Border Enforcement Amendments Defeated

From the Center for American Progress:

Three border enforcement amendments to the military supplemental bill were soundly defeated in the Senate today. Seeking to redirect nearly $2.5 billion in federal stimulus funding, the amendments would have mandated deployment of 6,000 National Guard troops to the southwest border; massively increased border personnel, technology, and infrastructure; and expanded a program mandating 100 percent prosecution of misdemeanor immigration offenses, regardless of impact on other prosecutorial priorities.

CAP Action Vice President for Immigration Policy and Advocacy Angela M. Kelley issued the following statement:

“Cooler heads prevailed today in the U.S. Senate as extreme Republican enforcement measures fell one by one. Led today by Sens. Harry Reid (D-NV), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Richard Durbin (D-IL), and Robert Menendez (D-NJ), the Democrats successfully stymied the Republicans’ brazen political move to post an extraordinary 6,000 troops at the border, paid for by money that has been set aside for new jobs and military operations.

“While the National Guard is not an answer to the broken system, the President’s announcement earlier this week to post 1,200 National Guard troops along the border provided a sober and strategic way forward rather than the hyperbole and hysterics that have taken hold of the debate.

“With their votes today, the Senate asked and answered the question of whether enforcement alone will fix our broken immigration system. Now leaders of both parties, particularly Republicans with a track record in support of broad reform, should turn from heated rhetoric to smart solutions and begin bipartisan conversations. As poll after poll tells us, Americans are hungry for a solution that is tough, practical, and fair. Surely our leaders can find a way to satisfy the public and solve the problem.”

Immigrants in America: A Hollywood Perspective

From the Opportunity Agenda:

A panel of Hollywood notables took the stage with immigration advocates at The Paley Center for Media earlier this month, to discuss the challenges in telling accurate, compelling immigrant stories in movies and television.

The event featured conversations with Bruce Evans, Senior Vice President of Drama Programming, NBC; Jesse Garcia, Actor, Quinceañera; Leon Ichasa, Screenwriter and Director; Alan Jenkins, Executive Director, The Opportunity Agenda; Nick Schenk, Writer, Gran Torino; Angelica Salas, Executive Director, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA); Bee Vang, Actor, Gran Torino; and Ligiah Villalobos, Screenwriter, Under the Same Moon. Professor and film critic Emanuel Levy moderated the discussion.

The panelists all cited a need for a greater diversity of immigrant stories in popular media and greater diversity, too, in the writers, directors, and producers in Hollywood.

But combating those stereotypes is sometimes a challenge for an industry that depends on entertaining its audience. Evans noted that many Americans, after coming home from a long day at work, simply want to unwind in front of the television and not confront complex issues. “If they feel like that box is lecturing them,” they’ll simply turn it off, he said.

On the other hand, Angelica Salas of CHIRLA, focused on how difficult it can be to present complex ideas in television, citing the scene in Ugly Betty where the character Ignacio Suarez wears an immigration enforcement ankle bracelet. In real life, Salas argued, this is a very dehumanizing and often painful situation but on television it is often portrayed as a simple inconvenience. It is important to challenge false ideas promoted through TV, but also to work with Hollywood to elevate real stories.

All agreed that Hollywood has a vital role to play in changing the perceptions of immigration, and telling stories that stress the inclusion of immigrants into the American fabric—that members of the creative community can become more visible and vocal, galvanizing the media and fans to become more engaged on immigration reform and fighting new divisive legislation in Arizona.

“There are 50 million Latinos in this country,” said Villalobos, “and not one Latino show on network television. That has to change.”

Click here for more on the event.

RI Immigration Bill Similar to AZ Law

Rhode Island State Rep. Palumbo has gone ahead and introduced the AZ bill. State Representative Peter Palumbo (D-Dist. 16, Cranston) has introduced a new bill in the General Assembly that aims to crack down on illegal immigration in Rhode Island. Palumbo recently spoke on local talk radio with some vitriol about immigration, calling immigrants “illegals” and “aliens” and calling for a boycott of cities like San Francisco in response to their official protests of the Arizona law.

Rhode Island becomes the third state to introduce copycat legislation. South Carolina and Minnesota introduced bills earlier this month.

According to reports, the “In Support of Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act” borrows heavily from the recently-enacted immigration laws in Arizona which have prompted some national outcry. One provision of the bill states that if “reasonable suspicion exists” that a person is an illegal alien, the involved law enforcement agency must make a “reasonable attempt” to verify the person’s immigration status with the federal government.

Rep. Palumbo is no newcomer to lawmaking that attacks people of color and poor people. He recently penned a proposal to force recipients of the state’s cash assistance program to submit to mandatory home-based drug tests and another bill that would require abortion providers to tell women seeking abortions about the age of the fetus and about alternatives to ending their pregnancies. Both have come under attack from civil liberties groups.

