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  1. Dems Starting to Express Flexibility on House Approach to Immigration Reform

    by , 09-19-2013 at 03:36 PM (Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy)
    In recent days, key Democrats have suggested a willingness to compromise with the House on the immigration reform process. Texas Democratic House member Henry Cuellar is to meet with Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte to discuss the notion that people can be legalized and then allowed to pursue conventional green card strategies rather than having a "special" path to citizenship. According to the Rio Grande Guardian:

    “I support a comprehensive bill, but if we do it piecemeal and do not call it pathway but call it taking them (undocumented immigrants) out of the shadows and giving them legalization, I can support that. I have got to be flexible,” Cuellar said.

    Cuellar said he does not support amnesty for undocumented immigrants. “What I do support is taking these people out of the shadows. I want to know who those people are,” he said.

    Asked if there would be anyway for undocumented immigrants that become legal to apply for citizenship in the future, Cuellar answered in the affirmative. “At some time in the future, yes. We have to legalize these folks first. There are always things in the law that can allow these people to become citizens. You let them become a legal resident first. The system will allow them to get to that point (citizenship) eventually.”

    President Obama also chimed in this week to make it clear that a piecemeal legislative strategy would be okay with the White House as long as the final bill that ends up on his desk has key elements such as some kind of pathway to citizenship. From Reuters:

    U.S. President Barack Obama said on Tuesday he could support the House of Representatives taking a piece-by-piece approach to changing immigration policy as long as key elements such as a "pathway to citizenship" for undocumented immigrants were included.


    In an interview with Noticias Telemundo, Obama said he could back efforts in the House to advance elements of immigration reform one at a time - rather than all at once as the Senate did - as long as all of his priorities were part of the outcome.

    "I'm happy to let the House work its will as long as the bill that ends up on my desk speaks to the central issues that have to be resolved," he said, citing his priorities of stronger border security, penalties for employers who take advantage of undocumented workers, and a pathway to citizenship for immigrants who are in the country illegally.

    "If those elements are contained in a bill, whether they come through the House a little bit at a time or they come in one fell swoop ... I'm less concerned about process, I'm more interested in making sure it gets done," he said.

  2. Global Mobility Book - Forward by Gyan Nagpal

    Times they are a changin,
    come gather round people wherever you roam,
    and admit that the waters around you have grown,
    and accept it that soon you'll be drenched to the bone.
    - Bob Dylan

    Sam Palmisano, the recently retired chairman of services giant IBM once reflected on the growing complexity of global business by saying ?We occupy a world that is connected on multiple dimensions and at a deep level a global system of systems. That means, among other things, that it is subject to systems-level failures, which require systems-level thinking about the effectiveness of its physical and digital infrastructures.? Palmisano?s words have deep meaning in business today, yet they also possess the potential to prove truly prophetic in almost all areas of governance by the end of this current decade.

    In a rapidly converging world, fraught with ambiguity and hidden risks, anyone aspiring to a leadership position in business or policy, must be able to see and understand this ?global system of systems?. A leader?s job description now includes the following ? the ability to spot trends, to recognize shifts as they happen and the ability to tell apart cause from consequence. We can all improve our ability to do this by raising our individual learning velocity on one hand and by nurturing genuine inquisitiveness towards the unfamiliar on the other. Let?s look at the future of global mobility as an example.

    The global workforce today stands just north of three billion people. Given that we have just over four and a half billion people of working age across the planet; what this means in aggregate terms, is that roughly two thirds of our talent wakes up each day seeking to pursue an economic endeavor. But it unfortunately also wakes up to a systemic paradox. While the majority of our workforce continues to be locally anchored, the economic endeavors they pursue are increasingly global in orientation. In a nutshell, circumstances for global business are converging, yet the global talent pool is not.

