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Letters of the Week: Nov 10 - Nov 14

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  1. Brent Heid's Avatar
    Tone and Words

    I appreciate the sentiment and passion behind the Editorial about the tidal-wave elections. I will say, however, that your completely partisan tone and name-calling ( i. e. heartless party) is exactly the problem with the dysfunctional congress today and the dysfunctional dialogue over the immigration issue itself. If a person on ‘the other side’ of the issue used the same tone and hyperbole that you employ, it would be evident to you how much they were part of the problem rather than the solution of civil dialogue. Please consider and revisit the level of professionalism that you may or may not wish to bring to the immigration conversation----you sound like an out-of-control over-emotional jr. high debate participant who needs to be reprimanded by your instructor to focus on being persuasive and building consensus rather than engaging in demonstrative ad hominem attacks.

    I purposely did the same toward you in the last paragraph. Did it make you desire to agree with me or possibly change your mind? Probably not.

    Please consider your tone in the future. We need to build consensus and tone and words are very important. This issue is very important and how we address it matters.

    Brent Heid
  2. Nolan Rappaport's Avatar
    I agree with the point Brent is making, although I would take it further. I believe that the practice of demonizing the republicans has destroyed yet another opportunity to reach an agreement with them on comprehensive immigration reform. You can't accuse them of anti-immigrant, racist, etc. beliefs and expect them to throw up their hands and say, "Hey, I had no idea that I was so terribly wrong! I would love to go support your immigration reform bill!" And I don't think the strategy President Obama is using is going to work any better. Seventy percent of the Senate republicans voted against S744. When I was a Judiciary counsel, we had an expression for bills that appeared likely to succeed in getting through the legislative process. We would say, "That bill has legs." S744 did not have legs. We don't have any bills on the table that are close enough to meeting the political needs of both parties to make it realistic to demand action before the end of the year, OR ELSE! It took six years for IRCA, the last legalization bill to be passed, and that was a genuinely bipartisan project. It's time to put aside the threats and the name calling and work with the republicans on a bill that both sides can live with.
  3. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    I can understand Brent Heid's and Nolan Rappaport's concern for the tender feelings of Republican politicians who may feel that they are being unfairly demonized as immigrant-haters or racists for opposing comprehensive immigration reform. Oh, what an affront to their dignity to engage in such name-calling! Surely, we should show more respect for our elected officials of either party, and refrain from inflammatory and pejorative language which, i quite agree, will never accomplish anything anyway.

    But what about the feelings of the millions of American citizens in "mixed status" families whose spouses, brothers, sisters, parents or children are being torn away from them because only part, but not all, of the family have legal status in the United States. How does ripping these families apart square with America's values or with basic human rights? Every day that goes by without reform means another 1,000 people deported and, in many cases, American families broken up.

    And why is this national tragedy happening? Because politicians in one of our two great parties are pandering to mainly older white voters who are unable to accept or understand America's changing identity as a country of diversity, not white supremacy.

    At the same time, all too many politicians in our other great party, beginning with our president, are too cowardly and timid to stand up against injustice and prejudice - against those who would use immigration enforcement and "border security" as mantras to preserve (or create) what almost amounts to an American system of Apartheid.

    Yes, we should refrain from demonizing our politicians. But what about the politicians and pundits who are advancing their careers by demonizing immigrants - who accuse Central American children seeking refuge from violence of carrying Ebola or being agents of ISIS?

    But, there is nothing new about demonizing minority immigrants. Recently, I visited a moving exhibition at the New York Historical Society detailing the history of the experience of Asian immigrants under the Chinese exclusion laws of the late 19th century and first half of the 20th (1892 to 1943).

    There were graphic recreations of rooms where Chinese immigrants were grilled for long hours about the details of whether they fit within the narrow exceptions to these racist laws.

    Objects from and a re-creation of the detention center at Angel island were also included. Will there be a museum one day reminding our grandchildren and great-grandchildren of our detention centers at places like Artesia, New Mexico and the treatment of Central American immigrants there, which differs so little from the treatment of Asian immigrants beginning more than 125 years ago?

    Every day that Republican politicians, intoxicated by hubris over having won the midterm elections mainly because millions of Latino and other normally Democratic voters, disgusted by the president's appeasement and lack of principle, stayed home, hold up immigration reform and seek to bully, intimidate or even impeach our far too weak president for even daring to talk about executive action - which owes its origins to 19th century court decisions that sought to make it easier for the government to deport unwanted immigrants - is another day of perpetuating an immoral system of mass expulsion of innocent people that disgraces America.

    To the extent that Republican politicians support perpetuating this inhuman and immoral system, they deserve America's strongest condemnation, just as did the Southern Democrats who were responsible for racial segregation before the civil rights era.

    And, just as Republican politicians who went along with the Dixiecrats also deserved the strongest opprobrium, so do today's cowardly Democrats who are afraid to stand up against the Republicans' bigotry and prejudice against minority immigrants.

