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  1. Conservative Blogger: 84 House Republicans Support Legalization

    by , 10-01-2013 at 11:40 AM (Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy)
    I've been reporting on Republicans that are specifically endorsing a path to citizenship, but Maria Santos at the Weekly Standard claims that 84 Republicans in the House are in favor of some sort of legalization for the 11 million people here without status and another 20 are thinking about it. The catch is not guaranteeing any sort of green card or citizenship status. But that doesn't mean people couldn't get green cards through family and employment categories that are already out there. 104 is tantalizingly close to meeting the so-called Hastert rule requiring a majority of Republicans be on board to move forward immigration legislation so there's reason to believe we're making progress. To see the list, go here.
  2. Petition: Bring the DREAM 30 Home

    by , 10-01-2013 at 10:08 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)

    The Petition:

    To President Obama & Peter Vincent, Office of General Counsel, Acting Director Sandweg:

    I write to ask that you allow the Dream 30 to come home, to reunite with their families here in the United States.

    These student’s stories mimic the stories of Dreamers still living here in the States. They have the same dreams, aspirations, hopes and fears. They represent the very real struggle many in our community go through, living as outsiders in what they consider home. This frustration is what forced many to leave, while others were deported.

    The Dream 30 are Americans; they’ve lived here in the United States since they were as young as 1. Most struggle to speak in their native tongue, facing discrimination in their native countries. Some have been rejected from schools, being told they are ‘foreign students,’ told they must re-do high school or other schooling in order to prove they can handle it. This all because, even in their native country, the Dream 30 are considered American.

    When we hear your administration talk about Dreamers, and what they have to provide for this country, we think of students like Marco. Marco was raised in Dallas, Texas, he grew up knowing he’d go to college and become something. At every turn came a road block and in May of 2012, just a month before DACA, Marco left for Mexico. Life in Mexico never improved for him, he wasn’t able to attend college, stuck just working, and then DACA happened and Marco saw all of his friends move forward.

    Marco’s Dreams are no different than the next person. Marco has Dreams of becoming a doctor, working with disabled children. The Dream 30 all have Dreams of giving back to their communities, here in America. I urge you to grant discretion for Marco and all of the Dream 30; Bring Them Home.

    I urge for you to open a door for talented young people like Marco. Young people who are American, who want nothing more than to be able to contribute to their communities. If allowed to return, Marco hopes to one day become a doctor working with children with disabilities. The plight and story of the Dream 30 is in line with Marco’s. I believe they should be allowed to seek the American Dream.

    Please allow for the Dream 30 to come home. #BringThemHome

    Click here to sign the petition.
  3. Dear House Republicans: Hate the Government? Go Live in a Country Without One

    At the heart of the Republicans' intransigence on the budget and the debt ceiling, and their willingness to shut our government down in order to (sort-of) block Obamacare, lies an utter contempt for America's government and its employees. A willingness to disrespect, blame, and penalize government "bureaucrats" for everything and anything. They love to quote President Reagan's old trope: "Government is the problem." Well, I have a proposal for you--if you hate government so much, why not try living in a country without one?

    As an asylum attorney, many of the people I represent come from countries without decent governments. They come to America because in their countries, there is no security, no jobs, no justice. Let me tell you about some of my clients.

    One is a woman from Afghanistan who was pushed into an engagement by her family and her fiance's family. The woman was highly educated and accomplished. In her job, she helped hundreds of people and she met with many high-level officials, including a U.S. Secretary of State. Her fiance threatened to kill her if she continued her work or education. Did her government help her? No, in Afghanistan, women have no rights when it comes to family matters. She had to come to our government for help, and she received asylum.

    I represented a policeman from Nepal who had worked and fought against Maoist guerrillas. Although many outside observers (including the U.S. government) consider the Maoists a terrorist group, they managed to enter politics and eventually take power in Nepal. The result was that when the guerrillas attempted to kill my client, there was no one to protect him. He fled the country and received refuge here.

    Another client was a man from El Salvador whose relatives were murdered by gang members. The Salvadoran government was unable to control the gang, and so the man fled to the U.S., where he received protection.

