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  1. Congressional Republicans Speak Out Against House CIR Obstruction. By Roger Algase

    An update to my October 25 post mentioned a Politico article GOP leaders hit from within describing the anger and frustration of on House Republican, Rep. Joe Heck of Nevada, over the news that the GOP leadership has ruled out voting on reform this year.

    Now another House Republican has spoken up. Politico reports that GOP Rep. Jeff Denham (CA) has announced his support for the House Democratic version of CIR, which he called a "good solution". See Jeff Denham open to House immigration bill, October 26.

    Meanwhile, the Huffingfton Post reports on October 26 that Tennessee Republican Senator Lamar Alexander, who voted for CIR and is now facing a Tea Party primary challenge, has spoken out against the Tea Party in a Washington Post interview. See, GOP Senator Breaks Ranks From Tea Party: "I'm In The Take-Charge-Of-The-Government Crowd."

    Finally, a few courageous Congressional Republicans are beginning to stand up against the Tea Party's tyranny. We will need more of them if CIR is to come back to life.

    Updated 10-28-2013 at 08:22 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

  2. Republican and Democrat Tell Parties to Cut the Partisan Games on Immigration Reform

    by , 10-26-2013 at 12:23 PM (Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy)
    Elise Foley at Huffington Post reports that Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) and Joe Heck (R-NV) each are criticizing members of their own party for thwarting progress on immigration legislation in order to inflict political damage on the opposing party. From Huffington Post:

    Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) said this week that some Democrats are trying to undermine his and others' work with Republicans on immigration, just so they can keep the issue for a political edge.

    "When someone does reach across the aisle to say, 'Hey, let's work on this issue together,' what do we get? 'Hey, why are you helping them?'" he said on the House floor Wednesday, explaining what he hears from other Democrats. "I've heard it. When I stood with [Reps.] David Valadao [R-Calif.] or Paul Ryan [R-Wis.] to say immigration reform is an objective we can reach in a bipartisan manner, I heard from the Democrats, 'Stop working with them, we're trying to defeat them.'"


    There are internal tensions on the Republican side as well from members pushing for reform. Rep. Joe Heck (R-Nev.), who has been targeted by immigration advocates because of a high Latino population in his district, issued a statement on Friday expressing disappointment that the "House Republican leadership may punt the issue until 2014 for political reasons."

    "Itís extremely frustrating and very disappointing to hear reports that the House does not plan on voting on immigration reform legislation this year," Heck said. "This is yet another example of the leadership vacuum in Washington that rightly has so many people frustrated with this dysfunctional Congress."

    Both are going out on a limb criticizing their colleagues and revealing what is actually going on. Immigration is a convenient wedge issue for members of both parties even though in private most would agree that we need an immigration bill. The irony is that passing a bill would generate political benefits for both parties at a time when each is held in relatively low esteem by the public.
  3. Obama Administration Playing Politics with the DREAM 30 Asylum Seekers

    by , 10-25-2013 at 02:19 PM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)
    It appears that the Obama administration is employing a double standard in the adjudication of the DREAM 30's credible fear interviews. 9 of 25 (36%) have been denied despite the fact that the individuals were all able to articulate a significant possibility of persecution on account of an enumerated ground for asylum. The national average for denials is 9.4%.

    From the information I have received none of the denials were based on adverse credibility, which is most telling as the "significant possibility" threshold is principally determined after an assessment of the statements made by the applicant during pre-screening.

    The only adverse credible fear determinations I've ever heard of involve non-English speakers, that are unrepresented by counsel, with obvious discrepancies in their border interviews. In sum, almost everyone passes their credible fear interview. It should also be noted that all 9 of the DREAM 9 passed their credible fear interviews. It should also be noted that I've never had a single client in the entirety of my career fail to establish credible fear at the border. It is almost unheard of.

    Looks like the administration is making an example out of the DREAM 30 in order to make a political point. Nothing like playing politics with the lives of immigrants.

    Par for the course.

