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To sell the repeal of birthright citizenship, Republicans like Vitter lie about scope of ‘baby tourism’

Published on Fri, Apr 08, 2011

I guess this is how Republicans do the Latino-outreach thing: Demonize Latino children, threaten to take away their birthright citizenship, and blatantly lie about the numbers of “anchor babies” being born by mothers coming here specifically to have citizen children.

Here’s Sen. David Vitter yesterday on Fox News, promoting his new federal bill to strip American-born children of undocumented immigrants of their birthright citizenship:

VITTER: It’s a very real problem. About 200,000 women come into this country annually from other countries legally, with a tourist visa, something like that, to give birth in this country so that child can automatically become a U.S. citizen. 200,000 a year!

I’m guessing that Vitter’s source for this number is either somewhere up his own nether regions, or those of hate groups such as FAIR and CIS that pump out fake statistics like this for eager Latino-bashers like Vitter and his three Senate colleagues to regurgitate into policy.

Because, as ABC News explained in their own report on this legislation:

Of the 4.2 million live births in the United States in 2006, the most recent data gathered by the National Center for Health Statistics, only 7,670 were children born to mothers who said they do not live here.

Some of those mothers could be “baby tourists,” experts say, but many could be foreign college students, diplomatic staff, or vacationers. The government does not track the reasons non-resident mothers are in the United States at the time of the birth or their citizenship.

Indeed, as the story notes, the “anchor baby” problem is a statistical pimple:

“There’s no evidence that birth tourism is a widespread problem,” said Michele Waslin, a senior policy analyst with the Immigration Policy Center. “There are ways to dealing with that issue without such sweeping changes. This is like using a sledgehammer, not a scalpel.”Read more...

Published in the Crooks and Liar

Regulations for Healthcare Workers: Abraham v. Reno

This LAC lawsuit successfully compelled the INS to issue long-awaited regulations implementing § 343 of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act for certain healthcare workers who were waiting to become lawful permanent residents.

This LAC lawsuit successfully compelled the INS to issue long-awaited regulations implementing §343 of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act for certain healthcare workers who were waiting to become lawful permanent residents.

  • AILF and INS reached a settlement in Abraham v. Reno.
  • AILF filed a lawsuit to compel the INS to issue regulations implementing IIRIRA §343 for Medical Technologists, Medical Technicians, Physicians Assistants and Speech/Language Pathologists applying for permanent residence.

Chairy Saidjan Embraces American Culture

March, 2009
Chairy Saidjan

The Exchange Visitor Program is pleased to announce Chairy Saidjan as March's Exchange Visitor of the Month. Each month, we select an exchange visitor who has made an effort to get involved in his/her community and explore American Culture. Read more...

Supreme Court tosses challenge to Calif. tuition law

Published on Mon, Jun 06, 2011

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected a challenge to a California law that allows illegal immigrants to pay in-state college tuition rates, a decision that gave a boost to supporters of a similar law approved this year in Maryland.

California’s 2001 law, which grants in-state college rates to students who attended a California high school for three years and graduate, was challenged by a conservative immigration group that argued the provision conflicted with federal law. The Supreme Court declined to hear the case and did not comment on that decision.

A California court had previously upheld the law.

The law is similar to one signed in May by Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley. Opponents of Maryland’s law are attempting to gather 56,000 signatures to suspend its provisions and put it on the ballot so that voters can decide its fate next year. Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin have comparable tuition laws.

Opponents said last week they had cleared an early hurdle in the petition drive, securing more than the 18,500 signatures initially needed to keep the effort alive. Del. Patrick L. McDonough, has said he expects opponents will also file a lawsuit to stop the law. McDonough, a Baltimore County Republican, was not immediately available for comment.

Those in favor of the law cheered the court’s decision.

The state law "is absolutely lawful under federal law and the California decision is just one more in a litany of court finding making that declaration," said Kim Propeack with the immigration advocacy group CASA de Maryland.Read more...

Published in the Baltimore Sun

Supreme Court Rejects Government's Argument in Aggravated Identity Theft Case

Flores-Figueroa v. United States, 556 U.S. 646 (2009)

In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court held that the aggravated identity theft statute, 18 U.S.C. § 1028A(a)(1), requires federal prosecutors to show that a defendant knew the means of identification belonged to another person. Read more...

