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Letters of the Week: June 9 - June 13

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  1. Kenneth Rinzler's Avatar
    The AILA Annual Meeting Will Be A Train Wreck - As Described by Mike Owens in An Email

    AILA

    T. Douglas Stump, President
    Board of Governors
    Election Judges

    __________________________________________________ __________


    Dear Ladies and Gentlemen:

    This email requests that the national officers of AILA, its Board of Governors and its Election Judges to take immediate action to avert what is clearly a looming disaster of an Annual Meeting.

    To this end, there are three critical issues that must be resolved or remediated before the meeting.

    First, the time allotted for the meeting is entirely inadequate.

    Second, the absence of any kind of a time schedule for the agenda exacerbates the already critical time problem and makes it impossible for the participants to plan meaningfully for the conduct of the meeting.

    Third, the announced intention of President Doug Stump to assume discretionary voting authority on procedural matters in the name of those Members whose proxies he holds for substantive voting on the amendments must be reconsidered.
    ______________________________

    1. INADEQUATE TIME

    The meeting is scheduled to run from 5:30 pm to 6:45 pm, 75 minutes.

    As you know, one of the six topics scheduled for the meeting is the debate and voting on six proposed bylaw amendments.

    On 04 June 2014, Susan Quarles sent an email to Russell Abrutyn and me, as the proponents of the five proposed amendments that AILA opposes, that included the following description of what is planned for the portion of the Annual Meeting allocated to the bylaw debate and vote:
    Good afternoon gentlemen. We finalized the Annual Membership Meeting agenda this afternoon (see below) and I wanted to share it with you along with the logistics for introducing the bylaw amendments, discussion, and voting.

    We will introduce the bylaw proposals one by one, give the proponent a few minutes to make a statement in favor, give another individual a few minutes to make a statement against the proposal, then open the floor for general discussion. There will be two floor mikes in the room and we will designate one as ?for? comments and one as ?against? comments. That way the chair of the meeting can alternate between sides to give equal time.

    This process will continue until all six proposals have been introduced and debated. We will need to set a time limit in order to have time for discussion on all six amendments. Once the last bylaw proposal has been debated, we will call for the collection of all proxy votes and all direct votes. They will then be delivered to the judges to count.

    The foregoing foresees for each amendment an introduction, at least two speakers, one pro and one contra, each of whom will be allowed to speak for ?a few minutes?, followed by ?general discussion? of the amendment. Such a process cannot possibly comprise less than 10 minutes per amendment. (And these paltry proceedings will make a mockery of the argument by opponents of Amendment #6 that only those Members present at the Annual Meeting, and who experience the enlightening, comprehensive, on-site debates, are qualified to vote on amendments.) THEN, the several hundred Members in attendance must deposit their ballots, along those cast by proxy holders.

    The bylaw debate and voting portion of the meeting will consume not less than one hour, 60 of the planned 75 minutes of the meeting.

    2. NO SCHEDULE FOR AGENDA

    To make matters worse, the published agenda provides no schedule showing how the available 75 minutes are to be allocated among the six agenda topics.

    The recently published agenda for the meeting is:
    June 19, 2014 Annual Meeting Agenda:

    I. Welcome & Opening Remarks
    II. Election of Directors and Officers
    III. 2013-2014 Chapter Awards Presentation
    IV. Required Reports
    2013 Audited Financial Statement
    Membership Report as of May 31, 2014
    V. Consideration and Vote on Proposed Bylaw Amendments
    The six bylaw amendments
    VI. New Business
    VII. Adjournment

    The agenda omits the customary, and in AILA traditional, starting and ending times for each topic. This makes it impossible for participants to reasonably plan for the meeting. It also encourages AILA to temporarily avoid confronting the reality that there simply are not enough minutes to go around.

    Ignoring this fact on the Agenda may be convenient for now, but it cannot prevent the chaos that will ensue at the meeting.

    3. UNAUTHORIZED VOTING BY THE PRESIDENT

    I pointed out weeks ago that the bylaw proxy form distributed and promoted by AILA (with AILA President Doug Stump as proxy holder) was defective because it omitted, indeed specifically withholds, the traditional grant of authority for the proxy holder to exercise discretionary voting authority on matters beyond the substantive votes on the six amendments. Rather than remedy the situation while there was still time, AILA did nothing.

