I'm not making predictions except that whatever the ruling, both sides will use it to rally the troops.
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I'm not making predictions except that whatever the ruling, both sides will use it to rally the troops.
I was really surprised when Romney took such harsh immigration positions during the primary since it would really hard to tack back to the middle during the general election campaign. And now we see just how hard. President Obama's biggest applause line in his well-received speech at the National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO) -
Your speaker from yesterday has a different view. In his speech, he said that when he makes a promise to you, he’ll keep it. Well, he has promised to veto the DREAM Act, and we should take him at his word. (Applause.) I’m just saying. (Laughter and applause.)
And Obama had reason to look forward to the NALEO meeting. America's Voice has just released a poll of Latino voters in five swing states and Obama's lead is mammoth. In Arizona, Florida, Colorado, Nevada and Virginia, the President leads by 63 to 27%. The polls also show a tremendous jump in enthusiasm about voting for the President which could be critical in terms of turnout in the fall election.
Well, maybe that's why he's been scratched from the Veep spot. Of course, if he felt this way, why has he been taking such tough positions on immigration up until recently?
I read Mitt Romney's address to elected Latino leaders in Florida and watched some of it on television. And I've listened and read a lot of analysis. If Romney's goal was to leave people scratching their heads, he succeeded. Here's a few things he had to say:
1. Obama had "huge" majorities in both the House and Senate and failed to pass immigration reform.
2. Obama could have issued his order 3 1/2 years ago and only did it now because he's desperate in his re-election bid.
3. I will replace the President's order with my own long-term solution worked out with Congress.
4. I'll increase the number of border patrol agents, crack down on visa overstayers, complete a high tech fence and implement an exit verification system.
5. Family-based green cards will be allocated with keeping families together under one roof. Children and spouses of permanent residents will be considered immediate relatives not subject to quotas.
6. I will eliminate "red tape".
7. I will update the non-immigrant work visa programs to meet our economic needs.
8. I'll staple green cards to the diplomas of people who get advanced degrees in STEM fields in the US.
9. I'll support something like the DREAM Act for people who join the military.
And that's basically it. A few observations and then I'll mention what others are saying.
First, it's incredibly disingenous to say that the President had the ability to easily get immigration legislation passed. Perhaps Mr. Romney doesn't want to admit that a majority in this Congress means 60% since the Republicans have used what used to be invoked rarely to one that is invoked routinely. And the White House did try to pass the DREAM Act in 2010 and it failed because the Republicans uniformly lined up against it. President Bush had no better luck dealing with his own party so why should we believe you'll do better.It's not enough to say you're the anti-Obama and will be able to work with Congress on immigration. Explain how you'll do it better than the last two Presidents, not just the last one.
It's also almost comical to talk as if you have a secret plan for the DREAMers you're only going to reveal after you get elected. It reminds of Richard Nixon's 1968 reference to his secret plan to end the Vietnam War. How did that work out? I don't think anyone is buying this. And what are your plans while you're waiting on Congress. Will you continue the program in the mean time? These are crucial questions.
Regarding the timing of Obama's order, the President has said over and over again that Congress should take the primary responsibility for solving our immigration problems by updating a terribly broken system. But we're even further away from this than we were when he took office. At some point, you have to accept that the legislative branch of government is paralyzed and you go with less perfect solutions like prosecutorial discretion, entrepreneur initiatives, deferred action, etc. We have a Congress that has failed to pass virtually any significant immigration legislation in more than 10 years. The reason why the public overwhelmingly supports what the President has done is because they appreciate that he's finally acting on issues where Congress has failed.
More border patrol agents and completing the fence? These solutions are almost throw away lines now. Illegal immigrant numbers have been dropping on their own and if we should finally realize that the numbers are a direct reflection of the state of the economy. It's fine to talk about these things, but where were the remarks from Romney on creating a workable guest worker program that would allow employers of lower skilled workers to bring in the people they need?
I was pleased to see Romney mention a few pro-immigration measures like freeing spouses and children of green card holders from the quotas and pushing STEM green card measures. Both are desperately needed. It would have also been nice to have gotten specific on what he would do to improve the H-1B and L-1 programs. But we've never really been worried about Romney's bona fides on business and employment immigration policy for these types of workers.
Finally, saying you support creating a path to citizenship for people who serve in the military is good, but it's a fraction of what was contained in comprehensive immigration reform plans. As far as we can tell, you're still committed to vetoing the DREAM Act and pushing people to self-deport. Or perhaps he's dropped these ideas as part of your "secret plan".