Q&A with Marloes Schenk

February, 2012

Congratulations to Marloes Schenk, our Exchange Visitor of the Month. We recently caught up with Marloes to learn more about her J-1 training experience.

Read more...

Obama administration cracks open door to gay immigrant couples, DREAMers

Published on Thu, Aug 18, 2011

Gay and lesbian married bi-national couples like San Francisco’s Bradford Wells and Anthony John Makk may get some relief from the threat of deportation under the Defense of Marriage Act, thanks to action by the Obama administration today.

In a letter to Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said a new working group will be established to identify low-priority cases for immigrant deportation. The administration will exercise prosecutorial discretion, widely practiced by all law enforcement officers, to identify which low-priority deportation cases to ignore. The policy is also posted on the White House website.

Napolitano cited a memorandum issued last June by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, which contains a long list of mitigating factors to weigh in deciding whether to pursue deportation. These include whether the immigrant is married to a U.S. citizen, as Makk is, as well as whether the immigrant is the primary caregiver of a citizen, which Makk also is. Other factors include such things as length of lawful stay in the United States, criminal record and the like.

Sexual orientation is not specifically mentioned, but Mary Kenney, a senior staff attorney with the Legal Action Center arm of the Immigration Policy Center said the administration has indicated that same-sex marriages are included in the definition of family for the purposes of the enforcement memo. She called the move “very encouraging.”

Napolitano said President Obama asked her to respond on his behalf, having said that “it makes no sense to expend our enforcement resources on low-priority cases.” She said the June memo is now “being implemented.”

Wells and Makk have gotten huge media attention, including a spot on CNN, since the Chronicle’s second story on their case this month. You read about their case first in the Chronicle last June.Read more...

Published in the San Francisco Chronicle

Divided Court Upholds Matter of Wang

Scialabba v. Cuellar de Osorio, 573 U.S. ___, 135 S. Ct. 22 (2014)

In a 5-4 judgment, the Court ruled that Congress did not intend for derivative beneficiaries of the Family 3rd and 4th preference categories to benefit from INA § 203(h)(3), a provision that allows beneficiaries of certain visa petitions to retain earlier priority dates after “aging out”—that is, turning 21—and losing child status. As a result, many young immigrants who were included on their parents’ visa petitions as minors cannot be credited with time spent waiting in a visa line with their families, and instead will be placed at the back of a different visa line. The Court reversed the en banc decision of the Ninth Circuit, De Osorio v. Mayorkas, 695 F.3d 1003 (9th Cir. 2012), and upheld the BIA’s limited interpretation of § 203(h)(3) in Matter of Wang, 24 I&N Dec. 28 (BIA 2009), which found that the statute only applied to derivative beneficiaries in the Family 2A category.

Justice Kagan announced the judgment of the Court and delivered an opinion joined by Justices Ginsberg and Kennedy. Chief Justice Roberts filed an opinion concurring in the judgment, which Justice Scalia joined. Justices Alito and Sotomayor filed dissents; Justice Sotomayor’s dissent was joined by Justice Breyer and, except as to one footnote, by Justice Thomas.Read more...

Gov. Perry and Those DREAM Act Kids

Published on Tue, Oct 11, 2011

Texas Gov. Rick Perry has been beaten up in recent GOP presidential primary debates over his signing of a bill in 2001 giving in-state tuition to illegal immigrant kids in Texas. Look for the issue to come up again at tonight’s debate in New Hampshire.

In a free society, so-called DREAM Act legislation would be unnecessary. Opportunities for legal immigration would be open wide enough that illegal immigration would decline dramatically. And higher education would be provided in a competitive market without state and federal subsidies. But that is not yet the world we live in.

On the federal level, the proposed Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act would offer permanent legal status to illegal immigrant children who graduate from high school and then complete at least two years of college or serve in the U.S. military. Legal status would allow them to qualify for in-state tuition in the states where they reside, and would eventually lead to citizenship.

Those who respond that such a law would amount to “amnesty” for illegal immigrants should keep a couple of points in mind.

First, kids eligible under the DREAM Act came to the United States when they were still minors, many of them at a very young age. They were only obeying their parents, something we should generally encourage young children to do.

Second, these kids are a low-risk, high-return bet for legalization. Because they came of age in the United States, they are almost all fluent in English and identify with America as their home (for many the only one they have ever known). “Assimilation” will not be an issue.Read more...

Published in the The Cato Institute