Mike DeWine’s decision to join Texas #immigration lawsuit hurts #Ohio

Originally posted by the Cleveland Plain Dealer on Cleveland.com2014-12-19 DeWine

By David Leopold

Forty-one million dollars.

That’s a serious piece of change. And it’s the amount of tax revenue Ohioans stand to lose over the next five years if Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has his way.

DeWine has slapped the name of the Great State of Ohio on a Texas lawsuit seeking to stop President Barack Obama’s immigration-related executive actions that will bring 5 million undocumented immigrants out of the shadows. The process, known as deferred action, will require unauthorized immigrants nationwide to register, undergo criminal background checks and pay taxes. Ohio stands to gain $41 million dollars in tax revenue to be paid by an estimated 82,000 undocumented Ohioans who’ll qualify for the program.

That’s real money; money that could relieve Ohio financial strains and be used to hire teachers, firefighters and police officers.

Why would DeWine, who has always had a pragmatic, fair-minded approach to immigration, sign onto a lawsuit that’s not only frivolous, but reads more like a factually challenged press release than a well-reasoned legal complaint?

DeWine says his “decision to join the lawsuit in Texas has nothing to do with immigration policy.” Rather, so he claims, “It has everything to do with preserving our Constitution’s separation of powers and combatting the current administration’s consistent efforts to expand presidential authority into the traditional powers of Congress to make and change federal laws.”

That some very serious-sounding stuff. The good news is none of it’s true.

In fact the president is following the letter of the law — and doing exactly what Congress has required of the administration.

Let me explain.

The Constitution requires the president to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” Congress, which passes those laws has directed Obama to prioritize which undocumented immigrants should be deported. But Congress has only given the president enough resources to remove a fraction of the estimated 11 million living in the shadows, about 400,000 people per year. And since he’s been president Obama has done exactly that — he’s deported nearly half a million people a year — earning him harsh rebuke from his supporters, some of who dubbed him “The Deporter-in-Chief.”

What DeWine (and the Texas lawsuit) conveniently fail to mention is that Obama’s immigration actions do not stop deportations or even slow them down. The Department of Homeland Security will continue to deport nearly a half million undocumented immigrants every year whether or not Obama offers a temporary reprieve to DREAMERs and parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents.

Moreover — as DeWine undoubtedly knows — Obama’s immigration actions are nothing new. Presidents of both parties have used deferred action to postpone the deportation of large groups of undocumented immigrants, including abused women, hurricane victims and refugees.

So the question is not whether Obama’s immigration actions are legal (they are); it’s who of the 11 million should he go after first? Does it make sense to use limited immigration enforcement resources to focus on deporting dangerous felons, national security risks and recent border crossers? Or should the president concentrate on removing DREAMERS and mothers and fathers of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents.

The answer seems obvious to anyone concerned with the safety of Ohio communities.

Unfortunately it appears to be less obvious to DeWine. He ought to explain to Ohioans whom he’d rather see deported: a drug dealer in Cleveland, a gang member in Columbus or an undocumented mother working in the nurseries of Painesville or changing linens at a hotel in Toledo?

Does DeWine really think he’s doing Ohio taxpayers a service by signing onto a lawsuit that purports to protect the Constitution yet, in effect, aims to obstruct a lawful process which will hold 5 million undocumented immigrants accountable to their communities by requiring them to register, undergo criminal background checks, and pay taxes?

Sound bites, slogans, and frivolous lawsuits aside, the reality is that the immigration action undertaken by the president is not only legal, it’s damn good public policy. It will keep our borders protected by focusing more enforcement resources on border security, it will make our communities safer by getting rid of dangerous criminals and security threats, and it will keep American families together.

As a former prosecutor and U.S. senator, DeWine must know in his heart that Obama’s immigration actions are unassailably legal. Sadly, he has chosen to put Republican Party politics before the citizens of Ohio.

Fortunately he does not have the last word — Ohioans do. And they should demand that Attorney General Mike DeWine put partisan politics aside, do what’s best for the people of Ohio and remove the name of our great state from the meritless lawsuit in Texas.