Third Circuit Decision has Important Implications for Foreign Spouses

The following is a guest post from Chicago lawyers, Dolan Law Offices at ImmigrationProf Blog:

Last June, Diana Ali of Los Angeles and Karsten van Sander of Great Britain and Germany got married following a two-year courtship. The newlyweds moved to Plainsboro, New Jersey and started their life together. Diana had an internship at Princeton Hospital and Karsten had a green card application pending.

However, earlier this month, three immigration officials came to the couple’s home and took Karsten away in handcuffs. He was taken to a detention center in Elizabeth, New Jersey where he faced deportation without a hearing and a 10-year ban on returning to the United States because of the mistake in his green card paperwork.

Here’s the problem, as seen by immigration officials: Karsten was in the country pursuant to the visa waiver program which allowed a 90-day stay for travelers from favored nations, such as Great Britain and Germany. The 90 days may be stayed if a green card application is properly filed. However, because of a mistake in Karsten’s paperwork, the green card application was not properly filed. Thus, immigration officials took advantage of a little used provision of the visa waiver program that allows people to be deported without a hearing (except in asylum cases) if they stay more than 90 days without taking appropriate actions to extend their stay.

The immigration officials took this action against Karsten because of a Third Circuit Court of Appeals decision that was issued on April 22, 2010. That decision left foreign spouses with no defense against deportation if immigration officials decided to expel them because they overstayed their 90 days allocation in the country. Thus, marriage to an American citizen is no defense against deportation in Third Circuit states, including New Jersey, or in the states covered by approximately half of the other Circuit Courts of Appeals. Because Diana and Karsten live in New Jersey, a state governed by the Third Circuit, the decision applied to them.

Since taking custody of Karsten, and being contacted by the New York Times about this case, immigration officials seem to have had a change of heart and are using their discretion to allow Karsten to try to repair his immigration case. However, other couples may not be as lucky.

Source for this post: New York Times “Strict Reading of Visa Rule Trips Up More Couples”, by Nina Bernstein, May 14, 2010.

Dolan Law Offices are lawyers in Chicago who are committed to fairness and justice for all.

“Shooting” of Arizona Deputy a Hoax?

BREAKING NEWS from Immigration Talk with a Mexican American (ITWAMA) in the case of Pinal County (AZ) Deputy Louie Puroll, who claimed to have been in a gun battle with 5 armed drug smugglers, being shot in the process.

It appears now that the entire episode was an elaborate but sophomoric stunt to enrage the citizens of Arizona and the United States into believing the hysteria the anti immigration crowd is pushing and garner more support for SB-1070, Arizona’s racial profiling law

ITWAMA is covering this story because the ANTI Immigration Reform forces are using this story and the Rancher Krentz murder (which has 0 suspects) to scare the American Public into thinking Drug Cartel Violence is running rampant in border states and therefore there is a need for racial profiling laws like sb1070.

A Generation Gap Over Immigration

“I just feel like it’s unfair what the government does to immigrants.” ANDREA BONVECCHIO, 17-year-old U.S.-born daughter of a naturalized citizen.

Damien Cave of the New York Times writes about a generation gap in views over immigration.

Forget sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll; immigration is a new generational fault line.

In the wake of the new Arizona law allowing the police to detain people they suspect of entering the country illegally, young people are largely displaying vehement opposition — leading protests on Monday at Senator John McCain’s offices in Tucson, and at the game here between the Florida Marlins and the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Meanwhile, baby boomers, despite a youth of “live and let live,” are siding with older Americans and supporting the Arizona law.

This emerging divide has appeared in a handful of surveys taken since the measure was signed into law, including a New York Times/CBS News poll this month that found that Americans 45 and older were more likely than the young to say the Arizona law was “about right” (as opposed to “going too far” or “not far enough”). Boomers were also more likely to say that “no newcomers” should be allowed to enter the country while more young people favored a “welcome all” approach.

The generational conflict could complicate chances of a federal immigration overhaul any time soon. “The hardening of this divide spells further stalemate,” said Roberto Suro, the former head of the nonpartisan Pew Hispanic Center.

And the causes are partly linked to experience. Demographically, younger and older Americans grew up in vastly different worlds. Those born after the civil rights era lived in a country of high rates of legal and illegal immigration. In their neighborhoods and schools, the presence of immigrants was as hard to miss as a Starbucks today.

In contrast, baby boomers and older Americans — even those who fought for integration — came of age in one of the most homogenous moments in the country’s history.

Read the rest of the article here.

San Francisco Wants Out Of ICE Fingerprint Program

From CBS, Channel 5 San Francisco:

San Francisco’s sheriff said Tuesday he was seeking to opt the city out of a federal program that uses the fingerprints of arrestees to check their immigration status.

Sheriff Michael Hennessey sent a letter to the California attorney general asking that the state Department of Justice not share the city’s fingerprint data with federal immigration authorities.