    06 June 2014 on President Stump?s thread ?Request for Parliamentarian and Voting of Assigned Proxies at Annual Meeting?, President Stump announced that
    I intend to vote each proxy to give effect to the underlying wishes of the grantor of the proxy. So, for example, if 25 grantors said on their proxy to vote "yes" on a particular amendment, and an allowable motion is made that would tend to cause that motion to be defeated, I would vote those 25 proxies against that motion. If 20 grantors said to vote "no" on that amendment, I would vote those 20 proxies for the motion. I believe this is the only fair way to give voice to each grantor who has designated me as proxy.

    A nice gesture. A little late. But apart from the fact that it?s probably illegal, there are other problems.

    First legality. As I mentioned in my responsive post on the Message Center on 06 June:
    . . . you'd better look at your proxy form. It clearly says:

    "The proxy holder may act in the same manner and to the same extent and with the same power as I could act if I were personally present at the AILA Annual Membership Meeting, subject to the instructions and restrictions on the next page.

    * * * * *

    "I direct my proxy holder to vote on my behalf only as follows:"

    [and then lists the six amendments, and NOTHING ELSE.]

    (Emphasis provided.)

    We all speak English. What do you think those words mean? New York law pretty clearly requires proxy holders to comply with the terms of the proxy.

    Second, the presumption on which President Stump?s announced intention to vote the intent of the proxy holder is predicated, is impossible to implement. Some votes might be relatively reliably divined. For example, if the proxy is marked YES for Amendment #6, then it would probably be correct to assume that the proxy giver would want President Stump to vote AGAINST a procedural motion to table the motion indefinitely or to adjourn the meeting without a vote on the amendment. But what about a motion to amend the proposed amendment? That would obviously depend on the content and effect of the amendment. And how it affected the possible substantive vote for approval of the amendment. What about a vote to end debate? So, apart from the law, there are compelling logical reasons why proxy holders cannot simply arrogate to themselves voting authority that is absent from the proxy.

    Third, unlike the ?98% Proxy Form? that grants the proxy holder complete discretionary voting on all procedural issues coming before the meeting, President Stump?s assumed authority is tied to each proxy?s substantive vote on each of the six amendments. As I also explained in my post on the Message Center on 06 June:
    Votes on the six amendments can be challenged or moved forward individually. This means that there will probably be separate procedural votes on each (in any event, one must be prepared for such). Unlike the "98% Proxy Form", which by its terms gives the proxy holder discretion to vote as needed on procedural matters, President Stump has pledged to use his invented procedural vote to advance the proxy giver's intent on the underlying substantive vote for each amendment as it appears in the AILA proxy. This means that before the procedural vote takes place on, for example, Amendment #3, AILA election judges must tally the FOR and AGAINST votes for Amendment #3, e.g., 534 FOR, 187 AGAINST, and President Stump must then vote procedurally in accordance with those vote totals. Same for each and every one of the six amendments.

    Of course, this complex tallying of underlying substantive votes can't be done at the meeting. It must be done in advance, for all six amendments on all of the AILA proxies, whether 100, 1,000 or more. But the 2014 Election Protocol clearly mandates that vote counting is to be carried out at the meeting, solely by the eight election judges in the presence of interested Members. Sounds like it's time to write some more rules.

    The solutions to the first two problems are pretty self-evident. More time. A better plan.

    AILA?s proposed solution to the third problem, while at first offering a glimmer of a way out for AILA and a probable benefit for amendment proponents, is a legally dubious and logically impossible to implement reliably. So, hundreds, or perhaps thousands, of Members who trusted their proxies to AILA are going to be let down.

    But sorry, I don?t have any magic solutions to offer this time. It?s up to you to sort this out, ladies and gentlemen.

    Michael Owens
    Cologne, Germany
  2. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    On the morning of June 11, 2014, America is waking up to find the landscape for immigration reform changed just as drastically as the landscape of Northeastern Japan was changed by the earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011. POLITICO's ace immigration reporter, Seung Min Kim, put it succinctly in her headline late in the evening of June 10, after the results of the primary in Virginia's 7th District were in: Eric Cantor loss kills immigration reform

    Her article goes on to explain that while Cantor had been viewed as a key obstacle to reform within the House Republican leadership, he had claimed to support fixing our immigration system at least in principle.
    But even lip service to immigration reform, especially any move toward legalization for even a few classes of unauthorized immigrants, was enough to stir up the wrath of the hard right anti-immigrant Tea Party bigots and lead to Cantor's primary defeat by a previously unknown anti-immigrant extremist, Dave Brat, who condemns any kind of reform as "amnesty."

    This has now put immigration front and center in this fall's election and set the stage for a nightmare scenario in which enthusiastic Tea Party white supremacist voters flock to the polls in droves to elect hard right immigrant haters to increase the Republican majority in the House and take over the Senate. while immigration supporters, enraged by our Deporter-In-Chief's refusal to expand executive action to bring about immigration reform, stay home in record numbers.