    This builds immeasurable tension in the global system of systems. So how must we respond, and ease this tension? In part by acknowledging the following -

    The growing need for global leaders - Being global is no longer an option, but rather an imperative for the world?s top brands, and increasingly the world?s largest companies and brands don?t ascribe to one national identity. They raise capital in multiple locations, hire capability where it is needed most and grow through a complex web of acquisitions, joint ventures and subsidiaries. While capital, technology and intellectual property are now global in nature, we are seeing an increasing demand for ?global talent?. This makes absolute sense. How can you lead a dispersed organization today, without a strong world view and a deep global experience?

    An uneven playing field - The knowledge economy overcomes it?s labour challenges by moving work across continents seamlessly, while the old economy struggles with a crippling and skewed imbalance of skill demand and supply, often with no short term solution. The economic vibrancy of a number of industrial and services firms today hinge on their ability to access skills in real time.

    The growing power of real time knowledge - As technological evolution and the resultant redundancy of knowledge accelerate; both formative education and corporate skill development efforts can often fall behind the change curve. One way of catching up is to import talent which possesses new knowledge. This is the fastest and most efficient way to multiply capability within an industry or academic system.

    How the employment equation itself is changing - We must accept that the employee is evolving and hence the very concept of employment must evolve to keep pace. This requires us to think well beyond old-fashioned career paths as well as restrictive buy or build mechanisms of finding and keeping talent, In addition, the 21st century employee turning up to work today is more aware assertive, aware and empowered than ever before; a fact which is challenging the traditional supremacy of 20th century management mindsets still commonly found on shop-floors across the world.

    As you can see above, we are entering an age where we must set talent free. This will challenge a host of traditional systems, be they political, policy formulation, economic or educational. If we don?t change, we risk what Palmisano calls a system level failure.

    Books such as this guide to international mobility help us all understand and facilitate this future world. It has the power to assist organizations, policymakers and individuals in understanding how the ebb and flow of global mobility will reshape our global economy in the days to come. I wish the book and its collective group of authors all success.

    Gyan Nagpal
    Author - ?Talent Economics - The Fine Line Between Winning and Losing the Global War for Talent?
  3. In Search of the ICE Agent Who "Outed" Obama's Aunt

    Just prior to the 2008 presidential election, the AP broke a story about Candidate Obama's Aunt Zeituni, a rejected asylum seeker who was living in the U.S. illegally. The source for the story was an unnamed "federal law enforcement official." At the time, it appeared that the leak was designed to harm Obama's chances for success in the election. As you may have noticed, it didn't.

    After news of the leak broke, ICE initiated an investigate, and speculation about the source abounded.

    "Outing" asylum seekers ain't classy, San Diego.

    Fast forward to September 2013 when a heavily-redacted version of the report from the ICE Office of Professional Responsibility was finally made public. The report, which was actually completed in August 2010, states that ICE/OPR identified the leaker, who admitted what he did. However, it does not name names, nor does it indicate whether the leaker was punished. However, from a careful review of the report, some on-line research, and a bit of deduction, we can make a pretty good guess about who leaked Aunt Zeituni's name and immigration status to the press.

    We begin with the initial AP article, which was written by Eileen Sullivan and Elliot Spagat. The article does not name the source of information, but it states that the Aunt's asylum application was denied in 2004 and she was ordered deported.

    The ICE/OPR report indicates that the leaker was interviewed by "OPR/San Diego" in May and June 2010. The leaker admitted that he spoke with a male reporter (the names of the journalists are redacted, but it is most likely Elliot Spagat). The leaker stated that the disclosure was an "error in judgment." He also claimed that he had no "political motivations." Instead, he revealed the aunt's illegal status because it was "very interesting information" and he thought "the American public has a right to know that."

    According to the report, the leaker had spoken with the reporter before and had a history of getting together with him socially. The leaker was first introduced to the reporter in 2007 by someone at the DHS Office of Public Affairs (which is the "primary point of contact for news media, organizations and the general public seeking information" about DHS). The leaker did two or three interviews with the reporter in the course of their relationship.

    From this, we can glean some useful information about the source of the leak.

    First, since the interview was conducted by OPR/San Diego, we can guess that the leaker is in San Diego. This conclusion is supported by the fact that the reporter (Mr. Spagat) is based in San Diego, and apparently the reporter and the leaker had met up socially a few times.