#Ohio Leaders Blast @OhioAG Mike DeWine’s Decision to Join Texas #Immigration Lawsuit

For Immediate Release:                                             Contact: Katy Green

December 8, 2014                                                                    650-464-1545


**** PRESS CALL ****
Tuesday, December 9, 2014 at 12pm EST
866-952-1908; Passcode “LAWSUIT”

Ohio Leaders Blast Attorney General DeWine’s Decision to Join Texas Immigration Lawsuit

If Successful, Lawsuit Would Deny State Millions in Tax Revenue & Subject Thousands of Ohio Families to Deportation

OHIO –  Last week, the State of Ohio joined nineteen other states in suing the federal government over the President’s recent executive action on immigration.  In addition to subjecting thousands of Ohio families to deportation, the lawsuit, if successful, would deny $41 million in much needed tax revenue to the state over the next five years.

On Tuesday, December 9th at 12pm ET, Ohio legal, economic experts, faith leaders, impacted individuals and immigration advocates will gather on a press call to react to Attorney General Mike DeWine’s decision to join this frivolous lawsuit and discuss what this means for the state and the country moving forward.

WHAT:            Ohio Leaders Blast Attorney General DeWine’s Decision to Join Texas Immigration Lawsuit

WHEN:            Tuesday, December 9th at 12pm ET

WHO:             

Carol Apaestegui, DACA recipient from Ohio whose parents qualify for the new Deferred Action for Parents policy

David Leopold, Ohio-based immigration attorney and past president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA)

Rabbi Robert Nosanchuk, Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple (Beachwood, OH)

Patrick Oakford, Policy Analyst, Center for American Progress

Lynn Tramonte, Deputy Director, America’s Voice (based in Ohio)

 

WHERE:          866-952-1908; Passcode “LAWSUIT”

Follow Frank Sharry and America’s Voice on twitter @FrankSharry and @AmericasVoice. America’s Voice – Harnessing the power of American voices and American values to win common sense immigration reform 

www.americasvoiceonline.org

What Obama’s #ImmigrationAction Means for the Economy: 4 Key Business Fixes

Originally posted by David Leopold Barack Obamaon HuffPost Business

Most Americans may not realize it, but a great many of President Obama’s recently announced Immigration Accountability Executive Actions have little to do with bringing anyone out of the shadows. They are targeted at making the legal immigration system work as well as it can until Congress fixes it. This is important because, as credible economics studies show, a functional business immigration system will boost the economy by generating tax revenue, adding billions to the GDP and creating jobs for American workers.

Here are four of the key business fixes the president is planning to make through his executive actions.

1. Modernize the Employment-Based Immigrant System.

The employment based green card system has not been updated by Congress in nearly a quarter century. Today the obsolete system, with its inadequate green card numbers for key employees and years-long green card queues, stymies economic growth and global competitiveness.

Mr. Obama has directed U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to work closely with the Department of State to make sure all visas authorized by Congress are actually issued — all too often visas in shortage occupations have been wasted by bureaucratic inefficiency. Second, the president has directed the Department of State to modernize the way it monitors the visa quota system. Finally, the executive actions direct USCIS to ensure that employment-based immigrants whose visas have been stuck in long backlogs have greater flexibility in changing jobs or employers.

Not everyone is happy with the Administration’s proposal. Some in the high-tech industry are disappointed that the executive actions will not make unused green cards available to employment based immigrants — a process known as “recapture.”

2. Promote Research and Development in the U.S.

The Administration will review the existing immigration law with an eye on enhancing opportunities for foreign inventors, researchers and founders of start-ups wishing to conduct research and development, and creating jobs for American workers.

The executive actions outline two key ways to do this:

First, the immigration law permits certain foreign nationals with advance degrees or exceptional ability to immigrate without employer sponsorship if their work is in the “national interest.” Such immigrants might include, for example, a highly accomplished medical researcher who has developed ground breaking medical innovations targeted at congenital heart failure or an engineer whose inventions have led to more efficient energy consumption.

