Archive for the ‘immigration’ Category

Justice on case against Arizona: ‘You can see it’s not selling very well’

Good news for fans of Georgia’s HB 87, from the Associated Press:

WASHINGTON — Supreme Court justices strongly suggested Wednesday that they are ready to allow Arizona to enforce part of a controversial state law requiring police officers to check the immigration status of people they think are in the country illegally.

Liberal and conservative justices reacted skeptically to the Obama administration’s argument that the state exceeded its authority when it made the records check, and another provision allowing suspected illegal immigrants to be arrested without a warrant, part of Arizona law aimed at driving illegal immigrants elsewhere.

“You can see it’s not selling very well,” Justice Sonia Sotomayor told Obama administration Solicitor General Donald Verrilli.

It was unclear what the court would do with other aspects of the law that have been put on hold by lower federal courts. The other blocked provisions make it a state crime for immigrants not to have immigration …

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Importing illegal immigrants – into private Georgia prisons

Interesting piece in The Nation on the attempt in Ocilla, Ga., to balance off the loss of illegal immigrant farm labor by importing illegal immigrants – into a private detention facility. From the lede:

ICE’s reliance on facilities like the Irwin County Detention Center has put small rural towns at the center of one of today’s most contentious policy arguments—how to enforce immigration law. A yearlong investigation … shows how much politics has come to rule detention policy.

Even as Georgia and Alabama passed harsh new immigration laws last year designed to keep out undocumented immigrants, documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act reveal that politicians from both states were lobbying hard to bring immigrant detainees in.

ICE succumbed to the pressure, sending hundreds of detainees to the financially unstable facility in Georgia that promised to detain immigrants cheaply. That promise came at the expense of the health, welfare and rights to due process of …

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Georgia’s illegal immigration count: 440,000 in 2011

Georgia’s illegal immigration population as of January 2011 stood at 440,000 souls, according to a just-issued U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Last year, the DHS put Georgia’s “unauthorized immigrant population” — the agency’s term — at 460,000. Which would mean a decrease of 20,000, or 4 percent. Except that the agency now says the 2010 figure was off, and is not worthy of use. Presumably, that’s why the chart below doesn’t include anything from last year.

The nation as a whole has 11.5 million “unauthorized” immigrants, according to the annual estimate. That’s slightly lower than the 11.6 million judged to be in the country the previous year.

This latest report stays away from causation. And because the numbers are drawn from the U.S. census count, they don’t measure any impact from HB 87, the bill passed last spring by the Legislature giving law enforcement authorities greater responsibility for checking stopped individuals for proof of citizenship.

Here’s the …

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A brief GOP flirtation with a Georgia version of the Dream Act

A few minutes ago, the state Senate approved, on a 34-19 vote, a measure to bar illegal immigrants from Georgia’s 60 public colleges.

The topic, again, was fraught with emotion. But one of the more nuanced voices belonged to the leader of Senate Republicans in the chamber, President pro tem Tommie Williams, R-Lyons.

Williams represents south Georgia farm country, and he began by talking about the trouble blueberry, onion and corn farmers have had bringing in their crops since passage of last year’s Republican-backed bill to crack down on illegal immigration in Georgia.

“I have farmers that can’t get labor,” Williams said, predicting that the U.S. will soon begin importing food now raised in Georgia. “If you think dependence on oil is bad, wait ‘til we’re dependent on food.”

But Williams was just getting wound up. The Senate leader then turned to the matter of children in Georgia who would be barred from college – or anything other than an underground future under SB 458. Said …

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Rename the Gulf of Mexico as the ‘Gulf of America’?

A not-so-serious attempt to force Mississippi schools to purchase new geography books. You can read the legislation here, but here’s the report from the Associated Press:

JACKSON, Miss. — All the people outraged about the Mississippi bill to rename the Gulf of Mexico as the “Gulf of America” have missed its satirical intent, the sponsor said Thursday.

State Rep. Steve Holland, a populist Democrat known for over-the-top gestures, said he was tickled that his provocation had rocketed across the Internet.

Holland says the measure is meant to mock other bills that would crack down on illegal immigration. At least six such bills have already been assigned for committee consideration in the state’s current legislative session, and more could be on the way.

“It seems the people of Mississippi have elected a majority group to govern that wants to slam all minorities and especially Hispanics,” Holland said, adding that he thought such legislation is un-Christian.

Newly elected Gov. …

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Your morning jolt: Mitt Romney to highlight Newt Gingrich defector in Ga.

