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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

Guest Column: The Dream is Alive - By Tom Roach

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Words from my friend Tom Roach, an immigration lawyer in Pasco, Washington (www.roachlaw.com)


President Barack Obama recently signed an executive order that will give an estimated 800,000 young people who are illegally in the U.S. "deferred action" status and a work permit. That was a bold thing for the president to do; it was also a good thing for him to do.


The beneficiaries of this new policy must meet the following criteria: have been brought to the U.S. before they were 16 years of age; prove they have been here continuously for the past 5 years; have graduated from high school, completed a G.E.D., or be presently enrolled in high school or a G.E.D. program. In addition, they must be at least 15 but less than 31 years of age and not have been convicted of any serious crimes.


The anti-immigration crowd--Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck and the others--call it "back door amnesty". I call it common sense.


I have practiced immigration law in eastern Washington--farm country--for the past 29 years. In that time I've met hundreds of these kids. My guess is that Rush, Sean or Glenn have never met one.


Last year I met Maria (not her real name). She was her high school senior class president and is now enrolled at University of Washington. I know Guadalupe who had no government loans and recently graduated from Gonzaga University. Just last month José was in the office. He completed his architecture degree at Washington State University, again without a nickel of government help.


These kids are bright, tenacious, undeterred and in the U.S. illegally. And, as hard as it is for the "antis" to picture it, these kids are a significant part of the future of America.


They were brought to the U.S. by their parents when they were just kids. They have zero culpability for the predicament they find themselves in. They've been educated at taxpayer expense, they've completed or are in high school, they have clean records and they are good kids-- just like their native-born citizen classmates.     They are going to be the taxpayers who can help save our decrepit Social Security and Medicare systems. The U.S. is the only place that they know as home.


The idea of throwing out 800,000 clean cut "All-American" kids who are on the verge of making significant contributions to this country is the height of asininity.


We should applaud Barack Obama for doing the right thing on this issue. Sure there was a political calculation in his executive order, but politicians are known for doing things for political reasons. Polls show that fully two-thirds of Americans support this "DREAM Act-Lite" Proposal.


The response from the Republicans to the "Deferred Action" proposal has been predictable. Virtually none have endorsed it and most oppose it. Mitt Romney criticizes it by saying it's "short term" and "not comprehensive".


I ask the Republicans: What ever happened to "compassionate conservatives" who can see the value in a proposal like this? What ever happened to practicality? What ever happened to common sense?


The Republicans have been saying for years that only when we gain control of the border should we consider legalizing the people here. Well, that day has arrived. The last 2 years have seen the fewest number of people trying to cross our southern border in forty years.


So, if there was ever an element in the immigration debate that can serve as a catalyst to move this issue forward, it is the President's DREAM ACT Deferred Action policy.


The American people support it, the Democrats support it and it's time for Republicans to approach the immigration issue in an adult fashion and support this initiative, too.



 


 

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  1. Jack's Avatar
    "They have zero culpability for the predicament they find themselves in."

    OK, so what does your friend wish to do with the parents who are culpable? I'll go out on a limb and guess: they get to stay. How about unlawfully present people who do not have any children? I'm guessing they get to stay too. That's why these type articles are deceptive--the authors (probably to a man) want EVERYONE to stay, not just a category.



  2. Legal and no longer waiting's Avatar
    "OK, so what does your friend wish to do with the parents who are culpable?"

    Well, first, pleaseunderstand that under the current law, the parents do not suffer any consequencies for bringing the kids illegally. If the parents are eligible for green card, they will get it, and the same is with the citizenship. And even without this law, under the current system the parents generally get to stay. Granted, probably illegally, but the probability of deportation is so low, you know that ALL will get to stay.

    This is not about who gets to stay and who does not. It is about your inability to point at someone [likely more accomplished that you are] and say that they are illegal and don't belong in this country. It would not change much, but it would make you feel better, would not it?
  3. Another Voice's Avatar
    "the authors (probably to a man) want EVERYONE to stay, not just a category."