But the rules governing “national interest waiver” are vague and the visa is underutilized, undoubtedly costing the U.S. precious foreign talent. The Administration will clarify the rules governing the national interest category with an eye on economic growth.

Second, the outmoded immigration system has very few visa options for entrepreneurs, effectively limiting critical investment and job creating opportunities. In 2012, for example, Ashaf Darash, a U.S. educated Israeli entrepreneur, was looking to hire more workers for Regpak, the highly successful San Francisco-based company he founded after graduation. But because of limited visa options Darash found himself fighting to stay in the U.S. rather than focusing on his growing company. Job creators like Ashaf Darash should be welcomed with open arms, not shut out by an inflexible set of visa rules better suited to America in the 20th century than a nation looking to maintain its competitive edge in 21st century.

The executive actions direct the immigration agency to use the “public interest parole” provisions of the law to attract and retain inventors, researchers, and founders of start-up companies “who have been awarded substantial U.S. investor financing or otherwise hold the promise of innovation and job creation through the development of new technologies or the pursuit of cutting edge research.” It is hoped that the parole authority can be used to permit promising individuals to “temporarily pursue research and development of promising new ideas and businesses in the United States, rather than abroad.”

3. Reform “Optional Practical Training” for Foreign Graduates Of U.S. Universities.

Foreign students who earn their degrees from U.S. universities have long been able to engage in practical training for 12 months after they graduate. “We trained them here,” so the thinking goes, “we might as well benefit from their American education.”

The Administration will look for ways to expand practical training, with particular emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math graduates. There will also be closer scrutiny of the training programs and efforts to ensure consistency with labor market protections for U.S. workers.

While the details haven’t been released, it is hoped that greater availability of STEM graduates will help alleviate shortages in the high-tech industry while providing more post degree “hands on” education for foreign graduates. Still there are those that say the STEM extensions are too modest, especially given the arbitrary limits Congress placed on the number of H-1B visas in 1990.

4. Make the Rigid Legal Immigration Line A Bit More Flexible For Skilled Workers And Their Spouses Waiting For Green Cards.

The dysfunctional employment-based immigration system is plagued with processing delays and backlogs that require immigrants to wait years and years for a visa — even after the Department of Labor has certified there are no qualified U.S. workers available for the job. While they wait in the “legal immigration line” immigrants and their spouses can be deprived of job growth and other employment opportunities.

The executive actions will, hopefully, add much needed flexibility to the employment-based immigration process.

Now It’s Up To Congress To Pass Immigration Reform.

President Obama cannot fix the broken immigration system on his own — he needs Congress to pass a bill. But until Congress acts the president can (and should) use his authority to create jobs for American workers and give American businesses the tools they need to remain globally competitive.

Do Republicans have grandparents too?

Originally posted on Neil Steinberg’s blog.

