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  1. Republicans Showing Pragmatism on Immigration - or Just Wishful Thinking

    by , 06-02-2011 at 06:20 AM (Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy)
    Here's an interesting piece in the Los Angeles Times discussing the change in tone of at least three leading contenders for the GOP presidential nomination. I've blogged about Newt Gingrich's immigration position and I have to say that over many years he's shown an interest in coming up with workable immigration solutions. It's nice to hear Mitt Romney moving away from his 2008 "deport them all" rhetoric. Former governor Jon Huntsman from Utah is a name most people don't know yet, but a lot of GOP insiders think he could be a strong candidate. And he's now talking about alternatives to deporting millions of people as well. Tim Pawlenty said last week that he thinks longtime illegally present immigrants might also deserve special consideration (though he's on record supporting repealing the 14th Amendment right to birthright citizenship, something that will be hard to explain away to immigration moderates).
    The LA Times piece speculates as to why the rhetoric is softening. One reason seems to be that most focus is now on federal spending and the economy. I would also say that some candidates are betting that GOP primary voters who vote first on immigration issues are relatively small and that the risk of upsetting them is worth the much greater benefit of being seen as reasonable on immigration to the general electorate (including 50 million Latinos in the country, a sizeable percentage of which are US citizens).
    But I've also noticed that politicians seem to get cowed by the antis email, fax, phone and newspaper letter writing campaigns and these are folks that regularly show up at town hall meetings. Despite their very small numbers, they project a loud voice. Those politicians who actually study the polling will see that there is a large, but relatively silent majority who support compromise on immigration. But that's been the case for several years so I while I am optimistic, I'm also realistic and think it may take a few more election cycles before a lot of GOP officeholders come around.
  2. Secure Communities Over in New York

    by , 06-01-2011 at 02:58 PM (Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy)
    A major blow to the Obama Administration's efforts to force this program on every state in the country. New York joins Illinois and Washington and Minnesota are probably next. California is a possibility as well.
    Folks, we have a new Mason-Dixon line forming with red states like Arizona and Mississippi passing laws reminiscent of Jim Crow in their efforts to make life as difficult as possible for immigrants in their states while blue states like New York and Illinois are making it clear that they are welcoming and not interested in fostering divisions in their populations.
  3. My Grandfather Ben

    by , 06-01-2011 at 11:00 AM (Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy)
    Congrats to budding poet Maya Young Wong, a fifth grader hailing from Altadena, California! She submitted the winning entry in the American Immigration Council's annual creative writing competition. You can read her entry here.
  4. We Apologize for any Inconvenience

    by , 06-01-2011 at 10:07 AM (Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy)
    This little email just popped up in my inbox:

    Dear Stakeholder -
     
    We wanted to make you aware of the following:
     
    The USCIS Verification Division in Washington, D.C., is closed today due to a power outage. Because of the power outage, E-Verify and SAVE Tier 2 customer support is currently not available. We are working with the telephone company to reroute calls to other offices. We apologize for any inconvenience.
     
    Kind regards,
     
    Office of Public Engagement
    U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
    www.uscis.gov/outreach

    This is the customer service function, not the actual E-Verify database, but it does make you wonder just how reliable the system is and whether it's really ready for prime time. In the private sector, a national provider like an AT&T or a Google wouldn't announce they're closed for the day because of a power outage. And what guarantees do we have that the actual database is secure? Now that states are mandating E-Verify usage, the inability to use the system or to access customer support becomes a serious question with potentially serious consequences for the national economy.
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