Updated at 9:07 a.m.: This notice just arrived from

Georgia State Rep. David Casas will announce later this morning that he’s jumping ship and joining with Mitt Romney. At 1:15 p.m., the Romney campaign will convene a conference call for Casas to attack Newt Gingrich. “Over the last few weeks, I have had a serious change of heart,” he explains in a forthcoming statement.

“While I initially supported Speaker Gingrich, his continued attacks upon the free enterprise system that has made our country great are particularly something I will not stand for.” Casas’ parents were political refugees from Cuba, and he was a high school teacher before winning election to the legislature in 2002.

Orginal: One day before Mitt Romney was due in Atlanta for a Buckhead fundraiser, his GOP presidential campaign dropped a first hint that it intends to challenge Newt Gingrich in the former U.S. House speaker’s “home” state.

The Romney issued a press release that listed a handful of …

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Barack Obama’s tarmac confrontation with Arizona’s governor

President Barack Obama’s tarmac confrontation with Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer,on hand to welcome him to her state, was one of those overlooked bits of news on Wednesday. From the Associated Press:

The two leaders could be seen engaged in an intense conversation at the base of Air Force One’s steps. Both could be seen smiling, but speaking at the same time.

Asked moments later what the conversation was about, Brewer, a Republican, said, “He was a little disturbed about my book.”

Brewer recently published a book, “Scorpions for Breakfast,” something of a memoir of her years growing up, and defends her signing of Arizona’s controversial law cracking down on illegal immigrants, which Obama opposes.

Obama was objecting to Brewer’s description of a meeting he and Brewer had at the White House, where she described Obama as lecturing her. In an interview in November Brewer described two tense meetings. The first took place before his commencement address at Arizona State University. “He …

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The lessons of Arizona, Mississippi for Georgia Republicans

On Tuesday, state lawmakers will begin submitting bills for their colleagues’ consideration in January, when the Legislature returns to Atlanta.

We are entering an election year, which means more than a few of the measures will be intended to stir the blood and drive GOP voters to the polls in November.

But stir the blood too much and the patient revolts. Votes in Arizona and Mississippi last week may have set boundaries for Republicans in Georgia when it comes to two hot topics: Abortion and illegal immigration.

Let’s address the more subtle of the pair first: Last Tuesday, voters ousted Republican Russell Pearce, president of the Arizona state senate and architect of that state’s illegal immigration law — which became a model for Georgia’s HB 87, passed earlier this year.

Opponents of state attempts to enforce federal immigration laws called Pearce’s defeat a victory. But Pearce was replaced by another Republican who also supports Arizona’s approach. Reports from the …

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Your morning jolt: With Kennesaw mayor’s re-election, a canary chirps

A canary in a coal mine chirped Tuesday night when Mark Mathews, the mayor of Kennesaw, cruised to an easy re-election bid over challenger Leonard Church.

Mathews won more than 73 percent of the vote.

Republicans across metro Atlanta were watching the race, given that the Kennesaw mayor was one of two of Cobb County’s representatives on the round table committee that drew up the list of projects for the 2012 sales tax for transportation.

Cobb Commission Chairman Tim Lee is the other member. He faces a GOP primary challenge in July – concurrent with the T-SPLOST vote – from former commission chairman Bill Byrne. From this morning’s Marietta Daily Journal:

“We had a representative from (DeKalb County CEO) Burrell Ellis’s cabinet here tonight, and he said that I was the first canary in the cave, and so I never really sat back and thought about it, but I guess to some degree that was the case,” Mathews said.

“Not that it’s an overwhelming endorsement of the Transportation Act or …

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Your morning jolt: Who benefits if Herman Cain folds? Newt Gingrich

Given that one of the women involved feels the need to speak up, the scuffle over GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain and a pair of sexual harassment complaints leveled against him in the late 1990s is guaranteed to continue through the weekend.

On Saturday, Cain and friendly rival Newt Gingrich – both with strong Georgia connections – will appear side-by-side at a Texas event billed as a revival of the famed pre-Civil War debates between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas.

Which makes these paragraphs from Public Policy Polling of North Carolina more than slightly awkward:

If Cain’s candidacy does implode in the coming weeks our numbers suggest the candidate poised to benefit the most is Newt Gingrich. In North Carolina he’s the second choice of 29% of Cain voters, compared t0 16% for Romney, 15% for Perry, and 10% for Bachmann. In Maine he’s the second choice of 26% of Cain voters to 17% for Romney and 15% for Perry.

It’s no surprise that Gingrich would be the …

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