San Francisco is scheduled to begin participating in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s so-called Secure Communities program on June 1. Under the program, anyone arrested will have their fingerprints checked against a database used by ICE.

Hennessey said the program conflicts with a San Francisco policy that requires law enforcement to report only those born outside the U.S. who are booked for felonies. He said his department last year reported more than 2,000 arrestees suspected of felonies to ICE but that the new program would “widen the net excessively.”

Whether or to what extent San Francisco could opt out of the program was not immediately clear.

California ICE officials said the agency had an agreement with the state to check all fingerprints forwarded to the attorney general’s office. Jurisdictions could opt not to receive the results of the immigration status checks, but all fingerprint information would still be provided to ICE, said agency spokeswoman Lori Haley.

A spokeswoman for California Attorney General Jerry Brown said his office was looking over the letter Tuesday.

Hennessey’s announcement came as several San Francisco supervisors said they would introduce a resolution opposing the city’s participation in the Secure Communities program. They argued the program would hurt public safety by increasing distrust in the city’s large immigrant community toward law enforcement and compared it to Arizona’s tough new immigration law. Click here for the rest of the story.

Refugee Protection Act of 2010

Senate Judiciary Chair Patrick Leahy recently introduced the Refugee Protection Act of 2010, S. 3113, which, among other things, would repeal the one year deadline on asylum applications, narrow the definition of “terrorist” organizations, and repeal the BIA’s requirement of social visibility for particular social groups.  Here is a section by section analysis of the bill and a letter for organizations and experts to sign in support of the bill.  Download RPA Sectional Analysis_Leahy-Levin Download Refugee Protection Act signon letter for experts The letter will state that individual signatories’ institutional affiliations are listed for identification purposes only.

Senator Leahy is going to hold a hearing on this bill on Wednesday, so signatures are requested for the record by 11 AM Eastern time on Tuesday, May 18. TO SIGN ON TO THE LETTER, REPLY TO HUMAN RIGHTS FIRST, WHICH IS COLLECTING THE SIGNATURES. THE EMAIL ADDRESS FOR SIGNATURES IS

Filmmakers and Progressive Organizations to Launch “Entre Nos Moms for Family Unity” Campaign

On the heels of Mother’s Day weekend a partnership of organizations including the Center for American Progress, America’s Voice Education Fund, and Reform Immigration for America joined Indiepix Studios and the filmmakers of the award-winning film “Entre Nos” to launch the Entre Nos Moms for Family Unity campaign. This unique culture and advocacy partnership leverages a powerful immigration-related story to continue building momentum for comprehensive immigration reform. It is also a unique opportunity to engage a new and active constituent group in the debate: women, and, more specifically, mothers.

The Entre Nos Moms for Family Unity campaign will bring together mothers and their children at house parties throughout the country where they will share their stories and highlight the importance of keeping families together by passing meaningful immigration reform legislation this year. The campaign will launch with a Mother’s Day weekend screening of “Entre Nos.” Written and directed by Paola Mendoza and Gloria La Morte, and starring Paola Mendoza, “Entre Nos” tells the inspirational story of an immigrant mother and her children as they struggle to build a life in a strange city after being abandoned by their father. Mendoza made the film as a tribute to her mother and will show the film in the Jackson Heights community of Queens, New York, where the film was shot. The screening will be on Friday, May 7, at 8:00 p.m. at Natives Theatre, 82-22 Northern Boulevard, Jackson Heights, Queens, New York, and will be followed by a live Q&A with Paola Mendoza, her mother Liliana Legge, and Vanessa Cárdenas, Director of Progress 2050 at the Center for American Progress.

The theatrical release of “Entre Nos” is slated for May 14 at the Quad Theatre in New York City, and DVDs of the film will be provided for the Moms for Family Unity campaign house parties.

Pennsylvania Immigration Protests

Stephanie Esposito reports for WFMZ:

Tensions sparked by the renewed debate over immigration reform are beginning to boil over.

Opponents of a controversial new law in Arizona rallied in Philadelphia [yesterday], stirred by the possibility of a similar law taking hold in Pennsylvania.

Screaming no justice, no peace, immigration activists flooded the streets of Philadelphia.

Their mission was to prevent Pennsylvania from going the way Arizona did with immigration reform.

People have a right to come here, said Tuan Luu.

If there’s a European immigrant, they’re not going to stop him because he’s white, said Amaya Pabon.

Reform Immigration for America called on U.S. Senator Bob Casey to denounce proposed immigration legislation in Pennsylvania that has been inspired by the new Arizona law.

This would have a devastating impact on the capacity of the police to do their primary job, but also really damage trust that police officers have worked so hard to build with immigrant communities, said Regan Cooper, executive director, Pa. Immigration and Citizenship Coalition. Click here for the rest of the story.

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