    This is a very real, even likely, scenario, unless President Obama takes Cantor's defeat as a wake-up call and immediately changes course.

    Will he have the guts and the wisdom to do so, even if it leads to impeachment proceedings against him in the House?

    But on that score, he has nothing to lose. Even if he persists in his cowardly and immoral refusal to grant further deportation relief through executive action, and persists in his equally cowardly and immoral "Culture of No" toward legal immigration, the Tea Party will find an excuse to impeach him anyway in the House on some other grounds - any other grounds.

    So the president might just as well start doing the right thing for America, and start doing it immediately, now that the chances for reform legislation, which have been dead for almost a year anyway, have now finally been officially buried.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    Updated 06-11-2014 at 12:25 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  3. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    My above comment was written right after the election results on the night of June 10, and may have exaggerated the differences between Eric Cantor and the Tea Party opponent who defeated him, Dave Brat, on immigration reform.

    Even though the narrative on MSNBC and POLITICO would have it otherwise, Cantor was no friend of immigration reform. The only difference between him and Brat was that Cantor talked out of both sides of his mouth on this issue, and Brat only out of one side. There has in fact never been any realistic chance of getting the likes of Cantor and Boehner to agree to any real action on immigration reform.

    The only thing that has changed is that now we know now why they were so scared of doing anything about reform perhaps more clearly than before.

    The reality is that legislative immigration reform was DOA in the House almost a year ago, and, not surprisingly, it is still dead. The June 10 primary in Virginia was only the funeral.

    It is also clearer than ever before exactly how hypocritical President Obama has been in his refusal to expand executive action to deal with the massive human rights and humanitarian crises caused by his deportation policies (as well has his administration's less publicized, but very real hostility to legal immigration).

    Immigration advocates must now hold the president's feet to the fire in earnest. There is no longer any excuse for him to refuse to take action.

    Indeed, there has been no legitimate excuse for his refusal to do so ever since July, 2013, when the House Republican leaders, including Cantor, first made it clear that they would never agree to comprehensive reform.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    Updated 06-11-2014 at 08:01 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  4. honza's Avatar
    In re Cantor?s loss, the Democrat who had challenged him repeatedly in the past, and lost, encouraged Democrats to vote for his nativist opponent. If there?s secession. mischief about, it?s the Dems pulling it again. This was one of the only races nationwide where the restrictionist won.
  5. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    In other words, both of the Democratic voters who happen to live in that GOP gerrymandered district voted for Brat. And that made a difference?

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    Updated 06-11-2014 at 07:19 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  6. Nolan Rappaport's Avatar
    If you are opposed to Tea Party views on immigration, you probably will oppose their other views too. They aren't interested just in immigration.

    If you are curious, go to http://www.teapartypatriots.org/category/all-issues/issues/
  7. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    As a June 13 update, POLITICO reports that according to two polls, one by a liberal group and one by a conservative one (though presumably pro-immigrant, since it is affiliated with
    Mark Zuckerberg's FWD.usam which supports immigration reform), immigration was not a big factor with the voters in Virginia's 7th district who picked a Tea Party anti-immigrant extremist, Dave Brat, over House majority leader Eric Cantor (who is also no friend of immigration reform, but had paid occasional lip service to it in principle).

    To those who say that this primary will have little or no effect on the chances for immigration reform in the House, my advice is: go tell that to the Republican House members.

    My original reply to the previous letter follows:

    True enough, the Tea Party has a much broader agenda than just hating brown-skinned immigrants.

    But, at least judging from the news reports, exaggerated or not, the Tea Party's anti-immigrant hard line helped in defeating a powerful establishment Republican leader who was reported to have had a good deal of Wall Street cash behind him in his campaign.

    That alone will be enough to scare any other House Republicans who might have been considering a more flexible approach on reform away from even talking about it now. If the executive power buck hadn't already stopped at the president's desk before the Virginia GOP primary, it has certainly stopped there now.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    Updated 06-13-2014 at 06:47 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  8. D. B. MILLER's Avatar
    WOW!!! When we say "Sieg", you say "Heil"!! I thought Roger Algase's racist utterances on this site were bad, but this editorial is the worst I have ever read! Pure, undisguised totalitarianism! You will do as we say or we will punish you and kick you out of the country!!!

    Is this where the immigration law community is now? "Punishment" and "exile" for those Americans who do not want their country overrun by Third World hordes? No such thing as freedom of speech or even freedom of thought in your brave new world? The American people WILL accept the invasion and occupation of their country or we will beat them into submission? This should have been written in German!