BY NEIL STEINBERG
This is my grandfather, Irwin Bramson. I don’t believe his picture has ever appeared in a newspaper before. He would be delighted to see it here.
My grandfather was not famous, or successful, beyond supporting his family, working in a factory in Cleveland that made machine parts. He eventually owned his own house, on Rossmoor Road in Cleveland Heights. He was very proud of that.
My grandfather was born on a farm in Bialystock Poland, in 1907 and was sent to this country because things were very bad there and he had a relative, a distant cousin in Cleveland who owned an automobile parts factory and would employ him. He left at 16 and never saw any of his family again; they were all murdered, man, woman and child by the Nazis and their henchmen.
When he got here, he no doubt faced the scorn of those who felt that America was being corrupted by racially inferior immigrants such as himself that all manner of subhumans and Jews, were poisoning American blood, that they were constitutionally different and would never fit in.
But he did fit in. He never went to college, but he met my grandmother, got married—they went to the Century of Progress Exposition in Chicago on their honeymoon in 1934. They had three daughters, my mother being the eldest. Had they been born in Poland, they all would have been murdered too.
All of my memories of him involve him sitting in a green Barcalounger, watching “The Price Is Right.” He smoked cigarettes and drank bourbon. He sucked Luden’s Cherry Cough drops for his throat—he would die of emphysema in 1981.
He taught me chess. He would give me a dollar if I won and a dollar if I lost. He took me to my first baseball game. There was nothing mean or difficult about him. He did not complain. He asked nothing of anybody. In fact, he rarely spoke. He was a simple man, and I loved him.
Everyone in the United States, unless they are a Native-American, has a person like my grandfather in their past, someone who came over here to escape hardship or horror and make a life. Whether it was 5 or 50 or 500 years ago, the story is the same. They came over and the country let them in.
My grandfather became a citizen, not because he was a genius, not because he was harder working or smarter or better than any Mexican fording the Rio Grande. But because he could back then. There was an Ellis Island and a system that worked. Today Ellis Island is a shrine to ideals that half the country doesn’t believe anymore, who adopt the cruel role of the Americans who harassed their own forebears.
I thought of my grandfather, after I watched Barack Obama’s brief speech Thursday night—lucky I have cable because none of the networks, the supposed mainstream media supposedly in his thrall, bothered to show it. He announced his changes to immigration policy, to allow undocumented immigrants who have been here longer than five years to “get right with the law,” register and not fear deportation.
Before Obama even spoke, the Republicans, who oppose everything the president has done, is doing, or will do, made a show of opposing this too, a rare trifecta blending economic myopia, longterm political suicide, and lack of basic human decency. Only time will tell if they respond by trying to impeach him, shut down the government or some new strategem. The only thing that they are certain not to do is pass the comprehensive immigration reform which, announcing his stopgap, Obama called for.
That this is the right thing, that it is long overdue, that it will help the United States economy, that to do otherwise is cold hypocrisy and a denial of their own family, an insult the memory of my grandfather and theirs and the millions like him, never wrinkles their brow.
My wife and I watched the speech.
“He looks tired, frustrated,” my wife said.
“He’s trying to talk sense to idiots,” I said.
I’m glad I saw the speech, because I was starting to think very little of Obama, just by osmosis, just by living in a country where he is so despised. I wish he had done this three months, six months, a year ago. Not doing so was the kind of small, mean political calculation that has hobbled his presidency. The Democrats got drubbed anyway.
But now I realize, the bottom line with Obama is: he did what he could do. He didn’t waste effort trying the impossible. Even his narrowed options were tough to manage.
The good news is, he’s already won.
As with gay marriage, the notion of no longer keeping millions who came to this country illegally in rightless limbo forever will seem an impossibility until suddenly it doesn’t and everybody wonders what took us so long to do the moral thing. Then the people who are castigating the president now will be hard to find. Cornered, they will shrug off their fanatical opposition to people just like their own grandparents with some easy rationalization. What really struck me about the president’s speech is he could speak the words at all, that he somehow found the stamina to present a cogent argument to rabid enemies who stopped listening long ago. There is a nobility to that.

What the #Immigration Executive Actions Mean for You and Your Family: 8 Things You Need to Know

Originally posted on Huffington Post

Last week President Obama announced he will take series of executive actions designed to strengthen the border, hold undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents accountable by giving them a chance to register, pass criminal background checks and pay taxes. The Administration also plans to use the existing immigration law to promote investment and make the immigration system work better until Congress finally passes immigration reform.

1. There’s Nothing to Apply for Yet And Immigrants Should Be Careful Not to Get Scammed.

While the President has a released a broad outline of his immigration executive actions, the details, including the application process, have not been finalized. In other words, there is nothing to apply for yet and potential applicants should heed the warning posted on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service’s website:

Important notice: These initiatives have not yet been implemented, and USCIS is not accepting any requests or applications at this time. Beware of anyone who offers to help you submit an application or a request for any of these actions before they are available. You could become a victim of an immigration scam.

2. The Deferred Action Program Will Apply Only to The Undocumented Parents of U.S. Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents.