    Roger Algase
    Updated 11-10-2014 at 08:32 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  4. Nolan Rappaport's Avatar
    I am not objecting to antagonizing republicans because i want to protect their feelings. I am trying to share the lessons I learned doing negotiations for seven years as an immigration counsel on the House Judiciary Committee. We need republican cooperation. We can't get it with emotional outbursts and name-calling. It won't happen until one party becomes powerful enough to do it without cooperation from the other party, and I don't think anyone expects the dems to be in that position in the near future....or the distant future for that matter. OR! The two sides work together on a compromise. But I am recovering from rotator cuff surgery last week. Typing this is painful, and I have run out of ways to state my position. For the record, however, I want people to know that I am not opposed to a program that would provide temporary lawful status and work authorization. In fact, it's possible that the idea comes from an article that I wrote with Greg Siskind more than seven years ago.

    Our idea was to provide instant temporary status with work authorization. Participants would fill out an application online and then download temporary papers that would make it possible for them to live and work in the US without fear of deportation. But our program is tied to legislation that would provide a path to LPR status and citizenship for the participants. The benefit to the republicans is that it would given them enough time to implement a program for meaningful background checks before more permanent status is provided. I think this approach could work today if the two parties would stop shouting at each other and let their staffers work out some preliminary compromises. If you are curious about the pr-registration program Greg and I proposed, it is available at, "Pre-Registration: A Proposal to Kick-Start Comprehensive Immigration Reform" (Mar. 5, 2007),,0314-Rappaport.shtm
  5. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    Nolan and Greg deserve kudos and great thanks from all of us for coming up with this program before anyone else. But isn't this exactly what Republicans are now condemning as "amnesty", which they have made into one of the most politically and racially charged terms in our entire immigration vocabulary?

    Of course, all of us would like to see bipartisan negotiations over some method to reduce the deportations - kick only the bad guys out - hardened criminals, terrorists and serial immigration violators.

    I have a legal, green card holder client from a Caribbean country who has successfully battled against former poverty and homelessness and has devoted herself to bringing up her USC child as a single parent. She does this by working as a home care aide, mainly for elderly or incapacitated Americans.

    Is she a danger to America? But she has just been put into removal proceedings because of a several years old old attempted petit larceny conviction - her second CIMT (a term, by the way, which dates back to the Chinese exclusion laws, like so much of our current immigration terminology and practice). Technically, she is deportable, because of a previous, also relatively minor, CIMT for which she had already received a waiver from USCIS but which was "revived" by the second conviction.

    Should this legal, hardworking single mother of a USC child be separated from her young child and thrown out of the US for two offenses which would attract nothing more than slaps on the wrist if committed by an American citizen?

    And yet the Republicans want to throw out millions of hardworking people like her, who may have American children, but have no criminal records at all.

    The reality is that the Republicans owe their current power and influence, if not survival as a party, to Richard Nixon's infamous "Southern Strategy" in the 1970's of appealing to the white racist backlash against the civil rights movement. 20 years later, a similar Republican supported white racist backlash against the 1965 immigration reform law- which ended almost half a century of legal discrimination against Asian, Middle Eastern, African, Eastern and Southern European, Italian and Jewish immigrants, brought us the harsh and punitive provisions of IIRIRA in 1996.

    But IIRIRA would look like an "amnesty" or "open borders" (to use another racially pejorative term which the Republicans have made fashionable) dream compared to a bill which passed the Republican-controlled House in 2005 that would have made even the most trivial or technical immigration violation into a federal felony.

    A similar bill was reported out of the Republican-controlled House Judiciary committee in 2013.

    At the state level, it is the Republicans, not the Democrats, who have been trying to enact punitive racial profiling immigration laws and to suppress voting by minority US citizens.

    Today, the biggest obstacle to immigration reform continues to be Republican attempts to exploit white prejudice against darker-skinned immigrants. That is the fact. What is the point of pretending otherwise? How would that bring about reform?

    Roger Algase
    Updated 11-12-2014 at 12:47 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  6. Glenn Leach's Avatar
    President Obama and Immigration Reform

    I appears that the President?s strategy of trying not to polarize the electorate prior to an election when so many Democratic candidates and incumbents were at risk failed twice: It did not help the office seekers, and it alienated the immigrant communities. Leading from the middle does not work. The just ?leaked? (actually trial balloon) planned executive actions are bold, and were badly needed before. It will take a very, very committed, no holds barred stance to make this work now, and I sincerely hope that is what we see?total commitment.
  7. Anthony Vigil's Avatar
    Dear Editor:

    Immigration reform is way over due, not only for the legality of thousands of immigrants that are using the states welfare system and other services for there own personal growth The immigration laws that were established forty or more years age are not suitable for the immigrants that are seeking refuge in the United States. For example the American Embassy in Guangshou China, has there own standards that apply to many beneficiaries that apply for fiancee visa, and are denied because the immigrant fiancee did not speak 100 % perfect English, although many Mexicans are offered amnesty by or own government, and can't speak one word of our native language. Many American Attorneys have complained to Secretary of the immigration, but nothing has been accomplished. The people have spoken in this past election. What will it take for our elected officials to get off there duff, and implement, and update the immigration act that is out dated.
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