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  1. Are House Republicans Scared of a White Backlash Over CIR? By Roger Algase

    The House Republicans are apparently terrified of voting for immigration reform. Why? A July 30 National Journal Article: Inside Boehner's Strategy to Slow Walk Immigration to the Finish Line argues that the House's slow, piecemeal approach is actually a strategy to help reform's chances, not to kill reform.

    Here is the link:

    www.nationaljournal.com/congress/inside-boehner-s-strategy-to-slow-walk-immigration-to-the-finish-line-20130730

    The NJ article offers this explanation of why the House GOP leadership wants to wait until October before voting on immigration reform:

    "Keeping immigration on the back burner helps avoid a recess filled with angry town-hall meetings reminiscent of the heated August 2009 protests where the backlash against health care reform coalesced...

    'August was a central part of our discussions. People don't want to go home and get screamed at', a House GOP leadership aide said."

    The article also gives another reason for the delay:

    "But more than that, Republicans say, the delay in dealing with immigration helps them internally.

    After a special conference meeting on immigration July 10, Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy realized there was only enough support to pass tougher border security and maybe, beefed up stateside enforcement before August.

    But for Boehner, who by all accounts wants to see some kind of immigration reform pass, that raised serious strategic problems.

    First, passing tougher enforcement measures before August would take all the momentum away from other more divisive measures, such as giving 'Dreamers' the children brought to the US illegally, a legal option for staying in the country."

    The picture that emerges is of a House Republican caucus so afraid or unwilling to pass any kind of immigration reform that even a tentative measure such as some version of the DREAM Act (probably a scaled-down one, judging from other reports) is considered "divisive".

    What are the House Republicans so afraid of? According to the above quote, they are scared of their own, largely white, base. And well they might be. Look at some of the comments posted by NJ readers (who will remain nameless here) at the bottom of the article:

    Here's one:

    "If it's not OK for a person to break into your house, why is it OK for 12 million people to break into our Country?"


    And another:

    "I detest these people. Speaking of 'piece meal'. that's exactly how they're tearing this country apart."

    A third NJ reader comments:

    "Anti-Whites are flooding every country with non-Whites, which will cause White Genocide by violence, interbreeding and integration."

    And a fourth:

    "Boehner should be tried for high treason, along with all the filth that voted for ceding the USA to Mexico in the Senate and then all of them hung from the highest tree."

    Granted, almost any comment about immigration (or any other topic) in the popular media tends to attract more than its fair share of hate responses from right wing nut cases.

    But one other comment posted in response to the NJ article sums up perhaps better than anything else why House Republicans are so afraid to go ahead with real immigration reform, including a pathway to citizenship for up to 11 million people who are in the US without authorization:

    "The Republican establishment attempting to shove this down their base's throat is like watching a delusional fool committing suicide. They are vastly underestimating the memory, anger and punishing backlash they'll face from their base."

    Immigration reform supporters need to make sure that they are not fighting the wrong battle, just as generals have often been accused of fighting the last war. It is fine to quote statistics, facts and figures showing how much this or that immigrant group, or immigrants in general, will pay taxes, boost the economy and contribute to society. It is also important to make the case for fundamental fairness, humanitarian considerations, family unification and all our other traditional values as a nation of immigrants, not to mention the self-interest of both parties in appealing to America's fast growing number of Latino and Asian voters.

    But just as it took a head-on assault on racism against Americans of color to pass the civil right laws a half century ago, it will take the same type of battle against anti-immigrant racism in order to pass immigration reform now.






    Updated 07-31-2013 at 12:56 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  2. My Take on the DREAM 9 Activists

    by , 07-30-2013 at 04:47 PM (Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy)
    If you are following immigration lawyers closely on Twitter or you are an immigration lawyer on a couple of the busier Facebook forums geared toward that audience, you may have been following the plight of nine DREAM activists who are trying to illustrate the harsh consequences of our country's deportation policies by engaging in an incredibly risky protest. The activists crossed the border into Mexico with the hope of reentering along with others who were deported to Mexico and have been separated from their relatives in the US. The group certainly has been successful in calling attention to its issue but did not succeed in bringing themselves or anyone else back with them. The nine activists sought readmission to the US and and were denied. They then filed asylum claims, which explains why they are in a detention facility in Eloy, Arizona rather than simply stuck in Mexico. Huffington Post is reporting that the group is on a hunger strike.

    I'm not in a position to comment on the validity of the individual asylum claims (except to say that asylum in general is tough to win). Huffington Post reports that the lawyer for the DREAM 9 also is seeking humanitarian parole, and I do think it would be inhumane to keep this group in exile. But I'm uncomfortable with the subject because the protest is so risky as has already been demonstrated. I don't want to encourage others to have an unrealistic expectation that they would be able to get the same treatment from the government if the DREAM 9 is released on humanitarian parole. Nevertheless, humanitarian parole is appropriate in this case and should be granted quickly.

