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Barbour May Follow in Brewer's Footsteps on Controversial Immigration Policy

Published on Tue, Mar 15, 2011

Mississippi governor and potential Republican presidential contender Haley Barbour addressed a Chamber of Commerce audience in Chicago Monday, where he spent most of his time on criticizing President Obama's handling of the economy.

He will likely continue to do the same in Iowa and California this week as he continues to test the presidential waters. But back in Mississippi, a quieter fight over a pending immigration bill is brewing, one which would undoubtedly play role in the upcoming battle for the GOP nomination.

Modeled closely after the contentious law enacted by Arizona governor Jan Brewer last April, the proposed measure in Mississippi would allow law enforcement officers to ask people they suspect of being illegal immigrants for proof that they are in the country legally. Failure to produce proper documentation could result in jail time or deportation.

There are slight variations in both chambers' versions of the bill. The state Senate measure would have allowed people to sue cities, counties, and law enforcement officials who failed to comply with the new rules. The House stripped that language, and added a provision to allow for lawsuits and fines for employers of illegal immigrants.

Reaction to the proposed legislation at the local level has largely fallen along predictable partisan lines. The Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance has called it unethical and racist. And a group of state bishops sent an open letter to Gov. Barbour, arguing that "From a public policy standpoint, this bill does not make good law or good sense."Read more...

Published in the PBS Newshour

Litigation Clearinghouse Newsletter Vol. 1, No. 3

This issue covers the favorable district court order in the ADIT litigation (Santillan v. Gonzales) and recent decisions addressing Matter of Grijalva and the presumption of effective service.

Published On: Monday, January 9, 2006 | Download File

President Obama has options on immgration, and should employ them

Published on Thu, May 05, 2011

Nobody should question the importance of the Navy SEAL assault that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, nor President Barack Obama's authority to order the raid.

Undocumented immigrants in the U.S. question something else: an authority Obama says he does not have. He says he cannot by executive order modify the implementation of the laws under which a record number of undocumented immigrants have been deported in his first two years in office.

Obama has held countless meetings with Latino leaders to bring Hispanic voters to his side. Yet he always says that it is not his fault; that he has to obey the law; that Republicans are to blame. Some of this is true, but according to a legal memo from an American Immigration Council study, there are many things the president could and should do.

"The President and his cabinet have a wide range of choices available that can ameliorate some of the worst excesses of current law," the memo's cover letter said.

The memo mentions several options the administration has if the president is really serious. It says the Department of Homeland Security already has memos saying its agents should differentiate between deporting known criminals and those with no felonious criminal records. It should make sure the agents understand and apply the instructions given.

It also mentions that Homeland Security has the authority to grant "deferred action" to an otherwise "deportable" immigrant when it sees the presence of "sympathetic or compelling factors.'' This is already in use to grant exemptions for those who fall under the Violence Against Women Act.

The memo talks about temporary protected status granted to those after a determination is made that it is unsafe for foreign nationals to return home due to armed conflict, natural disasters or extraordinary conditions.

There is also the option of the issuing "humanitarian parole."Read more...

Published in the Sun Sentinel

Other Impact Litigation

ARCHIVED ISSUE PAGE (LAST UPDATED JANUARY 2011)

This page summarizes and discusses class action and other multi-party lawsuits that deal with current issues affecting the immigrant community and that do not fall into categories covered by Litigation Issue Pages.Read more...

Heather Conn Explores the Art of Being an American through Cinema

May, 2008
Heather Conn

The Exchange Visitor Program is pleased to announce Heather Conn as May'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...

Are Immigrants Flooding the Military for U.S. Citizenship?

Published on Wed, Jul 06, 2011

Are immigrants joining the military to circumvent the U.S. immigration system’s notorious backlogs and win citizenship for themselves and visas for their family? A new article from AFP seems to suggest so. The piece tells the story of Darby Ortego, a 25-year-old Filipino-American who became a citizen this year after serving in the military. He’sbeen stationed in Afghanistan.

AFP reports:

Like thousands of fellow Filipinos, he sees the US military as a fast-track to American citizenship, securing his own future and also helping his family back home. “I joined up to get my mom to America,” said Private Ortego, who is deployed at Combat Outpost Sabari in Khost, where US troops clash with Taliban rebels based across the border in Pakistan. “I want to bring my mom from her village in the Philippines to Nevada, where I live. I want her to be with me.” Ortego is one of the roughly 9,000 legal immigrants who join the US armed forces each year from countries as far apart as Panama, Nigeria, Liberia and Turkey.

The piece goes on to suggest that joining the military is a straightforward route to citizenship that many are taking.

In the last 10 years, nearly 69,000 immigrant troops have become US citizens while serving. Naturalisation takes just months for serving military personnel compared to years for regular legal immigrants. Unemployment and poverty in their homeland have driven millions of Filipinos abroad to search for work, often on construction sites or as domestic staff. “It is better in the US because there are more opportunities. You can find a job and they will pay a decent amount,” said Ortego, who sends money back to his family in Northern Samar province.

All true as it is, except that in order to even qualify for military service, foreign nationals must first have a green card, which is nearly impossible to come by these days. Military service is not exactly the breezy fast track to citizenship it can appear to be.Read more...

Published in the Colorlines Magazine

Drug Possession as an Aggravated Felony

Lopez v. Gonzales, 549 U.S. 47 (2006)Read more...

  • On January 8, 2007, the Supreme Court granted a writ of certiorari, vacated the judgment, and remanded the case to Eighth Circuit for further consideration in light of Lopez v. Gonzales. The case is Tostado-Tostado v. Carlson, No. 06-6766.

What is the Australia/United States of America Work and Holiday Visa?

Read the 2007 Practice Advisory on the Australian Work and Holiday visa.

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Former Ariz. Attorney General proposes new approach to border

Published on Mon, Sep 12, 2011

In a paper published today by the Immigration Policy Center, former Arizona Attorney General and 2010 Democratic candidate for governor Terry Goddard strikes out at the state’s current border enforcement strategies and attempts to lay out what he sees as a superior binational approach to border security.

In criticizing Arizona’s current approach to border enforcement, Goddard writes, “Again and again, symbols trump reality, misinformation buries the truth.” Goddard is referring to recent efforts to build a massive wall, stretching the entire length of the U.S.-Mexico border, an effort derided by many as simultaneously impractical and ineffective. Goddard is similarly critical of the federal Secure Communities program, in which local law enforcement is employed to enforce immigration law. He argues that these largely symbolic and rhetorical efforts at securing the border could in fact be making current problems worse.

Goddard’s solutions to solving current problems at the Arizona-Sonora border focus not on undocumented immigrants but rather on what he sees as the larger issue in this region: Mexican drug cartels. He argues that the U.S. and Mexican governments must approach the cartels as business enterprises. In order to disable them, Goddard writes that the countries must work together to stanch the flow of money into these criminals’ hands.

For Goddard, because the Tucson Sector is the primary locus through which people and resources are smuggled back and forth across the border, it is here where any successful effort to abolish border violence must begin. This means that Tucson must serve as a model to the rest of the border region of how effectively securing the border starts not with capturing and deporting undocumented migrants, but with capturing and arresting the criminals that facilitate these individuals’ cross-border movement and propagate the border region’s larger criminal environment.Read more...

Published in the Examiner: Tucson AZ