that would seem to be mutually exclusive.

For example, the package’s first “pillar” stipulates that a revised “path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants already here” is “contingent upon securing the border and combating visa overstays.” For the left, the the key bit is the “path to citizenship.” For the right, it’s “securing the border.” (I’m speaking in broad terms for both groups, obviously.) Those two goals aren’t necessarily in conflict; it depends on how you try to accomplish them.

That’s where the contradictory details come into play. The Republican senators point to the package’s “commission comprised of governors, attorneys general and community leaders living along the Southwest border” and suggest this …

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11th Circuit upholds most of Georgia’s illegal-immigration law (Updated)

UPDATE at 5:50 p.m.: Regarding the section of the law that makes it illegal to knowingly transport or harbor illegal immigrants, the court found not only that Georgia’s law infringes on the federal prerogative to make immigration law. The court further ruled that Georgia could not make it illegal to induce an illegal immigrant to enter the state once already present in the U.S. Those provisions remain blocked from taking effect by a court injunction.

To be clear, and to correct my inapt phrasing in the original post, the court did not say the other sections of the law are constitutional. A lower court had enjoined two sections from taking effect while the question of constitutionality is argued. The section of the law dealing with checking detainees’ immigration status is still being challenged, although the Supreme Court’s ruling about a similar law in Arizona suggests that section is likely to remain in place until and unless there are specific challenges to the way it is …

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In Arizona case, court doesn’t betray its alleged ideological gap

Oh, that zany, right-wing Supreme Court.

Liberals have been working themselves into a frenzy about the possibility that the court’s four conservative justices and the less-predictable Anthony Kennedy will overturn the 2010 federal health-care reform, a.k.a. Obamacare. Such a ruling figures into two of the “5 Signs of a Radical Change in U.S. Politics,” according to The Atlantic’s James Fallows. “Court packing,” the idea of adding justices to the court which was last threatened by Franklin Roosevelt when the court wouldn’t accept as constitutional some of his New Deal programs, is already being suggested on the opinion pages of the Washington Post.

Other commentators have warned — presumably for the benefit of any justices who might peruse their columns or blogs — that the court risks discrediting itself if it rules in a way that just happens to go against President Barack Obama. Unexplained is exactly how and why this discrediting will occur, given that majorities of the …

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Obama’s unilateral change of immigration law

If you want an example of why conservatives don’t believe President Obama’s overtures about working with them, and why he actually is making partisanship worse in this country while he claims to want the opposite, look no further than his administration’s new policy toward “low priority” illegal immigrants.

The policy, first reported by the Washington Times and subsequently confirmed in a publicly released memo from Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, lays out the criteria for prosecutors to exercise discretion about whether to deport an illegal immigrant. The person in question must:

  • have entered the country before turning 16;
  • have been in the country for at least five years and still be here;
  • be in school (the memo doesn’t specify k-12 or college), or be a high school graduate, or have a GED, or have been honorably discharged from the armed services;
  • have not been convicted of “a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses” or …

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Have Mexicans quit coming to the U.S. illegally?

Could a combination of tougher immigration laws, our stagnant economy and improving prospects at home mean illegal immigration to the U.S. from Mexico is at a standstill? That’s what the Christian Science Monitor reports in a fascinating article about Mexicans who came to the U.S. illegally and have now returned home.

The article details some anecdotal examples — including a number of references to Georgia — and some interesting descriptions of the challenges for these returnees. But what really caught my eye was that there are data to back up those personal stories:

At the macroeconomic level, Douglas Massey, founder of the Mexican Migration Project at Princeton University, has documented what he calls “net zero” migration. The population of undocumented immigrants in the US fell from 12 million to approximately 11 million during the height of the financial crisis (2008-09), he says. And since then, Mexicans without documents aren’t migrating at rates to replace the loss, …

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Poll Position: How much time is enough for an illegal immigrant to qualify for legalization?

During a debate last month, Newt Gingrich unexpectedly and voluntarily went out on a limb by endorsing a form of legalization for illegal immigrants who have been here a long time, have roots in the community and have committed no other crimes. By way of explaining himself, Gingrich said he didn’t think the American people wanted to deport that group of people.