    I've represented an old lady from Iraq. A Shi'ite militia kidnapped her son. There was no one to protect the family, so she paid a ransom to have the son released. After that, the militia continued to extort and threaten her until she came to the U.S. and received asylum.

    The list goes on and on, and it's not just an absence of government; it's bad government: A Falun Gong practitioner who was beaten by Chinese officials; a Somali man, shot in the leg by militiamen; an Ethiopian political activist beaten and tortured by police; a political activist from Zimbabwe who was raped by police after she attended a political rally; a Rwandan Tutsi woman who saw her family members murdered in front of her; a Syrian doctor held in a torture prison; a Russian political activist stripped of his citizenship and threatened; a gay man from Egypt beaten by the police; a lesbian from Serbia who was gang raped. And on and on and on. And that's not counting all the corruption and discrimination that are endemic in most governments around the world, but which would not form the basis for an asylum claim.

    From my point of view, there is great value in an honest (or at least mostly honest) bureaucracy. To disrespect our government workers, to punish them and hold them hostage to a political agenda, and to crush their morale is not just a disgrace. It demonstrates a shocking naivete about how the world works, and about how governments and economies work. Such naivete might be excusable in a college freshman enchanted by Ayn Rand, but it is criminally negligent in an elected official.

    Since they don't have the votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act--a law that has been properly voted on and survived a Supreme Court challenge, not to mention the re-election of President Obama--House Republicans have just shut the government down. They couldn't do that to the United States and its employees unless they had utter contempt for those employees. That attitude moves our country in the direction of places without a good government; places like Somalia, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

    So, House Republicans, I invite you to visit countries where government really is the problem. Or speak to my clients, who understand all too well what that means. Maybe if you were not so ignorant, you would be a bit more respectful of the people who keep our country great, our government employees.

    Originally posted on the Asylumist:
    Tags: republicans Add / Edit Tags
  4. OSC Settles with IG concerning discrimination; by Bruce Buchanan, Siskind Susser

    The Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) reached an agreement with Infinity Group (IG), based in Clute, Texas and its related entities resolving allegations that the companies violated the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). IG provides project-based temporary skilled labor to client companies. IG entities, which utilized E-Verify, required non-citizens to present specific U.S. Department of Homeland Security-issued documents, such as Permanent Resident cards or Employment Authorization documents (EADS) to establish their identity and employment authorization while not making similar requests of U.S. citizens. Under the settlement agreement, IG will pay $53,800 in civil penalties to the United States; create a $35,000 back pay fund to compensate any individuals who suffered lost wages as a result of its practices; and train its human resources personnel on the INA’s anti-discrimination provision. This is approximately the 15th settlement that OSC has reached with employers in 2013, an indication of the high level of enforcement by OSC concerning the INA’s anti-discrimination provision. Employers should realize that their use of E-Verify can be a great benefit but it does not mean they cannot violate the immigration laws.
  5. The Shutdown Might Help CIR - If The GOP Right Wing Implodes. By Roger Algase

    October 1, 3:00 pm update:

    Politico reports on October 1 that the House is now offering to pass piecemeal funding bills - a few government offices at a time, but leaving out the big agencies that need funding the most. Democrats say they are not interested in this approach. See House GOP to vote on narrow funding bills.

    Does this remind anyone of the House's piecemeal bills dealing with immigration reform, which address only the margins of reform and do nothing to advance legalization or eventual citizenship for 11 million immigrants?

    Whenever the House Republicans want to stall and do nothing, whether on immigration reform or on reopening the government, they pretend to deal with the issue piecemeal. No one is likely to be fooled.

    The following is my original post.

    It is quite surprising, to say the least, that there has been almost no comment in the media, as far as I have seen, on the effect that the government shutdown will have on the immigration system.

    Of course, it should be business as usual at the USCIS (at least I hope so - I have two green card interviews which I am scheduled to attend this week - in New York and Philadelphia - and several time sensitive USCIS filings/RFE responses to send out), since that agency is funded by (exorbitant) filing fees, not by Congress. But what about people stuck overseas waiting for visas?

