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Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal

Pew Research Survey: Deportation Relief Seen As More Important Than Citizenship

Rating: 2 votes, 4.50 average.
Pew Research has released a survey that found that to Hispanic and Asian Americans deportation relief is seen as more important than a pathway to citizenship. This comes as no surprise to anyone that practices deportation defense.

From the survey:

By 55% to 35%, Hispanics say that they think being able to live and work in the United States legally without the threat of deportation is more important for unauthorized immigrants than a pathway to citizenship. Asian Americans hold a similar view, albeit by a smaller margin—49% to 44%.

Together Hispanics and Asian Americans account for two-thirds of the 28 million immigrants who are in the U.S. legally, and Hispanics alone account for about three-quarters of the additional 11.7 million immigrants who, according to Pew Research Center estimates, are in the country illegally.

Here's the problem. There are powerful forces that are demanding a pathway to citizenship as a central component of immigration reform legislation, which we all know will result is reform's failure, and is one of the main reasons why the Senate Bill was dead on arrival. You have to question the motivations of the people taking an all or nothing approach. To me it is more likely that they want to see reform fail so they can continue to use immigration as a wedge issue in 2014 and 2016. They are playing politics by trying to "win" the immigration reform debate, rather than fighting for actual reform that stops deportations, and provides legality that brings millions of people out of the shadows. So long as immigration reform legislation doesn't preclude citizenship through normal channels it is worthy of consideration.

The client I represented today in Federal Court is a father of two United States citizen children, and he is married to a Green Card holder. He and his family could really care less if reform includes an automatic pathway to citizenship. He just doesn't want to have his family destroyed by deportation. This study reveals that he is in the majority.

Here is the bottom line: If you want immigration reform in 2014 you better be willing to accept a solution that does not have a baked in pathway to citizenship. It really is that simple.

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Updated 12-19-2013 at 03:16 PM by MKolken

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Comments

  1. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    I agree that focusing on a pathway to citizenship would give the Republicans an excuse to scuttle reform and blame the Democrats for overreach.

    However, we should not be so naive as to think that the Republicans are interested in any reform deal, even one without a "special" pathway to citizenship, which would include legalization, or any form of relief from deportation, for 11 million unauthorized immigrants. If they are, why is even Paul Ryan now denouncing "amnesty" (see my December 19 post)?

    And where is the House Republican committee bill that would provide any relief from deportation for more than, perhaps, a handful of DREAMERS?

    Yes, Matt is right. Relief from deportation is the most fundamental issue of all. It will also ultimately, I believe, turn out to be the biggest battle of all, as long as the Tea Party continues to dominate the House Republican caucus.

    Caving in on citizenship may be necessary at some point, in order to get a reform deal. But even that will not assure that one can be reached, as long as a powerful wing of the GOP continues to engage in the fantasy that 11 million men, women and children can in fact be kicked out, or forced to "self-deport" though "attrition".

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    New York NY
    Updated 12-19-2013 at 05:22 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  2. Jack2's Avatar
    "He and his family could really care less if reform includes an automatic pathway to citizenship."

    I once saw an interview with a veteran immigration lawyer who said that he has never had a client say that becoming a U.S. citizen was their paramount concern.

    Politicians and activists who sniff at legalization without citizenship love to engage in "out of the shadows" demagoguery. Obviously it is just sanctimony and they do not care what the affected aliens want, just what's in it for them from a political or power standpoint.
  3. Jack2's Avatar
    "why is even Paul Ryan now denouncing 'amnesty'?"

    Because it's de rigueur. Does not every pro-mass legalization politician denounce "amnesty" (or at least claim that what they support is not that)?

    He also says, "we should always uphold the rule of law" which makes no sense for a pro-mass legalization politician to say. By definition, if rule of law must be upheld, then legalization must be opposed.
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