New Anti-Immigrant GOP Judiciary Committee Readies Itself for Loretta Lynch Hearing

From America’s Voice

Will Senate GOP Really Turn Critical Hearing on Attorney General Nominee into Anti-Immigrant Brawl?

Washington DC – In Congress and on the campaign trailRepublicans have been busy in the new year burnishing their anti-immigrant brand image.  In Washington, most of the anti-immigration action has taken place in the House of Representatives, where the GOP passed legislation straight from the top of the restrictionists’ wish list, including proposals that block the sensible and legal immigration actions announced by the President last November, end the DACA program for DREAMers, and maximize the deportation of all undocumented immigrants in America.

On the other side of the Capitol, Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee are preparing to turn the Attorney General confirmation hearings into yet another anti-immigration slugfest.  Rather than focusing on Loretta Lynch’s qualifications to serve as the next Attorney General for the United States, they are planning to spend much of their time criticizing President Obama’s actions on immigration.

Of course this should surprise no one, since the Republican side of the Senate Judiciary Committee is now stacked with hardliners who have promised to make immigration a dominant focus of the proceedings.

According to Lynn Tramonte, Deputy Director of America’s Voice, “It’s safe to say that Republicans in Congress are obsessed with immigration.  With all of the issues facing the nation today—terrorism, cybercrime, individual liberties, the role of law enforcement in communities, and so much more—Republicans’ decision to turn the Attorney General confirmation hearings into another anti-immigration press conference is just as irresponsible as it is reprehensible.”

It is difficult to predict which Republican Senator will express his anti-immigration obsession the most colorfully, and earn the most headlines.  There certainly are a lot of contenders on the Committee, such as:

“It seems that Republicans in Congress don’t feel they have sufficiently alienated voters who care about immigration reform.  They have to turn every occasion—no matter how important—into an opportunity to attack President Obama on immigration.  It’s a level of obsession that cries out for an intervention,” said Tramonte.

America’s Voice will be commenting on the hearings via Twitter; follow @AmericasVoice to stay informed.

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 

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Mayors de Blasio and Garcetti Announce Mayoral Coalition to File Amicus Brief in Support of President Obama’s Executive Action on Immigration Reform


From the City of New York, Mayor’s Office

January 23, 2015

 More than 30 mayors sign on in Texas vs. United States in defense of President Obama’s reform action

 WASHINGTON—Mayors Bill de Blasio of New York City and Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles announced today plans by more than 30 mayors to file an amicus brief in the Texas vs. United States lawsuit to support President Obama’s recent executive action on immigration reform. The brief opposes a lawsuit pending in Brownsville, TX brought by states seeking to block President Obama’s immigration reform efforts.

The two mayors led the effort to organize more than 30 cities, the National League of Cities, and the U.S. Conference of Mayors in filing a brief arguing that the public interest across the country is served clearly and overwhelmingly by implementing immigration reform by executive action. The brief also argues that blocking executive action with preliminary injunction will stall desperately needed changes to the federal government’s immigration policies. The cities represented by the amici mayors together account for approximately 28.2 million people, including 7.5 million immigrants.

“Our mission is urgent. Delaying implementation of the President’s executive action will further hurt our families, negatively impact our economies, and create unnecessary insecurity in our communities,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Cities are where immigrants live, and cities are where the President’s executive action will be successfully executed. We are organized, and we will fight for the changes this nation needs and deserves, and fight those who oppose immigration reform, be it in the courtroom, in Congress, or in our communities. Our voices will be heard.”

“Our cities cannot afford delays to immigration reforms that will strengthen our economy and help families,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who established a Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. “This isn’t a blue or red issue, but a human and economic one.”