    Second, the fact that the journalist had interviewed the leaker for two or three prior stories, and that the leaker was purposefully introduced to the journalist by the Office of Public Affairs points to a higher-ranking ICE officer. A lower-ranking employee would probably not be introduced to a journalist by the Office of Public Affairs or interviewed several times.

    Since the leaker admitted to having been interviewed "two or three" times between 2007 (when he met the journalist) and October 31, 2008 (the date of the leak), we can look for names of ICE agents who appear in Mr. Spagat's articles during this period.

    Some on-line research revealed a few names, though one stood out because he appeared in several articles by Mr. Spagat in 2007 and 2008, but did not appear in any article after the election. While this person was the most likely suspect, I certainly did not have enough evidence to be sure.

    I thought the best approach would be simply to ask the person. I found his email, and sent the following message:

    I have been investigating the disclosure of President Obama’s aunt’s case prior to the 2008 election. My research has led me to believe that you informed AP reporter Elliot Spagat about the aunt’s case. I am writing to ask whether you would be willing to discuss this situation. Please let me know.

    A few days later, I received this response from an attorney in Washington, DC who specializes in national security law:

    My friend [redacted] contacted me about your e-mail inquiring about the disclosure of President Obama's aunt's case prior to the 2008 election. As I am sure you can imagine as a current ICE agent [redacted] would never be permitted to discuss a specific case without authorization from his agency. Respectfully, therefore, he can not respond to your e-mail.

    Since this email came from a lawyer (and a pretty fancy lawyer at that) instead of DHS Public Affairs, and since it was not a denial, I suppose it provides some additional support for my theory about the leaker's identity, but it was still not enough. I responded as follows:

    Thank you for writing... I understand his position. Given the evidence I currently have, it seems very likely to me that he is the person who leaked the information. That said, it is currently not my intention to name him in the blog post (even as a suspect), as I do not wish to implicate anyone unless I am 100% certain about my information. If anything changes in that regard, I will contact you before I publish anything.

    And that is as far as I got. So I guess I will not be winning any prizes for investigative journalism. While I feel that the public has a right to know who violated Aunt Zeituni's confidentiality, I believe it would be wrong to accuse someone by name without stronger proof.

    The OPR report indicates that "no prosecutorial actions" were taken in the case. I suppose that means that the leaker was not punished. He could have been: It is a violation of the law to violate an asylum seeker's confidentiality. See 8 C.F.R. §§ 208.6(c) & 1208.6(c). Government officials who violate this provision can be fired. See Lewis v. Dep’t of Justice, 34 Fed. Appx. 774 (Fed.Cir.2002).

    To me, it is ironic that the leaker's confidentiality received more protection than that of the asylum seeker. However, the fact that ICE investigated the leak and took it seriously will, we can hope, deter others from revealing such confidences in the future.

    Originally posted on the Asylumist:
    Tags: obama, zeituni Add / Edit Tags
  4. Only 14% of ICE Detainers Target Serious Criminals

    by , 09-19-2013 at 07:54 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    Here is the latest report from Syracuse University's TRAC immigration: Few ICE Detainers Target Serious Criminals.

    From the report:

    "Very timely case-by-case data from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) show that no more than 14 percent of the "detainers" issued by the government in FY 2012 and the first four months of FY 2013 met the agency's stated goal of targeting individuals who pose a serious threat to public safety or national security. In fact, roughly half of the 347,691 individuals subject to an ICE detainer (47.7 percent) had no record of a criminal conviction, not even a minor traffic violation."

    TRAC also points out that if you exclude traffic violations (including DWI) and marijuana possession that two thirds of all ICE detainers do not include individuals with any criminal record.

    They also discovered that ICE categorizes minor crimes as serious threats to public safety, determining that minor violations may result in an individual's designation in the highest threat level category.

    Click here to read the full report.