    How about employers who may not be able to receive LCA 's from the US Department of Labor which are required for H-1B filings, or PERM Labor Certifications needed for their employee's green card cases?

    Isn't the entire legal immigration system supposed to work as a contract between the government and immigration stakeholders: "You jump through all these complicated and expensive hoops for us, and then we'll (at least consider) doing something for you"?

    But with the shutdown, if the reports I have seen are correct, at least two federal agencies with key roles in the immigration bargain, the Department of Labor and the Department of State, will not be able to keep their commitments to the people they are supposed to serve.

    This is not to say that immigrants will be the only people hurt by the GOP right wing lunatic fringe's government shutdown - think of veterans who need VA services, low income people dependent on various government programs, and millions of other Americans who will also be affected by this cruel and cynical political gambit. But this is going beyond our topic.

    I have argued in a recent post that the shutdown could be the final nail in the coffin of CIR by diverting congressional - and media - attention away from the entire issue, so that reform can die a quiet death in the House while no one is looking and be buried in an unmarked GOP grave. This is hardly an original thought, and I am certainly not the only person who has raised this possibility.

    But there may actually be a silver lining in the shutdown. It might ultimately help the chances of reform by leading to an implosion in the Republican party which could destroy its power, or at least the power of its extreme right wing, to influence the outcome of any issues in the future, including immigration.

    We may not just be watching Vesuvius spewing lava and ash in order to bury Pompeii and Herculaneum in 79 AD, (there I go with my classics again) just as the House is erupting with poison pills to try to bury CIR, but we could be watching the GOP's extreme right wing volcano blowing up and destroying itself, as Krakatau did in 1883.

    (I want to thank my grandson Jack Levin, a 7-year old volcano buff, for providing inspiration for the above comment.)

    Michael Gerson, writing in the Washington Post in effect says the same thing, when he describes the infighting inside the various factions of the Republican Party. In his September 30 article The tea party's revolt against reality, he states:

    "Like many ideological factions, tea-party activists display a special intensity in fighting against the 'near enemy' - other elements in the right that don't share their tactics...

    So the Senate Conservatives Fund runs ads against Jeff Flake (R-Ariz), Richard Burr (R-NC) and other solid Senate conservatives for opposing a counterproductive strategy to defund Obamacare. The circle of tea-party purity is drawn so tightly that it excludes Sens. Tom Coburn (R-Okla), Jeff Sessions (R-Ala) and John Cornyn - some of the most reliably conservative members of Congress."
    (Emphasis added.)

    It is worth noting that three of the "reliably conservative" senators Gerson mentions represent almost the entire spectrum of opinion within the GOP on immigration reform. Jeff Flake is a pro-reform member of the Senate Gang of Eight which drafted CIR; John Cornyn is at best lukewarm on CIR but has been part of the negotiating process in the Senate, and Jeff Sessions, who reportedly has strong ties to anti-immigrant groups, is strongly opposed to any kind of immigration reform.

    Yet all three, with their divergent view on immigration, are beyond the Tea Party pale. This is only one indication of how extreme the Tea Party has become, with its potential, if not avowed goal, for tearing the GOP apart.

    Gerson also writes:

    "Tea-party populism, however, moved quickly beyond this point. We are no longer seeing a revolt against the Republican leadership, or even against the Republican "establishment"; this revolt is against anyone who accepts the constraints of political reality...

    This is reinforced by the development of an alternative establishment-including talk-radio personalities, a few vocal congressional leaders and organizations such as FreedomWorks and Heritage Action - that creates a self-reinforcing impression of its power to reshape politics (while lacking much real connection to the views of the broader electorate)."

    In other words, the battle within the Republican party is not just between its "moderate" and "conservative" wings, but within the right wing itself. The bottom line is that a small but powerful and well-financed group of extreme right ideologues are carrying on a battle against reality that threatens to destroy their own party from within.

    Just imagine for a moment, if the entire GOP were to self-destruct - or at least if its strident, anti-immigrant right wing were to do so. Then, without any Republicans - or at least far right ones - left, the road to immigration reform would finally be open.

    Wouldn't that be a nice thought?

    Updated 10-01-2013 at 03:25 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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