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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

Criminal Alien Program (CAP)

The Criminal Alien Program (“CAP”) is one of the federal government’s largest and least understood immigration enforcement programs. Through CAP, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) agents screen detainees in jails and prisons across the country and place those deemed removable into immigration proceedings. Between 2005 and 2010, CAP led to the arrest of more than a million people, and the program was implicated in approximately half of all removal proceedings in FY 2009. As a result of CAP, ICE often deports individuals before they have been convicted of a crime or have had the opportunity to speak with an immigration attorney. CAP’s operations vary widely. In some jurisdictions, ICE agents work in jails to routinely interview and process prisoners. At other facilities, ICE agents interview detainees either during regular or ad hoc visits, or by telephone or video conference. Some counties give ICE full access to jails, while other localities limit agents’ access to certain hours or days of the week. Despite CAP’s role in removing hundreds of thousands of individuals each year, very little information about CAP is available to the public. What little is known about the program suggests that CAP targets individuals with little or no criminal history and incentivizes pretextual stops and racial profiling. The LAC and its partners are engaged in litigation intended to enhance public understanding and oversight of one the federal government’s most ubiquitous enforcement programs.

CASES

Lawsuit Against ICE for Failure to Disclose CAP Records

AIC v. DHS, No. 12- 00355 (D. Conn. filed March 8, 2010)Read more...

Yohei Nagata Ken-do Anything!

July, 2008
Yohei Nagata

The Exchange Visitor Program is pleased to announce Yohei Nagata as July'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, explore American culture or share in his/her own culture. 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

Court Strikes Down Three Provisions of Arizona SB 1070, Allows One to Stand

Arizona v. United States, 567 U.S. ___, 132 S. Ct. 2492 (2012)

In a 5-3 decision written by Justice Kennedy, the Supreme Court found that three provisions of Arizona SB 1070 were preempted by federal immigration law and so allowed a preliminary injunction against those provisions to become permanent. The Court found that an additional section of the law was not preempted, but did not preclude future legal challenges to that provision. The decision affirmed in part and reversed in part a decision by the Ninth Circuit, see United States v. Arizona, 641 F.3d 339 (9th Cir. 2011).

The Court found that Sections 3, 5(C), and 6 of Arizona SB 1070 were preempted by federal law.  Section 3, which would have made it an Arizona state offense for unauthorized immigrants to violate the federal law requiring them to apply for registration with the federal government and to carry a registration card, was found to intrude upon an area of law that Congress has entrusted entirely to the federal government. The Court also held that Section 5(C), which would have made it a state crime for immigrants without work authorization to apply for work, solicit work in a public place, or perform work in Arizona, was preempted by the comprehensive federal system that regulating unauthorized employment of noncitizens. Finally, the Court found that Section 6, authorizing law enforcement to arrest immigrants without a warrant where probable cause existed that they committed a public offense making them removable from the United States, was preempted by the federal immigration enforcement scheme, which only allows local police to perform the functions of federal immigration officers in limited circumstances. In so finding, the Court implicitly rejected Arizona’s argument that local police have inherent authority to make arrests for civil violations of the immigration laws.Read more...

Exchange Visitor of the Month

April, 2013

Carla Parzianello is a J-1 trainee in Human Resources Management from Brazil. During her time at YMCA of the Rockies in Colorado, Carla has reached out to local Americans to share her culture. She has organized events for adults and spoken to kids in local schools. Check out her tips on how you can do the same!

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