This joint effort to offer the court the crucial perspective of American cities is an outcome of the December immigration summit hosted by Mayor Bill de Blasio at Gracie Mansion and the organizing efforts of the Cities United for Immigration Action (CUIA) coalition. By submitting this “friend of the court” brief, America’s mayors are making a strong statement in support of the President’s plan to grant administrative relief to over 4 million undocumented children and adults. The amicus brief will demonstrate to the Court that executive action will benefit cities by providing work authorization to millions, increasing local tax revenue, and stimulating local economies, facilitating the civic engagement of immigrants, keeping families together, and improving public safety by strengthening our neighborhoods and communities.

In December, 25 states led by Republican governors brought a lawsuit captioned Texas vs. United States in the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Texas, seeking to halt the implementation of the President’s executive action. In response, a group of 12 states in January joined by the District of Columbia filed an amicus brief challenging the lawsuit by arguing that, contrary to the plaintiffs’ claims, the President’s immigration reform will in fact “further the public interest” of states and their residents, both immigrants and citizens. A group of 27 law enforcement leaders and other groups have also filed amicus briefs in support of the President’s executive action on immigration reform.

This is the first submission to the court from the city perspective.

“San Francisco is proud to file an Amicus Brief joining cities large and small from across the country and the U.S. Conference of Mayors to support our President’s bold action on immigration and create the change to help our residents succeed,” said San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee. “As the son of immigrant parents, this issue is very personal to me. Mayors must lead on this reform to provide all of our residents with hope, opportunities, and the services they deserve. We know our diversity drives our cities’ economies and makes us all stronger.”

“The President’s executive action on immigration is a step forward for America,” said Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker. “We need to support his efforts to address our broken immigration system.”

“Filing an Amicus Brief is our way of saying: Pittsburgh stands on the right side of history. The President’s action on immigration was an important first step towards progress—for the growth and prosperity of our nation. We must not go backwards,” said Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto.

“The City of Dayton is proud to be a leader in welcoming people from diverse backgrounds to its community,” said Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley. “This order will strengthen our commitment to inclusion by allowing all residents to fully participate and help grow the economic vitality of the region. It is essential that all citizens feel safe and engaged in the place they call home.”

“This proposal is fair, economically beneficial for everyone, and the right thing to do,” said Madison Mayor Paul Soglin.

“Right now, our immigration system invites the best and brightest from all over the world to come and study at our top universities, including Washington University and St. Louis University, and then once they’ve gotten the training they need to build a new invention or create a new business, our system too often tells them to go back home so that other countries can reap the benefits, the new jobs, the new businesses, the new industries,” said St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay. “It’s evidence of the broken system we have today and why we must fight to fix it.”

The following Mayors have signed on to the amicus brief:

Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York, New York

Mayor Eric Garcetti, Los Angeles, California

Mayor Kasim Reed, Atlanta, Georgia

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Baltimore, Maryland

Mayor Byron Browm, Buffalo, New York

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Chicago, Illinois

Mayor Steve Benjamin, Columbia, South Carolina

Mayor Nan Whaley, Dayton, Ohio

Mayor Michael Hancock, Denver, Colorado

Mayor Muriel Bowser, Washington, D.C.

Mayor Pedro Segarra, Hartford, Connecticut

Mayor Annise Parker, Houston, Texas

Mayor Steven Fulop, Jersey City, New Jersey

Mayor Paul Soglin, Madison, Wisconsin

Mayor Ras Baraka, Newark, New Jersey

Mayor Michael Nutter, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Mayor Bill Peduto, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Mayor Charles Hales, Portland, Oregon

Mayor John Dickert, Racine, Wisconsin

Mayor Tom Butt, Richmond, California

Mayor Lovely Warren, Rochester, New York

Mayor Ralph Becker, Salt Lake City, Utah

Mayor Ed Lee, San Francisco, California

Mayor Gary McCarthy, Schenectady, New York

Mayor Ed Murray, Seattle, Washington

Mayor Francis Slay, St. Louis, Missouri

Mayor Marilyn Strickland, Tacoma, Washington

Mayor Mike Spano, Yonkers, New York

The following mayors have expressed their support and will sign on to the brief, pending final local approvals:

Mayor Karen Majewski, Hamtramck, Michigan

Mayor Virg Bernero, Lansing, Michigan

Mayor Tom Barrett, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Mayor Betsy Hodges, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Mayor Greg Stanton, Phoenix, Arizona

 pressoffice@cityhall.nyc.gov

Meet the 2016 GOP Candidates For President — and Their Positions On #Immigration

From America’s Voice

For Immediate Release:                                             Contact: Katy Green

January 22, 2014                                                                          650-464-1545

Meet the 2016 GOP Candidates For President — and Their Positions On Immigration

All the Resources You Need Ahead of Steve King’s Iowa Freedom Summit
Washington, DC – This weekend, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) is gathering a majority of the 2016 GOP presidential hopefuls at the Iowa Freedom Summit, where the likes of Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, and many more will come to kiss King’s ring and attempt to build up a base in Iowa for their upcoming campaigns.

Not all the 2016 Republican potentials are coming — citing scheduling conflicts — although it may just simply be that they don’t want the photo-op with Steve King.  But as the potentials gather this weekend, and many more times in the next year and a half, America’s Voice is releasing a new research guide on each candidate’s history on immigrants and immigration reform.  It’s available here.

Additionally, in advance of the summit, DREAMers and local leaders are mobilizing to set the record straight when it comes to Iowa and immigration.  Earlier today, advocates held a press call to highlight the release of a new Des Moines Register print ad and op-ed explaining where the majority of Iowans stand on this key issue.  At the summit, DREAMer activists will also be publically confronting 2016 hopefuls, calling on them to define their immigration positions.

All the resources you need are available here:

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.americasvoice.org

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STATES’ LAWSUIT AGAINST EXECUTIVE ACTION HAD FIRST HEARING YESTERDAY; WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

Originally posted by America’s Voice

Yesterday, the case filed by 25 states suing President Obama over executive action received its first hearing with federal judge Andrew Hanen.  The defendant (the federal government) has requested until the end of January to file another brief, which means that Hanen’s ruling won’t come until at least February.  There are several things that might happen in his ruling:

  • Standing — this is the first thing that the plaintiff states must establish.  If they can’t demonstrate that they suffer a particular harm due to executive action (and they are claiming all sorts of harms), then they don’t have standing, and the case will be thrown out.
  • Injunction – the states have asked that the judge hand down preliminary injunction while the case is pending.  This would block executive action while the case winds through the legal system.  If the judge has ruled that the states have standing, Hanen can either 1) deny the motion for an injunction, thereby allowing executive action to begin being implemented, 2) grant an injunction, or 3) grant an injunction only in the 25 states that have sued.
  • Stay — if Hanen hands down an injunction, a higher court can issue a stay.  That would freeze Judge Hanen’s decision granting the injunction and once more allow executive action to proceed while the case winds through the courts.

Below, with an informal quick-take and more details is David Leopold, an immigration attorney, legal consultant to America’s Voice and past president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association:

Does Hanen first need to rule on standing, or can he rule on standing and the injunction at the same time?

Think of standing as the question of whether or not the plaintiffs have shown they have suffered a harm that he can rule on. In other words, I could not sue because someone broke a contract with you. You would have to sue. I would have no standing.

So the judge first needs to agree there is standing, e.g. that the plaintiffs have articulated some harm to them over which he has the authority to rule. If, like the judge in the Arpaio case, he concludes there is no standing, he could dismiss on that basis alone. If he concludes there is standing he then (in the same opinion) will likely rule on the injunction. He could conceivably agree there is standing, but deny the injunction, so the two are not necessarily mutually dependent. Bottom line, the 25 states must show they have standing to sue. If no there is standing, there will be no injunction and the case fails. That would be the best result. According to many observers however, it’s more likely, given the judge’s background, that he’ll agree there is standing and will grant the injunction.