    Only blind ideologues like you Jack and today's reopublican party prefer to continue to be short sided and keep the blinders on instead of solving the immigration issue and fix the system that is outdated and broken. Nobody is looking for recognition but people do want solutions from their elected officials so far the republican agenda is BLOC everything and collect a paycheck for doing nothing other than running for re-election......nice job. The good news is that people DO NOT support this position and YOU and your folks are in the minority which will get smaller by the day if not by the minute.
  4. my 2 cents's Avatar
    "800,000 clean cut "All-American" kids who are on the verge of making significant contributions to this country."


    How about fixing the legal immigration system for EB before talking about the illegals? They are already contributing to the US. Why not fix that first? Secondly exactly how many of the 800, 000 or more correctly 1.5 million (per a recent news article) of the "all american" kids are/would contribute "significantly". A few thousand bright students amongst the 1.5 million do not make the case to justify this!!! The exec order is a election year gimmick to get the Hispanic votes (can't win without them). Why didn't he do it when the DREAM Act failed, if he was really compassionate about their plight.
  5. my 2 cents's Avatar
    AV, it's not just the Republicans, the Democrats are equally responsible for the immigration mess.
  6. Sa's Avatar
    "How about fixing the legal immigration system for EB before talking about the illegals? They are already contributing to the US. Why not fix that first? Secondly exactly how many of the 800, 000 or more correctly 1.5 million (per a recent news article) of the "all american" kids are/would contribute "significantly". A few thousand bright students amongst the 1.5 million do not make the case to justify this!!! The exec order is a election year gimmick to get the Hispanic votes (can't win without them). Why didn't he do it when the DREAM Act failed, if he was really compassionate about their plight. "

    Do these "kids" get to apply for social security number? If they can obtain social security number , its only matter of time before these SSNs and EADS end up in the hands of "illegal family members" who will use them to work .
  7. Another Voice's Avatar
    How Immigrants Are Changing the Look of US Businesses

    "The popular belief is that immigrants, legal or otherwise, take away American jobs. They really don't," Jain argues. "They create jobs and make the economy bigger."

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/48646997
  8. Another Voice's Avatar
    Jack the hits just keep on coming for the closed minded close biorder folks too bad about those thiungs called facts....stay in fantasy land much more pleasant for you there.

    "Bloomberg says he knows of no other way to help the economy "as quickly and cost free" as opening the borders to those who would start up new businesses that create new jobs."
  9. Amused's Avatar
    Sa, whether it is a gimmick or not and whether the timing is political or not, the fact is that it was the right thing to do. Let's not make this a zero sum game where you have to keep questioning why the EB problem is not being resolved. Whatever can be done without legislative gridlock should be done, since Congress does not want to take any responsibility. Romney is classic here...his party says comprehensive is bad, he criticizes the measure because it is not comprehensive. But still, EB relief like 2 year EAD, combo EAD/AP, change in the way H4 clocks run and clarification of same and similar rules are all similar administrative steps to help EB immigrants. Many of us worked actively for those and we shouldn't ignore the success in getting them through with the support of the administration.
  10. Khalidiq's Avatar
    Well, first, pleaseunderstand that under the current law, the parents do not suffer any consequencies for bringing the kids illegally. If the parents are eligible for green card, they will get it, and the same is with the citizenship. And even without this law, under the current system the parents generally get to stay. Granted, probably illegally, but the probability of deportation is so low, you know that ALL will get to stay.

    This is not about who gets to stay and who does not. It is about your inability to point at someone [likely more accomplished that you are] and say that they are illegal and don't belong in this country. It would not change much, but it would make you feel better, would not it?


    It will just spread the wrong message to the future generation of immigrants. You want to come to US? Bring your under 16 children and stay illegally for 5 years. That's it. Yiu get GC.

    The better solution is to deport all these parents who came here ILLEGALLY, not undocumented, and according to their will. Let these kids sponsor them back. Let also the kids know value of money so they can gather that much i.e. means paying taxes to US. This is the way to at least show a way to stop ILLEGAL immigration in future. US already gave one amnesty, how many more do they need?
  11. Jack's Avatar


    "solving the immigration issue and fix the system that is outdated and broken."

