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DHS Does Right by Some Haitians, Extends Protected Status

Published on Wed, May 18, 2011

The Department of Homeland Security has decided to show some reason and compassion in its dealings with Haitians who might have been headed for deportation as soon as their Temporary Protected Status was set to expire this summer. On Tuesday, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano announced that her department would be extending TPS for Haitian nationals another 18 months, through January 2013.

Under the new extension, Haitians who have been in the country since January 12 of this year will be eligible to stay in the U.S. and be legally allowed to work in the country. The Obama administration originally announced that it would grant TPS to Haitians as a result of the devastating earthquake last year. TPS is typically granted on a limited basis to folks from countries mired in war or natural disaster, where returning would be too dangerous. According to the Department of Homeland Security, 48,000 Haitians are in the country under Temporary Protected Status. Around 60,000 or so initially applied for TPS—far fewer than the estimated 100,000 to 200,000 undocumented Haitian-Americans in the country at the time.

“In the extended aftermath of the devastating earthquakes in Haiti, the United States has remained fully committed to upholding our responsibility to assist individuals affected by this tragedy by using tools available under the law,” Napolitano said.

“Providing a temporary refuge for Haitian nationals who are currently in the United States and whose personal safety would be endangered by returning to Haiti is part of this administration’s continuing efforts to support Haiti’s recovery.”

Immigration policy experts and advocates applauded the announcement, and Napolitano’s use of her discretionary powers to help ease the suffering of folks who would be sent back to a country that is still in dangerous disarray.Read more...

Published in the Colorlines Magazine

Understanding the Final Rule for J-1 Trainee and Intern Programs

New final rules became effective Sept. 9, 2010 for J trainee and intern programs 22 C.F.R.§ 62 (2010). With few exceptions, the final rule will produce little change to the way J trainee and intern programs have been administered since the interim-final rule of 2007.

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Economists say Alabama's tough new immigration law could damage state's economy

Published on Sat, Jul 16, 2011

MONTGOMERY -- Supporters of the state's new immigration law called it a jobs program when it was being debated in the Legislature, but some economists predict it will put the stigma of the 1960s back on Alabama.

In enacting what has been described as the nation's toughest immigration law, some fear the Legislature's action will backfire, possibly driving away industrial prospects as it promises to chase away thousands of Hispanics holding jobs in construction, food service, manufacturing and agriculture.

Dr. Keivan Deravi, an economics professor at Auburn Montgomery and budget adviser to the Legislature, says the law wasn't supported by facts and wasn't based on "real economic theories and research."

"It is the wrong message sent to the rest of the nation and the business world, especially considering the degree of ongoing globalization," he said.

But Sen. Scott Beason, R-Gardendale, the Senate sponsor of the immigration bill, called that view a wish of "something bad on the state."

"A business invests where it gets a good quality product and work force," he said. "I don't believe for a minute that it (immigration law) will keep them from coming here. I do not believe it hurts us on the world stage."

Rep. Micky Hammon, R-Decatur, the House sponsor of the bill, did not return a phone call.

The law is scheduled to take effect Sept. 1, although a coalition of civil rights groups filed a federal class-action lawsuit that asserts it is unconstitutional because it interferes with federal authority over immigration matters.

Dr. Chris Westley, associate professor of economics at Jacksonville State University, said the law raises the "perception factor" about the state and that capital investment "will tend to avoid Alabama relative to other Southern states."Read more...

Published in the Alabama.com

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...

Rick Perry, immigration enforcement and the Florida Legislature

Published on Fri, Sep 30, 2011

GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry’s statements on immigration in Florida last week and the reaction of immigration enforcement only policy supporters seems to be having an impact on the Florida Legislature.

According to The Miami Herald:

Florida’s Tea Party activists say they will accept nothing short of requiring every employer to check the immigration status of their workers through the federal E-verify program in January when legislators convene in regular session. But armed with the support of Florida’s powerful agriculture and business groups, the same legislative leaders who last year promised Arizona-style immigration reform are now barely offering tentative support for it.

The Herald adds: “House Speaker Dean Cannon, whose chamber proposed but never passed an Arizona-style immigration enforcement plan last year, said that immigration reform may take a back seat to balancing the budget, reapportionment and strengthening the economy.”

Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolis, R-Merritt Island, said last week that his chamber would pass the same immigration bill it passed in the 2011 session. At this year’s RedState Gathering, Gov. Rick Scott said that an immigration enforcement bill “will happen this session.”

According to Numbers USA — an organization that wants “lower immigration levels” — Perry’s results in the Florida straw poll can be blamed on his weak stance on immigration enforcement. The group writes that “Texas Gov. Rick Perry is proving that appearing to be more concerned about illegal-alien workers than about unemployed Americans doesn’t work in Republican primaries.”Read more...

Published in the The Florida Independent

Event

Quick Fact: The cost of mass deportation

Mass deportation would cost $206 billion to $230 billion over five years.

Anchor Baby: A Term Redefined as a Slur

Published on Thu, Dec 08, 2011

What does the term “anchor baby” mean? If you were to look it up in the American Heritage Dictionary, you would find a new definition since last week.

The term was among some 10,000 new words and phrases in the fifth edition of the dictionary, published in November. It was defined as: “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.”

But when Steve Kleinedler, the executive editor of the dictionary, read that definition during a radio interview last month, it troubled Mary Giovagnoli, the director of the Immigration Policy Center, a pro-immigration research group in Washington.

The once-obscure term has been used frequently in the recent debate over whether to change the Constitution to deny automatic American citizenship to children born in this country to illegal immigrant parents.

Last Friday morning, Ms. Giovagnoli posted an angry item on the center’s blog, saying the dictionary “masks the poisonous and derogatory nature of the term, a term which demeans both parent and child.” Her item soared into the blogosphere. By Friday afternoon, Mr. Kleinedler had called Ms. Giovagnoli.Read more...

Published in the New York Times