    Updated 09-19-2013 at 07:58 AM by MKolken

  5. More Frustration Over President's Refusal to Stop Deportations. By Roger Algase

    The Washington Post reports that there is growing resentment among immigration supporters over President Obama's refusal to suspend, or at least slow down, deportations in view of House of Representative's refusal to take action on comprehensive immigration reform. See Obama's comment on immigration draws anger, frustration September 18.

    The Post quotes Pablo Alvarado, executive director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network as follows:

    "Unless the president alters course, he risks cementing his legacy as having presided over the most anti-immigrant administration in history...[Obama has an] obligation to lead the national debate through bold action."

    The Post then goes on to describe the battle between the administration and immigration supporters over this issue:

    "Administration officials said they are employing the concept of 'prosecutorial discretion', which means focusing the limited resources of border control agencies on high risk immigrants who have committed multiple crimes. Greatly expanding the number of deferments would undermine that legal rationale, the officials said.

    Advocates scoffed at the reasoning, saying the president has far more leeway because most undocumented immigrants have not violated other laws.

    'He does have the power to stop deportations, and we will keep challenging him' said Cristina Jimenez, managing director of United We Dream, and advocacy group.

    She noted that Obama had previously said he could not unilaterally halt deportations for the younger immigrants before he reversed course and did just that during he reelection campaign last year.

    Advocates 'will not let President Obama off the hook for his role in the moral crisis our nation faces,', Jimenez said."

    There are several comments that could be made on this issue. First, a serious exploration of the extent to which the president does have authority to halt deportations on his own would be in order. A good starting place would be Justice Anthony Kennedy's majority opinion in last year's Arizona v. United States case. In that opinion, as mentioned in one of my previous posts, Justice Kennedy emphasized the broad power that the executive branch in particular, not just the federal government in general, has over immigration enforcement policy.

    A second comment would be that Presidential deference to Congress in immigration matters is indicated when America's democracy is functioning normally and our Constitutional system of checks and balances is working.

    No one reading the headlines today can argue that this is now the case. In order to do so, one would have to show that the majority of Americans support deporting 11 million people, as well as other far right wing goals such as shutting down the entire government in a dispute over health care, destroying the full faith and credit of the US by refusing to raise the debt ceiling, and cutting off food stamps and other programs that help the less affluent, including without doubt many immigrants, to name only a few issues dear to the hearts of the lunatic fringe.

    This is not to mention the ultimate insanity of impeaching the president, which the Republican right cannot stop talking about, even though the reason changes from day to day.

    What is happening instead is that an extremist right wing Tea Party cabal, using the power of a House Republican majority based on gerrymandered, mainly white districts, a majority which was elected by a minority of the people who actually voted last year, is trying to take over the entire government.

    Gutting immigration reform, despite reform's wide support among the public and among so many elements in both parties, is only a piece of a larger picture in which a small group of fanatics is trying to hijack America's democracy to serve its own narrow, ideological objectives.

    While the question of how to react to this extraordinary threat to our entire system of government on other issues is beyond the scope of this blog, what would be wrong with using the broad presidential powers over immigration which every serious analyst has to admit already exist, in order to protect the human rights of 11 million immigrants to freedom from the persecution and repression of "enforcement-only" ideology which is supported by only a small group of far right fringe politicians?

    Looked at from another perspective, if Mitt Romney were the president today, can there be any doubt that he would be using the full power of the executive branch of the federal government to round up and deport 11 million brown skinned immigrants, or to force them to "self-deport" through inhuman policies of attrition, without exception or mercy?

    What is stopping President Obama from using his broad executive power over immigration to accomplish the will of the overwhelming majority of Americans, namely at least granting relief from deportation, (if not formal legalization and eventual citizenship, which may indeed be beyond his powers) for 11 million people?

    President Obama argues that he is not a "king". He is right. Queen Elizabeth is a "king", namely a revered figurehead who has no real power.

    But the president is not such a king. He is the president of the United States of America. He should act to stop deportations now, if the House Republicans continue to frustrate America's democratic process and cause Congress to fail in its responsibility to respect the will of the great majority of the American people.

    Updated 09-20-2013 at 11:26 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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