The pundits seems to be all over the place in reviewing the speech. Some have focused on Romney's softer tone. Others have noted the lack of specificity. Some, like Fox News, have wondered how Romney would actually get anything done in Congress. One of the more interesting negative reviews came from Dan Stein at the Federation for American Immigration Reform who actually took the view that Romney was hinting he was planning on going a lot further than Obama.
And that's what happens when you want to be all things to all people. No one really knows what you stand for.
Bloomberg talks about immigration applications as an economic indicator. The speedy reaching of the H-1B cap and the retrogression of employment-based green card categories is an indication the US economy is getting stronger.
I've written a column for this morning's Memphis Commercial Appeal arguing that President Obama's new immigration policy is an appropriate response to a paralyzed Congress.
Yesterday I reported on new polling showing Latino voters are excited and overwhelmingly supportive of the new immigration policy announced by the White House. And now a new Bloomberg poll shows that the public backs the plan by a 64 to 35 point margin. And 65% of independents like the plan. Not surprisingly, the Republicans are suddenly flailing in their attempts to react other than in their usual reflexive anti-immigration way.
My friend Lavi Soloway tells Metro Weekly about four cases he's handling where the BIA has remanded to USCIS to start reviewing the broader issues in the cases including whether the marriage is legal and whether it is bona fide. If they were simply applying the Defense of Marriage Act, they would deny without getting to those issues. But in light of the strong possibility DOMA will be declared unconstitutional, the BIA is being a little more bold.
Talking with Lavi Soloway, who founded Stop the Deportations to address this issue and has litigated several of the involved cases, he tells Metro Weekly, "They are unusual remands. They are an effort by the Board of Immigration Appeals to have the immigration service answer additional questions which, strictly speaking, should not be necessary since the denials were based solely on the fact that the couples were of the same sex and therefore barred by Section 3 of DOMA.
"The BIA is essentially forcing the immigration service to undertake full adjudication and to produce a complete fact-finding for each couple to determine the bona fides of the marriage, rather than simply deny them perfunctorily because they're gay or lesbian couples," he continued. "Once U.S. [Citizenship and Immigration Services, which is within the Department of Homeland Security] has done all that fact-finding, they're essentially setting the stage for being able to approve the petitions in a post-DOMA universe. They're providing everything that one would need to know to approve those petitions if the Defense of Marriage Act did not exist ... and that's not typically the role of the Board of Immigration Appeals."
So much for all the antis who said Latino citizens of the US don't really care all that much about immigration. From the LA Times:
President Obama’s decision to extend administrative relief to an estimated 800,000 young illegal immigrants has won favor with Latino voters in key battleground states, according to a new poll.
The Latino Decisions survey found that Obama’s move had wiped out an earlier 'enthusiasm deficit' among Hispanic voters over the administration’s deportation policies. By contrast, the poll found that Latino voters were sharply opposed to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s call for illegal immigrants to 'self-deport.'
Voters in five states with significant portions of Latino voters — Florida, Colorado, Nevada, Virginia and Arizona — were asked about Obama’s new policy of halting deportations and offering temporary work permits to some illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. before they were 16, lived here for at least five years and have clean records.
Forty-nine percent of the Latino voters surveyed said Obama’s move made them more enthusiastic about the president, compared with 14% who were less enthusiastic. Thirty-four percent said it would have no effect on their attitude toward Obama.
This is designed to be a post to encourage constructive suggestions for implementing the President's new policy for DREAMers. Here are two to kick things off -
1. Use the I-765 as the application form rather than coming up with something new. Simply add a supplemental instruction form regarding eligibility for the policy and listing types of supporting documents that need to be included.
2. Consider modifying the new ELIS electronic filing system to accept these applications. With a possible million applications coming, the agency is going to face extreme pressures to adjudicate cases in a timely manner and maintain quality control. This is an excellent opportunity for USCIS to show off this robust new system.
3. Do not delay issuing employment cards until after the deferred action is approved. Consider using TPS and adjustment of status as a model. In both types of cases, work cards are granted while the applicant waits on the approval of the underlying application. Remember that not only do you need the EADs to work, but also to get drivers licenses and driving without a license is a way for anti-immigrant zealots like Joe Arpaio in Arizona to make life miserable for DREAMers. Expect to see lots of people thrown in jail for the misdemeanor of driving without a license if you decide to wait on issuing EADs.