    The behavior of some Dream 9 supporters on social media, however, does not deserve the same level of admiration as the activists themselves. My friend David Leopold was quoted in the Huffington Post story to which I linked criticizing the tactics of the DREAM 9. He argued that the group hurt the broader cause of immigration reform. I personally don't believe that to be the case. However, David has been the subject of some pretty vicious attacks online that became personal or certainly smacked of a campaign to smear him rather than arguing his points on the merits. This, despite the fact that David's been a tireless pro-immigration advocate for decades. If the DREAM 9’s goal is to win hearts and minds to the cause, some of the hateful voices of their supporters are certainly detracting from this worthy goal.
  3. House Moves Ahead on Immigration Reform - With Poison Pills. By Roger Algase

    I will begin with a Jewish story that must be at least a century old, if not much older: a well known Rabbi in Warsaw announces to his disciples that he has had a vision in which he was able to see all the way to Cracow. His disciples are amazed that in that bygone era of no Skype, texting or instant TV feeds (yes, there was once such a time), the Rabbi can see all the way to a different city.

    But unfortunately, the Rabbi has bad news. In his vision, he saw that a famous Rabbi in Cracow had died and his funeral was in process. Greatly saddened, the Jewish community of Warsaw goes into mourning for the Cracow Rabbi.

    However, a few days later, a visitor arrives in Warsaw from the Cracow Jewish community and stops by to greet the Warsaw Rabbi. He is met by one of the Rabbi's disciples, who immediately offers his sympathy and condolences for the death of the Rabbi in Cracow.

    "What are you talking about?" says the visitor. "The Cracow Rabbi whom you mention happens to be very much alive and is in excellent health!"

    When the visitor is told about the Warsaw Rabbi's vision, he laughs and says "I'm sorry, but your Rabbi has no special powers. Everything he told you about our Cracow Rabbi's death was absolutely false."

    The Warsaw Rabbi's disciple answers indignantly: "What do you mean? Even if what our Rabbi saw in Cracow wasn't true, the fact that he was still able to see all the way to Cracow is simply amazing!"

    I am reminded of this story when I read some of the encouraging reports in the media about how immigration reform is not really in deep trouble in the House, but progress is being made. Just wait a few more months - October at the earliest, we are told - and we will have a "necklace" of piecemeal bills which can then be reconciled in conference with the Senate's CIR bill, S.744, and all will be well for reform.

    This is a nice vision, but does it square with the reality of what is going on in the House? Not according to POLITICO's July 19 report: Menu for House GOP: Immigration a la carte. (Sorry, my keyboard doesn't have French accent marks). The link is:

    dyn.politico.com/printstory.cfm?uuid=D7B39B4D-0157-4C28-9041-B4597C6C3C40

    The above article, by Seung Min Kim, one of POLITICO's very able staff of immigration reporters, mentions five immigration bills which House Republicans have already passed in committee and are awaiting votes by the full House. Four of these passed in committee without a single Democratic vote.

    The first bill deals with border security. Based on POLITICO's description, this scaled down bill may actually make more sense than the Senate's $46.3 billion hi-tech boondoggle for defense contractors. Unlike the other measures discussed below, it appears to be an improvement compared to S.744.

    The second House bill deals with temporary foreign agricultural workers. It has what would appear to be a generous cap 500,000 visas, and unauthorized immigrants who are already here would be allowed to join the program.

    But then they would have to leave in three years and there would be no pathway to a green card or citizenship - poison pill number one.

    The third is a bill for high-skilled workers. This one is similar to the Senate provisions, except that it would not clear the backlog for green cards. Arguably, this may be another poison pill.

    Both the House and Senate hi-tech bills also eliminate the diversity green card lottery, which has helped tens, or hundreds, of thousands of African and Caribbean immigrants over the past two decades. What is the point of this gratuitous racism, except to show how much the Republicans hate black immigrants?

    The fourth bill deals with interior enforcement and is loaded with poison pills. It would give state and local officials the power to enforce federal immigration laws, and would make illegal presence in the US a crime.

    This is a throwback to the notorious Sensenbrenner bill, H.R. 4437, that the Republican-controlled House passed back in 2005. In some respects, that bill would have made the subsequent Arizona and Alabama anti-immigrant hate laws look mild by comparison.

    Passing the current House version would also put Sheriff Joe, with his raids in Latino neighborhoods and desert tent jails, back in business.

    Last comes an E-verify bill. This has another big poison pill, if not the most vindictive and irrational one of all: if E-verify is not in place within five years, unauthorized immigrants in provisional legal status would lose their status and go back to being without any status or protection against deportation.

    Some people may look at these House Republican poison pills as signs of progress toward immigration reform. The Warsaw Rabbi had his vision too.


    Posted by Roger Algase
    July 30, 2013



    Updated 07-30-2013 at 09:50 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs (Correct title)

  4. Nine-Year-Old Child's Political Activism Helps Stop Parents' Deportation

    by , 07-30-2013 at 08:17 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    Here is another example of what winning the public relations war can do to help stop a deportation. The video below is then nine-year-old Katherine Figueroa pleading for the release of her parents who were held for three months prior to their release.

    The Huffington Post reports that four years later her parents' case has been administratively closed by an immigration immigration judge.

  5. Members of Congress Write President Obama on behalf of the #DREAM9

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