What amount of time should be the cutoff point for legalizing illegal immigrants?

  • A day is too long — deport ‘em all (154 Votes)
  • 10 or more years (79 Votes)
  • Time shouldn’t be a primary factor (72 Votes)
  • 5 or more years (44 Votes)
  • 20 or more years (29 Votes)
  • A day is long enough — let ‘em all stay (18 Votes)

Total Voters: 396

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A new opinion poll suggests he may be right.

The latest United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll finds that just a quarter of all respondents wanted to deport all illegal immigrants without considering any mitigating factors. While the …

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Newt Gingrich’s immigration gambit (Updated with video)

One of the headlines from last night’s GOP presidential debate, which focused on foreign policy, actually has more to do with domestic policy: Whether Newt Gingrich, the latest anti-Romney frontrunner, kinda-sorta endorsed amnesty for illegal immigrants who have been in our country for a long time.

I had to go back and listen to a recording of the debate because, watching it live, I thought he might have erred by not phrasing his policy in the conventional conservative manner of 1) secure the border to stanch the flow of illegal immigrants, then 2) decide what to do with the ones already here. In fact, here’s what he said (there’s a partial transcript below the video):

I think you’ve got to deal with this as a comprehensive approach that starts with controlling the border … I believe ultimately, you have to find some system — once you’ve put every piece in place, which includes a guest-worker program, you need something like a World War Two selective service board that …

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Will wonders never cease: Congress mulls immigration fixes

Those of us who have said all along that Congress ultimately has to deal with the issue of illegal immigration should be heartened by this news. From the Wall Street Journal (subscription required):

Rep. Lamar Smith (R., Texas), an immigration hardliner who now heads the House Judiciary Committee, plans to introduce a bill Wednesday that would revise an existing guest-worker program and allow up to half a million foreign farm workers a year to work in the U.S.

Rep. Dan Lungren (R., Calif.), whose district includes almond, rice and grape growers, also is seeking the creation of a new visa category for agricultural workers. He said it would allow “hundreds of thousands” of foreign farm laborers to work in the U.S. for 10 months at a time, the same time frame allotted by Mr. Smith’s proposal.

Stepped-up lobbying by farm groups on the issue amounts to a frank admission about their dependence on a foreign-born work force—whether legal or not. Their argument is that most American …

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Obama: Heads Congress does what I want, tails I do it anyway

Over at Human Events, Jim Hoft had the same reaction I did to the Obama administration’s announcement Friday that it will only selectively enforce our immigration laws.

That is, Hoft remembered all the way back to…when was it? Oh yes: a whole 25 days earlier, when President Obama said this to La Raza activists:

THE PRESIDENT: Now, I swore an oath to uphold the laws on the books, but that doesn’t mean I don’t know very well the real pain and heartbreak that deportations cause. I share your concerns and I understand them. And I promise you, we are responding to your concerns and working every day to make sure we are enforcing flawed laws in the most humane and best possible way. Now, I know some people want me to bypass Congress and change the laws on my own. (Applause.) And believe me, right now dealing with Congress –

AUDIENCE: Yes, you can! Yes, you can! Yes, you can! Yes, you can! Yes, you can!

THE PRESIDENT: Believe me — believe me, the idea of doing things on my own is …

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Who gains after a judge blocks Georgia’s immigration law? (Updated)

UPDATE at 3:35 p.m. (incorporates and adds to previous updates) –The bulk of Georgia’s illegal-immigration law, known as HB 87, remains intact even though a federal judge Monday blocked two of the more controversial pieces of it from taking effect Friday as scheduled.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Thrash said two provisions of the law — a requirement that law enforcement officers check the immigration status of people who can’t provide IDs, and punishments for anyone who harbors or transports anyone else illegally present in the country — unlawfully preempt federal statutes. He issued an injunction to prevent them from taking effect July 1.

But the rest of the law remains will proceed, including phased-in requirements for businesses and local/state governments and agencies to check the immigration status of new hires, penalties of up to 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for people who use fake identification documents to get a job in Georgia, and requirements that anyone …

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