.@Americasvoice: @SenatorSessions Dishonors Cesar Chavez & Praises Anti-Immigrant Group’s “Research”

From America’s Voice

For Immediate Release:                                                         Contact: Michael Earls
April 1, 2014                                                                                          202-494-8555 

Washington, DC – It was quite the busy Monday for the Senate’s leading anti-immigrant member, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL).  By objecting to a Senate resolution honoring Latino civil rights hero Cesar Chavez and touting the shoddy “research” of allied anti-immigrant organization the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), Sen. Sessions offered a fresh reminder of how the extreme, anti-immigrant wing of the Republican Party will continue to define the GOP to Latino voters and fill the vacuum left by Republican inaction on immigration reform.

Last evening, Sen. Sessions objected to a resolution honoring Latino civil rights leader Cesar Chavez after Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) asked unanimous consent to move it forward in the U.S. Senate.  In response, Sen. Menendez (D-NJ) asked, “How can they look back at the sacrifices Cesar Chavez made for our country and fail to recognize the accomplishments of this great American Hero?”

Earlier that day, Sen. Sessions breathlessly lifted up new “research” from anti-immigrant organization Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), saying that CIS had demonstrated that “immigration enforcement in America has collapsed.”  Unsurprisingly given CIS’s anti-immigrant roots and associations, the study isn’t viewed as credible by actual immigration policy experts.  For example, the American Immigration Council coolly dissected the methodological shortcomings and shoddy conclusions of the CIS study here.  Keep in mind, CIS is the same organization whose senior policy analyst Stephen Steinlight said that Senate’s immigration proposal “amounts to a plot against America,” and warned that it if it were to pass, America will “be balkanized along ethnic and cultural lines and lose its cohesion.”  Most disturbingly, in regards to the many religious leaders of many faiths who support immigration reform, Steinlight said, “God help me, find a baseball bat, there would be a whole lot fewer of them around.”

According to Lynn Tramonte, Deputy Director of America’s Voice, “By blocking the resolution honoring Cesar Chavez, Sessions has proven that he’s not just anti-immigrant and anti-worker, but anti-Latino and anti-American.  He has a casual relationship with the facts, a cozy relationship with the Center for Immigration Studies, and zero credibility with most thinking people.  So why is it that the Republican Party continues to let him and his buddy in the House, Steve King, define them before millions of Latino, Asian, and immigrant voters?  Sessions and King are filling the vacuum left by House GOP inaction, with dangerous implications for the GOP’s electoral prospects in 2014 and 2016—not to mention our national character.”

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

 

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What else is new? @ImmPolCenter: Report from Center for Immigration Studies Misleads and Misinforms

From the American Immigration Council

For Immediate Release

New Report from Center for Immigration Studies on Deportation Data Misleads and Misinforms

March 31, 2014

Washington D.C. – Today the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) released a new report that makes a range of false claims about deportation data.  Following is a statement from Benjamin Johnson, Executive Director of the American Immigration Council, in response to “Catch and Release: Interior Immigration Enforcement in 2013”

“A new report from the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) makes a range of false claims about deportation data. First their claim that out of 722,000 “potentially deportable aliens” encountered by Immigration and Customs Enforcement only 195,000 were charged is completely misleading.  As a result of dragnet programs like Secure Communities, any foreign-born individual that that comes into contact with law-enforcement likely falls into 722,000 number cited by CIS.  Thus, this number includes immigrants (including long time permanent residents) whose interaction with law enforcement was so minor that they are not even legally subject to removal.  In fact, that data likely includes U.S. citizens as well.  CIS is essentially asserting that a legal-permanent resident or a recently naturalized citizen with a broken tail light should be charged by ICE and removed from the country although there is no basis in law for such action.

“Second, the claim that only 195,000 were charged by ICE is completely misleading.  Sadly, it isn’t necessary to be “charged” by ICE in order to be removed from the country.  For instance, this “charged” number does not include the 159,624 people who were removed based on the reinstatement of a prior removal order or the 23,455 that were voluntarily returned to their country of birth.  And, the number likely does not include the additional 101,000 that were removed from the U.S. based on an expedited removal order, where they were summarily removed without ever having a chance to take their case before a judge or receive any meaningful due process.