    Updated 10-25-2013 at 02:27 PM by MKolken

  4. ICE Detainee Commits Suicide in Prison Cell After Deportation Order

    by , 10-25-2013 at 10:47 AM (Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal)

    ICE detainee passes away at York County Prison

    YORK, Pa. Ė A female citizen of Antigua in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) passed away Wednesday at the York County Prison of an apparent suicide.

    Tiombe Carlos, 34, was found unresponsive in her cell Wednesday. York County prison officials immediately contacted emergency services who attempted to revive her while heading to York Hospital. York Hospital pronounced her deceased at 10:13 p.m.

    On June 21, 2012, an immigration judge ordered Carlos removed to Antigua.

    ICE has notified the Antigua and Barbuda consulate. Consistent with ICE protocol, the appropriate state health and local law enforcement agencies have also been informed.

    ICE takes incidents like this very seriously, and is undertaking a comprehensive agency-wide review of this detainee death. This review will be conducted by agency senior leadership to include Enforcement and Removal Operations, the Office of Detention Policy and Planning, the Office of Professional Responsibility and the Office of the Principal Legal Advisor.

  5. Dems Thinking About Taking Up Piecemeal Approach

    by , 10-25-2013 at 10:11 AM (Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy)
    The Republican demand that immigration reform be done in a piecemeal fashion rather than in a comprehensive bill got a major boost after President Obama indicated yesterday he would consider switching to that approach. According to the LA Times:

    After months of insisting the House should take up the comprehensive immigration bill that passed the Senate in June, President Obama changed tactics Thursday and said he might consider GOP proposals to overhaul separate parts of the immigration system.


    In remarks at the White House, Obama hinted that he was no longer tied to the Senate bill, the elaborate product of months of intense bipartisan negotiations, to achieve what he has called a major priority for his second term.
    Obama instead signaled that he might consider a package of smaller bills, if necessary, as long as they provide a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million people in the country without legal status.

    "If House Republicans have new and different additional ideas on how we should move forward, then we want to hear them. I'll be listening," Obama told several dozen pro-reform activists from labor, business and religious groups.

    Here's how it might play out. The Republicans already have five immigration bills that have passed in committee - agricultural guest workers, E-Verify, the SAFE Act, skilled workers and border security. They have at least another half dozen in the development stage including legalization bills and a broad guest worker bill. If they all passed, they would cover a substantial portion of the subjects covered in the Senate's single bill. The Senate could meet the GOP demand for piecemeal legislating by breaking it's bill up and separately passing new bills that are matched up to the House bills.

    I've heard comments publicly as well as behind the scenes where Republicans in the House are attacking the idea of conferencing with the Senate if the bill they're conferencing with is S. 744. When asked why they have such a problem with the Senate bill, it often comes down to being upset with the Senate's path to citizenship approach for legalized individuals. And while that concern could very well be addressed in a conference committee over S. 744 and the House bills, there's also politics at play where House members want to be the drivers of immigration lawmaking. Switching to a piecemeal structure for immigration reform would allow the House Republicans to claim a victory over the Senate since their bills would dictate the agenda of the conference.

    The President said he would support piecemeal legislating if the GOP includes a path to citizenship. In conversations with GOP staffers, I believe the GOP will likely permit legalized individuals to pursue green cards through existing paths rather than in the new category created by S. 744. The key will be figuring out how to get everyone processed in a reasonable time frame since existing green card quotas are clearly inadequate to absorb this population. But there are ways to do this and we'll have to see what is in the bill that the GOP decides to take up on legalization. If the GOP can come up with a reasonable solution, then a deal could very well be struck.

    I hope the Democrats in the House and Senate don't reflexively reject the piecemeal approach. They need to keep their eyes on the prize and not get hung up on the process. If they can get 75% of what they want by going piecemeal, that's a lot better than rolling the dice on the Democrats eventually getting control of the House and getting a better bill. If you poll the immigrant communities in this country (as well as the general public), they're likely to be open to a pragmatic, compromise-oriented approach. Many advocacy groups will have a hard time swallowing this, but there is nothing sacrosanct about fixing every problem in one bill. Get what you can now and continue to work to improve the system in future Congresses.
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