SALT LAKE CITY – Liberal immigration activists are looking to Utah as a compassionate and logical model for shaping the nation's future policies toward illegal immigrants.
Utah leaders — including government, education, business and religious groups — came together last fall to draft a set of principles to guide the immigration debate in the state. Those guidelines, known as the Utah Compact, state in part that illegal immigrants are essential to the economy and deserving of respect.
The recommendations are credited with helping pass immigration changes last month in the Utah Legislature that included enforcement revisions and a guest worker program.
"The leadership in Utah, through the Compact, changed the debate around the country," said Ali Noorani, executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based National Immigration Forum. "It's clear the Compact has struck a chord with the silent majority that wants reform."
Noorani is working with Utah officials to create a national version of the plan, which could be announced as early as this summer.
Opponents say the approach will lead to amnesty programs that only benefit big business and caution it will lead to more illegal immigration...
Wendy Sefsaf, of the Washington, D.C.-based American Immigration Council, also points out another reason for skepticism. Even if the principles are laudable, she said, the results in Utah "did not live up to it" because it will create second-class workers who are not citizens.
Still, Utah does provide a starting point.
"We all have aspirational goals, and the compact has great aspirations," Sefsaf said. "But most states are just reacting. Utah at least tried something that wasn't just about deporting people."
This issue covers the Supreme Court's favorable decision in an aggravated felony case, a legal challenge to the H-1B/Neufeld Memo on the employer-employee relationship, EOIR resources on BIA precedents, a court of appeals decision vacating a BIA precedent on the finality of a conviction, updates on the suits challenging Arizona's immigration law (SB 1070), and LAC litigation on access to courts, motions to reopen, and the Child Status Protection Act.
Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick yesterday became the third Democratic governor in a little more than a month to reject Secure Communities, an immigration enforcement program that has become a cornerstone of President Barack Obama's immigration policy.
The program, initiated in 2008 under President Bush, conjoins local law enforcement and federal immigration enforcement by giving the Department of Homeland Security access to the fingerprints of people who are arrested, which gives the government grounds to initiate deportation proceedings against immigrants who have committed deportable offenses. Obama has touted the program as a tool to punish immigrants convicted of serious crimes.
But Patrick, like New York governor Andrew Cuomo and Illinois governor Pat Quinn before him, moved to withdraw his state from the program because he said it shatters families by ensnaring too many lower-level offenders and breeds distrust of law enforcement. The decision reflects a growing disconnect between the priorities of the Obama administration, which has presided over a record number of deportations and views tough enforcement as a means of winning eventual Republican support for overhauling immigration law, and state and local officials who see some measures as overly harsh and arbitrary.
"The actions of the governors of Massachusetts, New York and Illinois are clear evidence that president Obama has been misguided in his enforcement strategy, particularly where Secure Communities comes in," said Jacki Esposito, director of immigration advocacy for the New York Immigrant Coalition. "The actions by these governors are clear signs that Obama must take executive action to reverse course."Read more...
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.
Lawsuit Against ICE for Failure to Disclose CAP Records
AIC v. DHS, No. 12- 00355 (D. Conn. filed March 8, 2010)Read more...
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...
Kawashima v. Holder, 565 U.S. ___, 132 S. Ct. 1166 (2012).
In a 6-3 decision written by Justice Thomas, the Supreme Court affirmed a Ninth Circuit decision holding that convictions for committing and aiding tax evasion in which the Government’s loss exceeds $10,000 qualify as aggravated felonies under INA § 101(a)(43)(M)(i) and therefore, are deportable offenses. In so holding, the Court resolved a circuit split between the Third and Ninth Circuits in favor of the latter. Compare Ki Se Lee v. Ashcroft, 368 F.3d 218 (3d Cir. 2004) with Kawashima v. Holder, 615 F.3d 1043 (9th Cir. 2010).
The Court began its analysis by stating that it will employ the categorical approach by looking to the statutory definition of the crime rather than the specific facts of the case. See Gonzales v. Duenas-Alvarez, 549 U.S. 183, 186 (2007). First, the Court found that the elements of the tax crimes at issue, 26 U.S.C. § 7206(1) and (2), clearly establish that commission of the crimes involves fraud or deceit. Second, the Court addressed the Petitioners’ argument that INA § 101(a)(43)(M)(i) must be read in conjunction with INA § 101(a)(43)(M)(ii), and because clause (ii) references a specific tax crime (not at issue here), Congress did not intend clause (i) to cover tax crimes as well. The Court rejected that argument, concluding that the two clauses are not mutually exclusive and thus tax crimes are not excluded from clause (i).
Justice Ginsburg, joined by Justices Breyer and Kagan, issued a dissent in which she challenged the Court’s “dubious” statutory interpretation.
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!
California Governor Jerry Brown announced Saturday that he has signed the second half of California's Dream Act legislative package, which will begin in 2013. But what is the Dream Act, and what impact will it have on the California?
Each year, about 25,000 undocumented students graduate from high school in California. Many of these students came to America when they were very young, before they had any say in their education or choices. As such, many legislators feel this bill gives them an opportunity both to become Americans and fulfill the American dream.
"After having invested 12 years in the high school education of these young men and women, who are here through no fault of their own," Assemblyman Gil Cedillo (D- Los Angeles) said Saturday, "it's the smartest thing for us to do to permit these students to get scholarships and be treated like every other student."
Many undocumented students are not able to attend college without financial assistance. Almost 40% of undocumented students families' live below the federal poverty line, compared to 17% percent for native-born families, according to the Immigration Policy Center.
Approximately 2,500 students are expected to apply under the program thus far.