Day Three of Senate Mark-Up Will Address Immigration Court Reforms, Detention, and E-Verify
Released on Wed, May 15, 2013
Washington D.C. - Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee continues mark-up of S. 744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act. The Committee will complete work on Title Four and then begin to take up amendments related to Title Three, which addresses interior enforcement programs like E-Verify, as well as immigration court reforms and detention practices. We are encouraged to see the Senate take on the structure and quality of justice accorded immigrants who are caught in the enforcement net. The immigration removal system—from arrest to hearing to deportation and beyond—does not reflect American values of due process and fundamental fairness.
The failure to provide a fair process to those facing expulsion from the United States is all the more disturbing given the increasing criminalization of the immigration enforcement system. Over the last two decades, Congress has dramatically expanded the number and types of offenses that may render an individual deportable, subject to mandatory detention for long periods of time and without any opportunity for a judge to weigh the equities of a particular case. Consequently, even relatively minor offenses can result in a person being detained in immigration custody and deported, often with no hope of ever returning to the United States. Read more...
According to Roberto Gonzales of the Immigration Policy Center, the 10 states that allow undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition at public institutions show no evidence of U. S. citizen-student displacement or systemic financial drain. Interestingly, the states with the greatest number of undocumented immigrants are the most likely to allow the undocumented to pay in-state tuition because of the societal benefit of decreased crime and increased future revenue. This is true on both sides of the political aisle. Both Texas and New York allow these individuals to pay in-state tuition rates.
This month, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) came out with an estimate of the costs of the "Secure America Through Verification and Enforcement Act" ("SAVE Act," HR 4088) that showed that implementing "SAVE" would cost the government billions of dollars in spending and cause the government to lose billions of dollars in tax revenue. This week we highlight two new documents that look at the costs of SAVE and impact of E-Verify.
Targeting birthright citizenship appears to be the latest pet project of anti-illegal immigrant lawmakers across the country, said Michele Waslin, a policy analyst for the Washington, D.C.-based Immigration Policy Center.
"It's kind of an idea that's always been around with the extreme anti-immigrant folks," Waslin said. "This year it seems to be more popular as more people try to be tough on illegal immigration."
Waslin said Oklahoma risks expensive court costs trying to defend such laws and being alienated by businesses and industry who view such measures as extreme.
"Arizona has lost millions of dollars from people who have boycotted tourism there and withdrew conferences," she said. "If police are going to be arresting people for their immigration violations, that means an increase costs to detain and prosecute these people."
A grant of voluntary departure means that a person is permitted to depart the United States voluntarily, and typically at his own expense, in lieu of being deported. The LAC has been involved in litigation and advocacy involving the interplay between voluntary departure and the right to file a motion to reopen, and has issued several practice advisories addressing various aspects of voluntary departure.
A person who is granted voluntary departure but does not depart on time may be subject to a monetary fine of up to $5,000 and is barred, for ten years, from obtaining cancellation of removal, adjustment of status, change of status, registry, and voluntary departure. The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) long held that the voluntary departure period continues to run during the pendency of a motion to reopen. Matter of Shaar, 21 I&N Dec. 541 (BIA 1996). Thus, because the voluntary departure period often expired before an immigration judge or the BIA adjudicated the motion, often the person seeking reopening became ineligible for the very relief he or she was seeking in the motion.Read more...
Mandatory E-Verify opponents do not propose eliminating an employee verification program, but say businesses need one that works well for employers — especially small companies — and workers.
Analysts and business organizations have argued that E-Verify alone would hurt Florida and the U.S. economy, but those same organizations say that a program that allows employers to verify a workers immigration status must be part of federal immigration reform.
The Immigration Policy Center compares the “Legal Workforce Act of 2011″ of Rep. Lamar Smith’s R-Texas, which would make the E-Verify system mandatory for all employers within three years, and Sen. Robert Menendez’s “Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2011,” which also includes mandatory E-Verify. The bill filed by Menendez includes a program to require immigrants who were undocumented as of June 1 to register with the government, learn English and pay fines and taxes on their way to becoming Americans.
The Policy Center explains that:
Like all comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) bills since 2005, the Menendez bill allows for a mandatory E-Verify system only in context to other elements of comprehensive immigration reform, like a generous legalization program, reforms to family- and employment-based systems, border and interior enforcement and integration programs. Under Menendez’s bill, current unauthorized workers would have a chance to legalize their status, and future workers could come through newly created legal channels.
The Policy Center adds that, although some groups will continue to oppose mandatory E-Verify even as part of comprehensive immigration reform, “others have realized that if E-Verify isn’t going anyway, it had better work well and provide strong protections for workers.”Read more...
The American Immigration Law Foundation's Curriculum Center held five successful teachers' symposia in 2006. Teachers attended free day long professional development workshops in Chicago, Miami, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.The symposia focused on current immigration policies, presenting immigration in the classroom, sharing stories through oral history, learning with literature and media and using artifacts, primary sources and dramatic arts to teach immigration.
This year, we’re kicking off Hispanic Heritage Month with the disheartening news that Latinos, for the first time in American history, comprise the majority of inmates in federal prison. One reason for this, according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University, is the unprecedented amount of undocumented immigrants being arrested and charged rather than deported. The trend is a tactic on the part of the Obama administration, (and the Bush administration before them), says Walter Ewing, senior researcher at the Immigration Policy Center, to butter up conservative litigators for immigration reform.
“It’s a losing strategy because it’s never going to be enough for them,” Ewing told political watchdog site Colorlines, referring to members of Congress who demand “a secure border” before they can consider immigration reform.
Meanwhile, those sneaking into the United States to willingly perform labor for minuscule wages are finding themselves involved in a far more diabolic system than they bargained for. Namely, privatized prisons motivated by profit.
Corrections Corp. of America, (it sounds like something out of a Monty Python skit, but it’s sadly very real), runs more than 60 prisons and immigrant-detention centers across the country. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan organization that tracks the effect of money on U.S. politics, CCA has spent more than any other corrections company–$17.6 million– lobbying politicians, contributing to their campaigns and hiring their former staff. They also lobby the Department of Homeland Security and its Immigration and Customs Enforcement division which just so happens to contract with CCA and other private companies for immigration-detention centers.
Though CCA says they only lobby to educate policy makers, one can’t help but notice that what they lobby for is tougher prison sentences. After all, it’s how they make their money.Read more...