Perhaps the most dramatic of the executive actions is the President’s decision to offer a temporary deportation reprieve — formally known as Deferred Action — to undocumented immigrants with U.S. citizen and lawful permanent resident children.

The intent is to give parents a chance to come out of the shadows and get right with the law — register, pass criminal background checks and pay taxes.

To qualify an applicant will have to show, among other things, that he/she has been in the U.S. since before January 1, 2010, and is the parent of a citizen or lawful permanent resident born on or before November 20, 2014. The Administration hopes to have the application process in place within 180 days.

3. DACA Will Be Expanded To Make More DREAMERs Eligible.

Two years ago Mr. Obama offered a temporary deportation reprieve to qualified undocumented youth who had arrived in the U.S. as children. The process, known asDeferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA, brought hundreds of thousands of DREAMERs out of the shadows so they could work and study. To be eligible a DREAMER had to show, among other things, that he/she had arrived before June 15, 2007 and been in the U.S. and under the age of 31 on June 15, 2012. While the process was a game changer for many DREAMERs, others did not qualify because of the entry deadline and age cap.

The executive actions will extend the entry requirement to June 1, 2010 and remove the age cap, permitting many more DREAMERs qualify for a temporary 3 year reprieve from deportation.

While the expanded DACA program is not yet in place, it is expected that the USCIS will begin receiving applications within 90 days.

4. Provisional Family Unity Waivers Will Be Expanded to Included the Undocumented Husbands and Wives Of Lawful Permanent Residents.

Most people think that if an undocumented immigrant marries a U.S. citizen or lawful resident he/she can get a green card. That’s both right and wrong. Many undocumented immigrants who qualify for a visa must apply at a U.S. consulate abroad, not from within the US. But when they leave the U.S. to apply, another part of the law bans them from returning for up to ten years.

The pain of this legal Catch-22 was eased somewhat in 2013 when the Obama Administration tweaked the application process so that undocumented husbands and wives of U.S. citizens could apply for family unity waivers before traveling abroad. The change spared many American families from prolonged separation from their loved one she traveled abroad and waited — sometimes for years — for the waiver to be processed.

The executive actions announced last week tweak the Family Unity Waiver process a bit more by a permitting undocumented spouses of lawful permanent residents (green card holders) to apply for waivers before departing the U.S, shielding many more American families from the pain of prolonged separation. The change will also save tax dollars by making the visa processing system more efficient and reducing the burden on government agencies.

5. Family Unity Will (Hopefully) Become the Rule Rather Than the Exception.

Some immigrants that are eligible for green cards first have to prove that their deportation would impose “extreme hardship” on their U.S. citizen or lawful resident spouse, parent or child.

The executive actions promise a new interpretation of “extreme hardship” which, hopefully, will recognize that separating parents from (American) children or spouses from (American) spouses is, by nature, an “extreme hardship.” A pro-family interpretation of the standard would ensure that, absent negative factors, more families remain whole.

Stay tuned on this one.

6. Immigrants With Green Card Applications or Other Temporary Status May Travel Abroad With Greater Assurance of Their Ability to Return.

The legal Catch-22 that keeps husbands and wives separated from their families for up to 10 years after foreign travel can also bar immigrants with lawful green card applications or other temporary status — even if they traveled home to visit an elderly parent or attend a funeral with advance permission (parole) from the Department of Homeland Security.

The President’s executive actions will give greater assurances to immigrants that they will be permitted to return to the U.S. and complete their pending green card applications or continue their authorized presence after necessary foreign travel on advance parole.

7. Existing Law Will Be Used to Expand Opportunities for Business, Investment and Job Creation.

The executive actions will include efforts to strengthen the economy and create jobs for U.S. workers by enhancing options for foreign entrepreneurs, attracting investment and generating tax revenue to ensure economic growth and extending existing post-graduate training programs for science, technology, engineering and math graduates of U.S universities. The Administration will also look for ways to improve the legal immigration system by reducing government costs, reducing burdens on employers and families and eliminating fraud.

