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Rep. Hansen Clarke and 3 Facts About Undocumented Immigration

Published on Wed, Jul 13, 2011

At a recent event in Detroit organized by the Alliance for Immigrants Rights to address local racial profiling of Latinos by ICE, U.S. Rep. Hansen Clarke took a step that few people — let alone politicians — take: he admitted that his father was likely an undocumented immigrant.

Clarke told community members, “I’m the son of an undocumented immigrant — and I’m proud to say that.” Clarke spoke at the forum at Hope of Detroit Academy, a school targeted in March by ICE agents who are now being investigated after going after parents as they dropped their kids off at school.

Clarke is of African-American and Bangladeshi descent. His African-American mother raised him as a single parent after his father who emigrated from Bangladesh, passed away when Hansen was eight years old. Hansen, the first U.S. Congressman of Bangladeshi descent, told the Detroit Free Press his father was ” ‘more than likely undocumented’ when he came to the U.S. His father immigrated in the 1930’s from pre-Partition India, then under British rule, and died in 1965.” (We would have liked to link back to the Free Press article, but are tired of linking to articles with the i-word in the title, especially as this man did not call his father “illegal.”)

In this anti-immigrant climate, Rep. Clarke took some political risk in admitting something about his family’s past that many other public officials would also be correct in disclosing. One of the most popular comebacks from a range of people — including minutemen border militia, hardcore immigration restrictionists like Numbers USA and the like, and both Republicans and Democrats — is that people need to get papers the “legal” way and “get in line,” just like their parents or grandparents or some ancestor did.Read more...

Published in the Colorlines Magazine

Court Disallows Modified Categorical Approach Except Where Statute Divisible

Descamps v. United States, 570 U.S. ___, 133 S. Ct. 2276 (2013)

In an 8-1 decision written by Justice Kagan, the Supreme Court held that sentencing courts must apply the categorical approach – and only the categorical approach – to a federal defendant unless the underlying statute of conviction is ‘divisible.’

Descamps concerns the analytical approach courts must undertake when determining what federal consequences (usually sentence enhancement or removal) attach to a particular conviction. The default approach is called the categorical approach, wherein the court compares the elements set forth in the criminal statute to the INA removal ground or other federal law at issue. The facts in the criminal case are irrelevant. All that matters are the elements of the statute of conviction. The rationale for an elements-centric approach, as the Court explained in Descamps, is multifold: it comports with the text and history of the statutes it was created to apply (often the Armed Career Criminal Act and the INA), it avoids Sixth Amendment concerns that would arise form sentencing courts’ making factual findings that belong to juries, and it averts the practical difficulties and potential unfairness of a factual approach.Read more...

History of Executive Branch Authority in Immigration

Published on Fri, Sep 02, 2011

Today, the Immigration Policy Center releases Using All the Tools in the Toolbox: How Past Administrations Have Used Executive Branch Authority in Immigration by Mary Giovagnoli, Esq. The paper examines the political battle over implementation of provisions of the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) during the late 1990s.

It also looks at the role of executive branch authority during a key moment in the Bush Administration’s work on comprehensive immigration reform. Using the tools of executive branch authority, both the Clinton and Bush Administrations made the most of what the law had to offer, staying within the letter of the law, but opting for interpretations that reflected differing, but legally permissable, readings of the law. This lesson is worth recalling in the fight over prosecutorial discretion and administrative relief today.

The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) plan to review 300,000 immigration cases to assess whether they fall within the Administration’s enforcement priorities has already inflamed critics. Because the Administration may close some low priority cases in order to focus its limited resources on more serious cases, critics are immediately claiming this is an “amnesty.” But the DHS announcement is about using executive branch authority—in this case, prosecutorial discretion—to carry out its policy priorities.Read more...

Published in the Hispanically Speaking

News Room

Media Contact: Wendy Sefsaf at 202-507-7524 or wsefsaf@immcouncil.org

Quick Fact: U.S. Citizen children are supported by unautorized immigrants

There are 4 million U.S. citizen children living in mixed status families with at least one parent who is an unauthorized immigrant.

New American Heritage Dictionary Defines ‘Anchor Baby’ as Neutral

Published on Mon, Dec 05, 2011

The Houghton Mifflin publishing company recently released the fifth edition of the New American Heritage Dictionary with 10,000 new words—including the term “anchor baby.” The dictionary offers a matter-of-fact definition for a term many consider to be a racist and deliberate effort to dehumanize immigrant children.

Here’s how the dictionary’s new edition defines “anchor baby:”

“Anchor Baby, n. A child born to a noncitizen mother in a country that grants automatic citizenship to children born on its soil, especially such a child born to parents seeking to secure eventual citizenship for themselves and often other members of their family.”

Steve Kleinedler, the executive editor, was well aware “anchor baby” is used as a pejorative term. “The trick is to define them objectively without taking sides and just presenting what it is,” Kleinedler said in an interview on NPR’s Weekend Edition.

“Anchor baby is definitely a very charged, politically charged word,” Kleinedler said before going on to say the term “falls into a gray area where we felt it was better just to state what it was, and then people can filter their own life experiences through the word and judgments on it as they see fit.”

The New American Heritage Dictionary’s “anchor baby” definition is 41 words long but the first sentence in Wikipedia’s definition at just 29 words manages to provide a similar definition with a disclaimer that the word is indeed offensive. Wikipedia.com definition with more context:

“Anchor baby” is a pejorative term for a child born in the United States to immigrant parents, who, as an American citizen, supposedly can later facilitate immigration for relatives.” [29 words]Read more...

Published in the Colorlines

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