If Hanen issues an injunction would it affect DACA and Morton memos as well as executive action, or just executive action (i.e. DACA expansion, DAPA, new priorities enforcement memos, etc)? 

First, this is a hypothetical question. Let’s remember, the immigration executive actions are solidly legal; they are based constitutional and statutory authority and are consistent with deportation reprieves implemented by presidents of both parties dating back to Eisenhower.

That said, this is a much more difficult question because it involves complicated jurisdictional questions. And I don’t believe scholars are of one view about the answer. The rules governing declaratory judgments give the court authority to declare the rights of parties. Whether or not a ruling declaring the president’s executive actions unlawful would immediately apply across the country is a matter of debate. What’s clear is that an adverse ruling declaring the immigration executive actions unconstitutional, if allowed to stand (which I believe is unlikely at best), would affect DAPA and DACA expansion nationally. It would not impact the Morton memos because those are agency policy directives which are not targeted by the suit, and their legality has not been challenged. Nor would it likely affect most of the immigration executive actions related to business immigration issues. I think an adverse ruling would also effect DACA because the complaint asks for a ruling on the “deferred action program.”

Would an adverse final decision (from SCOTUS) affect DACA and the Morton memos as well as executive action, or just executive action (i.e. DACA expansion, DAPA, new priorities enforcement memos, etc)? In the 25 states or nationwide? 

Again, hypothetically, an adverse SCOTUS ruling would likely affect the well-settled tradition of prosecutorial discretion in general—and throw the entire immigration enforcement system into disarray because it could impact all exercises of deferred action, and, therefore all enforcement decisions. In other words, it wouldn’t be clear how much authority the president has to grant exercised prosecutorial discretion in immigration matters, including deferred action. It would be a royal mess.

But this is outcome his highly unlikely. As recently as its decision in Arizona vs U.S. SCOTUS reaffirmed that “a principal feature of the removal system is the broad discretion exercised by immigration officials.” Moreover, as stated, for decades presidents of both parties have granted deportation reprieves to large classes of undocumented immigrants. According to the Immigration Policy Center perhaps the most striking historical parallel to today’s immigration challenges is the “Family Fairness” policy which led President George H.W. Bush to offer a blanket deferral to as many as 1.5 million spouses and children of immigrants who were legalizing, provided they met certain criteria.

If Hanen issues an injunction and it’s stayed, will DHS be able to continue implementation of the program nationwide?

This is exactly what I predict will happen. And DHS will be able to continue implementation of DAPA and DACA nationwide. At some point some court is going to have to correctly apply the law. My hope is that it will be Judge Hanen who has sworn to uphold the law. But if not, my guess is that it will be the 5th circuit court of appeals—not because they like DAPA or DACA or Obama—but because as a federal appellate court they must ensure the integrity of the judicial system. The 25 states clearly lack standing to bring this suit and that’s exactly what I think the ultimate ruling will turn on.

How much time could pass between the issuing of a preliminary injunction and having it stayed by another court? 

Going out on a limb here, but I believe it will be very short—a matter of hours, if that much. My guess is that in the event of an adverse ruling the government will immediately ask the judge to stay his own order granting the injunction pending appeal. He may or may not do that. If he doesn’t, the government will probably immediately appeal to the 5th circuit and request an emergency hearing. And if that doesn’t work, the government will likely ask SCOTUS to intervene.

House GOP’s #immigration plan: more dysfunction plus mass deportation

Originally posted on The Hill Congress Blog

By David Leopold

The House GOP finally came clean with the American people yesterday They have no interest in immigration reform. Period.

They prefer enforcement chaos.

The GOP introduced legislation attached to the funding of the Department of Homeland Security which would roll back President Obama’s executive actions on deportations, even the reprieve he gave to DREAMers in 2012.
But they didn’t stop there. The Republicans also took aim at the President’s entire immigration policy, which makes it a top priority to deport national security threats, violent criminals and gang bangers. Even Washington Times columnist Bryon York, who’s no fan of Obama’s immigration actions, called the House GOP legislation an “overreach.”