    And your fix is what? Removing all caps? And if you can't get that de jure, just get unlimited immigration de facto through non-enforcement of law, separation of powers be damned, right? And if a "CIR" bargain became law, whatever enforcement passed should be ignored, obstructed, etc.--unlimited immigration by any means necessary.



  12. Legal and no longer waiting's Avatar
    "It will just spread the wrong message to the future generation of immigrants. You want to come to US? Bring your under 16 children and stay illegally for 5 years. That's it. Yiu get GC."

    Huh? Not that I am surprised in any way that you are totally and absolutely misunderstanding the meaning of the deferred deportation, but you do. The Obama directive does not provide neither eligibility for a green card neither for children nor for the parents, nor it removes grounds for inadmissibility. Reading comprehension fail.

    "The better solution is to deport all these parents who came here ILLEGALLY,"

    Are you willing to pay $20K per person to deport and send the country into a spiraling multi-year depression? The law is stupid and it needs to be to changed.
  13. Legal and no longer waiting's Avatar
    Jack, relax. Unlimited immigration is what built this nation. It has always been unlimited - then and now. Everywhere. Everybody is doing fine.
  14. Amused's Avatar
    Kahlidiq you really don't seem to have understood the executive order or current immigration law. Neither do the parents get any additional rights nor do the kids get any residency rights.All that happend was the the children get temporary protection until Congress gets its act together. Sponsoring parents, even if these kids were to become citizens, which is at least a decade away at this point, would be a very complicated process. The parents remain under 10 year inadmissibility bars and the kids need to be 18, citizens and show sufficient income for support. All a far cry without a substantial change in law, which is not forthcoming....
  15. gg's Avatar
    Based on the "Defer the Bullshit" workshop, this video is a basic introduction to Prosecutorial Discretion, Deferred Action and some of the key risks for undocumented youth who voluntarily apply.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=lmaf-BckDL0
  16. khalidiq's Avatar
    I actually understand the meaning of deferred action, which is 2 year EAD. The only question is when those parents who are staying illegaly right now and most probably working without SSN i.e.eading taxes are going to be deported? I think it is still a crime to live illegaly in any nation. Plus they still have so called home back in their country.

    For the kids I never said anything about. But again this deferred action is a path to citizenship and nobody can deny that. If anybody thinks otherwise please correct me.

    Again and again, the parents who willingly broke the law and still staying illegaly must be deported. Anybody thinking different let us know what will be the status of those parents and what action should be taken.
  17. Legal and no longer waiting's Avatar
    "I think it is still a crime to live illegaly in any nation"

    Well, maybe you should not speak of other countries when you don't even know that it is NOT a crime to live illegally in the US. Immigration knowledge fail. Understanding civil society fail.

    I suggest you work on your spelling first.
  18. Sa's Avatar
    "Based on the "Defer the Bullshit" workshop, this video is a basic introduction to Prosecutorial Discretion, Deferred Action and some of the key risks for undocumented youth who voluntarily apply."

    Only this administration create application forms for "kids" where they dont ask for parents names. They designed it deliberately not to ask any information about parents so that all the illegal immigrants that claim to be younger than 30 can apply in the EAD scheme.
  19. khalidiq's Avatar
    NOT a crime to live illegally in the US

    How about taking some efforts to read title8 Section 1325. which says, "Title 8 Section 1325 of the U.S. Code makes it a misdemeanor and 6 months in jail for the first offense, and a felony and 2 years in prison for the second offense when you enter this country illegally without authorization from federal authorities" and yes, Misdemeanor, even if it is lesser, still a crime.

    Oh,about the spelling mistakes, it's 4.3" cellphone screen. Please don't act as if you are Charles Butler.

  20. Another Voice's Avatar
    "Misdemeanor, even if it is lesser, still a crime."

    By this logic the whole population of the US is a criminal even you have just gotten a speeding ticket....really man that is how silly you want to get(trying to repect Greg's blog here not really saying what I am thinking of your posts)!!!
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