    You people have really gone off the deep end with this! I have lost any respect that I might have had for your efforts. I am circulating this bit of madness to everyone I know to illustrate clearly just how bizarre your thinking is.

    Further, as a point of correction, an "American" is someone who is a citizen of the United States...NOT someone who simply inhabits this country, and especially not someone who is here without permission.

    DONALD BRENDA MILLER
  9. Nolan Rappaport's Avatar
    I agree that the Tea Party victory is likely to make House republicans less likely to favor immigration reform in 2014, but I don't think the Senate immigration bill ever had a chance in a Republican controlled house. I presented some of my reasons in a recent ILW.com article. "It is time to try a different approach to comprehensive immigration reform." http://discuss.ilw.com/content.php?3087-Article-It-is-time-to-try-a-different-approach-to-comprehensive-immigration-reform-By-Nolan-Rappaport This is from that article:

    "On June 27, 2013, the Senate passed the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013, S. 744, with 68 yeas and 32 nays. Although it was written by a bipartisan group of eight senators known as the ?Gang of Eight,? it was opposed by 70% of the senate republicans. Only fourteen of the republicans voted for the bill; the other 32 voted against it.[iv] This was substantially worse than the Senate republican reaction to S. 2611 in 2006. It was a clear indication that S. 744 would not have a good reception from the republican majority in the House."
  10. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    D. B. Miller's suggestion that supporting immigration reform is an expression of Nazi sympathies is beyond obscene. I am at a loss for words to describe it.

    I happen to have visited a small art gallery in New York recently which specializes in modern German and Austrian art. The gallery (Neue Gallerie) is currently running an exhibit dealing with the Nazis' 1937 exhibition of "degenerate" art, which attacked no only Jewish artists, but all artists who did not hew to the Nazi line.

    Included in the exhibit was a photo of an endless line of Jews lining up at an unnamed foreign consulate in Vienna after the Anschluss in 1938 trying to get visas so they could flee Austria. The exhibit didn't say which consulate it was, but it could well have been the US one, judging from the numbers of people lined up outside.

    If it was the US consulate, we can be quite sure that only a tiny percentage of those seeking visas were able to get them, because of anti-semitic US immigration policies at the time. The great majority of people in that photo, we can be quite sure, died in Nazi concentration camps because of restrictive immigration policies in America and elsewhere.

    Mr. Miller's comments are a terrible insult to their memory, and that of millions of other people who were exterminated by the Nazis, in large part because America and other counties of the world were unwilling to accept more than a very few of them.

    If Mr. Miller has any sense of humanity and reality at all, he should withdraw and apologize for his unbelievably distorted and offensive comment.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    Updated 06-14-2014 at 05:19 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  11. D.B.Miller's Avatar
    Roger Algase's frequent anti-white-American racist diatribes on this site have long ago destroyed any claim to objectivity on his part. Here again he completely inverts reality. The totalitarian (Nazi, Stalinist, Maoist, Fidelist) urge to "punish" and "exile" those who do not support mass tribal migration into the US comes from the original editorial comment, not from anything I wrote. My letter called the writer of the comment out on his/her frightening suggestion that the Constitution be amended so that this sort of punishment could be administered. Read it again, slowly, Roger!

    Further, what possible logical connection can there be, or have been, between Jews fleeing certain death in the 1930's and Mexicans et al invading the United States in the 21st Century? There is not the remotest similarity between the two phenomena and Algase knows this full well. Had the US Government in the 1930s admitted every single Jew applying for admission, there would not have been one iota of noticeable change here in this country for the average American... no "press one for Yiddish" etc. Indeed, I can think of several ways in which the country might have been improved. Such is not the case with the millions of unskilled, uneducated, Mexican and Central American Indians Mr Algase is determined to inflict upon us. It is fact that many parts of this country which as recently as ten years ago had never seen a Mexican nor heard a word of Spanish are now essentially cultural outposts of northern Mexico, due solely to immigration. The entire country is now de facto bilingual and various levels of Government are de jure bilingual! Have the American people indicated their approval of this?

    For a society which had not yet worked out its relationships with its own American black racial minority, it was, in the 1960s and 1985, an act of sheer insanity, even national suicide, to open the borders to millions of foreigners, almost all consisting of a third racial group, which has proven to be far more unassimilable than our fellow black citizens. Sorry, but I fail to see any logic in this nor do I see any fairness to my fellow Americans. And the suggestion that Americans should be punished and deported so that Mexicans and Central Americans can come in freely is shocking and infuriating to me and I would guess to most Americans!
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