But that “overreach” isn’t just a tactical political error, as York argues. It’s proof positive that the Republicans are not serious about passing any kind of serious immigration reform this Congress—comprehensive, piecemeal or otherwise. It means the House GOP leadership has no interest in immigration solutions that will maintain border security, offer badly needed fixes to the outdated visa system, and give undocumented immigrants a chance to work toward lawful immigration status.

This is because the GOP legislation, if it ever becomes law, would be legally impossible to enforce. The Homeland Security Act requires President Obama to set enforcement priorities—to decide, in effect, which undocumented immigrants should be deported first. At the same time Congress allocates only enough resources to remove a fraction of the estimated 11 million in the U.S.—about 400,000 undocumented immigrants a year. And since he’s been president Obama has done exactly that —earning him the rebuke of many immigration advocates, some of whom called him “The Deporter-in-Chief.”

But the GOP’s legislation—which makes a big show of trying to override the President’s entire immigration policy—leaves intact the legal requirement that he set immigration enforcement priorities. Since the GOP proposal does not substantially increase the money allocated to deportation, the simple fact is that they are proposing a mass deportation policy without supplying the resources to carry it out.

Enactment of the House legislation would result in sheer immigration enforcement chaos and turn commonsense enforcement priorities on their head. Without enforcement priorities to guide them, immigration agents would randomly remove and deport any undocumented immigrant they find. Given that it’s probably easier (and much safer) to arrest a hard working law abiding mother in her home than to ferret out, detain and deport a national security risk or dangerous criminal it’s likely agents would go for the low hanging fruit. Think about it: what incentive would there be to risk life and limb going after dangerous criminals when an undocumented hotel worker or farm hand would fill the daily deportation quota?

To prevent this chaos the Administration would have no choice but to set enforcement priorities–again. Clearly, any responsible executive would favor using limited resources to go after felons, gang-bangers and terrorists.

So we are back to where we started—the president must set enforcement priorities. Not only is it mandated by statute, it’s common sense.

The only reasonable conclusion to be drawn from the GOP proposal is that they are not serious about finding solutions. They’d rather use the legislative process to throw red meat to their extremist base than reach across the aisle and find immigration solutions that will work for the country.

When Republicans swept the elections in 2014, they promised to govern responsibly. But they stand ready to break that promise in the first few weeks of 2015. Requiring President Obama to start deportations up against undocumented parents of U.S. citizen children, rather than focusing our resources on criminals and security threats, is completely irresponsible. Ceding control of the legislative process to party extremists who have no interest in enacting immigration reform is a breach of the public trust.

How President Obama’s New Immigration Policy Is Going To Change My Life

Originally posted on TIME:

xojane

For as long as I can remember, I knew that my parents were undocumented. Growing up in New York City, so many of the people around me were undocumented I didn’t really know what it meant.

But, as I got older, I started to figure it out. My parents would tell my siblings that we wouldn’t be able to fly to see our cousins in Florida or even take a bus to another state because they didn’t have a state-issued ID. I have always feared my parents getting stopped by the authorities and then getting deported. While on the train on my way to school throughout middle and high school, I would come up with contingency plans in case my parents got deported. I would ask myself: Who could I turn to for help with my younger siblings? What would I do if I wasn’t in the city?

When I…

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BREAKING: DHS releases instructions on how to apply for or extend #TPS for #Syria

From the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

WASHINGTON—Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson has redesignated Syria for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and extended the existing TPS designation for the country from April 1, 2015, through Sept. 30, 2016. This allows eligible nationals of Syria (or persons without nationality who last habitually resided in Syria) to register or re-register for TPS in accordance with the notice published today in the Federal Register.