8. The President’s Immigration Executive Actions Are An Important First Step, But They Are Not A Substitute Congressional Action.

The actions Mr. Obama has taken to make the immigration system work better are a bold and courageous (and yes-solidly legal) use of his lawful authority as President of the United States. But only Congress has the power to fix the antiquated, rigid and outdated immigration policy that plagues this country, devastates families, stymies American business and inhibits job creation.

We can only hope that amid the calls for lawsuits and legislation to block the President’s executive actions Republican congressional leaders will find the guts to do the right thing by the American People.

A personal postscript to an amazing week of #immigrationAction

2014-11-22 West WingFriends, I was honored to be among a handful of civil rights and immigration leaders and advocates invited to meet with President Obama in the West Wing of the White House on Thursday afternoon shortly before he announced his Immigration Executive Actions.

As I sat in the Roosevelt room with the President I was taken with thoughts of my grandparents and my dad, Holocaust survivors from Germany, who were given refuge in this great country. We owe so much to those who brought us to this day. And we owe a lot to future generations. I was truly humbled to be a part of this historic moment.

Last night families across America who’d grown accustomed to living in fear went to sleep knowing that in the morning they would wake up safe and together.

That’s not hyperbole, that’s a reality for families throughout the country.

There is a Talmudic saying that “if you save one life, it is as if you have saved the world.” This week the President used his authority to make the immigration system work better until Congress finally fixes it. And, in so doing, the President has “saved the world” for millions and millions of hard working honest people.

At the same time we must remember that what the President has done is only a first step; millions more families continue to live in the shadows, fearful of being separated from their loved ones every time they leave their homes to buy milk at the corner store, medicine for their children, or simply fill the car with gas. This is not who we are as a nation, as people, as a culture.

The step Mr. Obama has taken to make the immigration system work better is a bold and courageous (and yes–solidly legal) use of his lawful authority as President of the United States. But only Congress has the power to fix the antiquated, rigid and outdated immigration policy that plagues this country, devastates families, stymies American business and inhibits job creation.

We can only hope that amid the calls for lawsuits and legislation to block the President’s executive actions Republican congressional leaders will find the guts to do the right thing by the American People.

Obama Stays the Course on Immigration as Pressure Mounts

David Leopold:

The Democrats pressuring Obama not to move on immigration are making a grave error if they think the Republicans who are about to take charge of Congress are serious about passing an immigration reform bill he can sign. What they will pass will likely be an enforcement heavy scheme designed to perpetuate the inhumane policy of “self-deportation” championed by the likes of Rep. Steve King (R-IA) and Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL).

The notion that Republicans could credibly peddle the claim that they have been planning on passing immigration reform all along and, therefore, President Obama should once again refrain from using his lawful authority to make the system work better for American families and business until they do is, in a word, ridiculous. Yet some Democrats–who should know better–seem to be falling for the latest ruse. This quote from former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell is troubling:

Ed Rendell, the former Pennsylvania governor and erstwhile head of the Democratic National Committee, told reporters last week that one way to avoid inflaming Obama’s antagonists was for the President to publicly outline the terms of the immigration order in the coming weeks, but wait until “April or June” to issue it, giving the GOP time to cobble together a bill.

Originally posted on TIME:

President Barack Obama has remained resolute in his plan to unilaterally reshape U.S. immigration law in the wake of his party’s heavy losses in last week’s midterm elections, but pressure is mounting from both sides as he approaches a decision later this year.

The White House has been tight-lipped about when Obama will use his executive authority on immigration, as well as what exactly the package of reforms will contain. But immigration activists say they still expect the President to issue orders that would protect up to several million undocumented immigrants from deportation. The move could come in mid-December, after lawmakers reach a spending agreement that would keep the federal government running, activists say.

The Democratic drubbing on Nov. 4 unleashed a fresh wave of threats from Republicans, who warned Obama that taking unilateral action on immigration would “poison the well,” as House Speaker John Boehner put it. “When you…

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