Who is Eligible Current TPS Status When to File
Current TPS beneficiaries from Syria Have TPS To extend your TPS, you must re-register during a 60-day re-registration period that runs from Jan. 5, 2015, through March 6, 2015.
Syrian nationals and persons without nationality who last habitually resided in Syria, who have:

  • Continuously resided in the United States since Jan. 5, 2015, and
  • Been continuously physically present in the United States since April 1, 2015.
Do not have TPS To obtain TPS, you may apply for TPS during a 180-day initial registration period that runs from Jan. 5, 2015, through July 6, 2015.

During the past year, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State reviewed the conditions in Syria. Based upon this review, Secretary Johnson determined that a redesignation and 18-month extension of TPS for Syria is warranted due to an ongoing armed conflict and extraordinary and temporary conditions in Syria that prevent its nationals from returning in safety.

Individuals re-registering for TPS:

Current Syrian TPS beneficiaries seeking to extend their TPS status must re-register during a 60-day period that runs from Jan. 5, 2015, through March 6, 2015. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) encourages beneficiaries to re-register as soon as possible once the 60-day period begins. USCIS will not accept applications before Jan. 5, 2015.

The 18-month extension allows TPS re-registrants to apply for a new Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Eligible Syria TPS beneficiaries who re-register during the 60-day period and request a new EAD will receive one with an expiration date of Sept. 30, 2016. USCIS recognizes that some re-registrants may not receive their new EADs until after their current EADs expire. Therefore, USCIS is automatically extending current TPS Syria EADs with a March 31, 2015, expiration date for an additional six months. These existing EADs are now valid through Sept. 30, 2015.

To re-register, individuals must submit:

·         Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status (Re-registering individuals do not need to pay the Form I-821 application fee);

·         Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, regardless of whether they want an EAD;

·         The Form I-765 application fee, but only if they want an EAD (All individuals re-registering for TPS who want an EAD must pay the Form I-765 fee, regardless of their age); and

·        The biometric services fee if they are age 14 or older.

Individuals applying for TPS for the first time:

For Syrian nationals (and persons having no nationality who last habitually resided in Syria) who do not currently have TPS, the TPS redesignation may allow them to apply for TPS if they have continuously resided in the United States since Jan. 5, 2015, and have been continuously physically present in the United States since April 1, 2015. In addition, applicants must meet all other TPS eligibility and filing requirements.

To apply for the first time, individuals must submit:

·         Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status;

·         The Form I-821 application fee;

·         Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, regardless of whether they want an EAD;

·         The Form I-765 application fee, but only if they want an EAD and are 14 to 65 years old (Those who are under age 14 or are age 66 and older do not need to pay the Form I-765 fee with their initial TPS application); and

·         The biometrics services fee if they are age 14 or older.

Individuals who still have a pending initial TPS application under Syria do not need to submit a new Form I-821. However, if such individuals currently have a TPS-related EAD and want a new EAD, they must submit:

·         Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization;

·         The Form I-765 application fee, regardless of their age; and

·         A copy of the receipt notice for the initial Form I-821 that is still pending.

DHS anticipates that approximately 5,000 individuals will be eligible to re-register for TPS under the existing designation of Syria and estimates that approximately 5,000 additional individuals may be eligible for TPS under the redesignation.

Applicants may request that USCIS waive any fees based on inability to pay by filing Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver, or by submitting a written request. Fee-waiver requests must be accompanied by supporting documentation. USCIS will reject the TPS application of any applicant who fails to submit the required filing fees or a properly documented fee-waiver request.

Additional information about TPS for Syria—including guidance on eligibility, the application process and where to file—is available online at www.uscis.gov/tps. The Federal Register notice published today contains further details about this extension and redesignation of Syria for TPS, including application requirements and procedures, and the automatic six-month extension of current TPS Syria EADs.

All USCIS forms are free. Applicants can download these forms from the USCIS website at www.uscis.gov/forms or request forms by calling USCIS toll-free at 1-800-870-3676.

Applicants seeking information about the status of their individual cases can check My Case Status Online or call the USCIS National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833).

 

 

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