“Furthermore, the report claims ICE “released” 68,000 “criminal aliens” yet fails to explain that being released is not the equivalent of being set-free. Being released from ICE custody often means being issued a notice to appear in court, released with an ankle bracelet or released under an order of supervision. These details were conveniently left out of the CIS analysis.

Understanding deportation data is important in the current debate over immigration reform. However, reports full of false and misleading data do nothing to move the discussion forward and pave the way for further polarization and inaction.”

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For more information, contact Wendy Feliz at wfeliz@immcouncil.org or 202-507-7524202-507-7524

HT @AmericasVoice: Two NYT Stories Highlight On-the-Ground Anger & Disillusionment With Washington’s Immigration Failures

From America’s Voice

Washington, DC – Two New York Times stories from this past weekend highlight the growing anger and disillusionment directed at both political parties, coming from core constituencies.  The Republicans come in for special condemnation from agricultural producers for blocking immigration reform legislation.  Meanwhile, President Obama’s record deportations are causing frustration and anger in the Latino community.  The stories offer sobering political reminders for both parties about consequences of the immigration status quo.

In a New York Times story titled, “California Farmers Short of Labor, and Patience,” Jennifer Medina writes of the acute frustration expressed by agricultural leaders in California’s Central Valley over Republican obstruction on immigration reform:

 Perhaps nowhere else captures the contradictions and complications of immigration policy better than California’s Central Valley, where nearly all farmworkers are immigrants, roughly half of them living here illegally, according to estimates from agricultural economists at the University of California, Davis.  That reality is shaping the views of agriculture business owners here, like Mr. Herrin, who cannot recall ever voting for a Democrat.  In dozens of interviews, farmers and owners of related businesses said that even the current system of tacitly using illegal labor was failing to sustain them.  A work force that arrived in the 1990s is aging out of heavy labor, Americans do not want the jobs, and tightened security at the border is discouraging new immigrants from arriving, they say, leaving them to struggle amid the paralysis on immigration policy.  No other region may be as eager to keep immigration legislation alive…

…After the 2012 presidential election, as Republicans spoke enthusiastically about the need to court Latinos, Mr. Nassif was optimistic that immigration would become a top priority.  But exasperation has replaced his confidence in recent months, and he said his group [The Western Growers Association] could withhold hundreds of thousands of dollars in congressional races in which it has usually supported Republicans.

I can tell you if the Republicans don’t put something forward on immigration, there is going to be a very loud hue and cry from us in agriculture,’ Mr. Nassif said. ‘We are a tremendously important part of the party, and they should not want to lose us.’

In a New York Times piece titled, “Hopes Frustrated, Many Latinos Reject the Ballot Box Altogether,” Jackie Calmes reports that Colorado Latino voters’ anger and disillusionment at both parties could preview lower levels of Latino voter turnout – a potentially ominous development for Democrats:

Latinos mainly blame Republicans, who control the House and have buried the Senate bill, but they also have soured on Mr. Obama.  The federal government has so aggressively enforced existing immigration laws that one national Hispanic leader recently nicknamed the president ‘deporter in chief’ for allowing nearly two million people to be deported…

…Democrats indeed are worried.  While the growing Latino electorate is a force in presidential elections, and one expected to give Democrats an edge for years unless Republicans shed an anti-immigrant image, Latinos are relative bit players in this midterm election year.  Their turnout typically drops in midterm years; nationally and in Colorado, about half of registered Latinos voted in 2008 and 2012, but less than a third did in the 2010 midterm elections and many Democrats lost.  This fall, with many Latinos caught between hostility toward Republicans and disappointment with Mr. Obama, participation could dip further…

…A depressed vote threatens Democrats in a number of races, notably in Colorado, where Latinos were 14 percent of the state’s 2012 electorate and about 70 percent voted for Democrats.  Their Senate majority at risk, Democrats are hustling to help Senator Mark Udall now that a formidable Republican, Representative Cory Gardner, has challenged him.  They also hope to snatch the House district, including Aurora, from Representative Mike Coffman, a Republican.  His Democratic rival is Andrew Romanoff, a former State House speaker.

Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, said, “The status quo is unacceptable and the American people want their leaders to lead.  If House Republicans don’t step up to pass immigration reform in the next three months, President Obama will have to step in to take action through executive action.   While a permanent solution through legislation is the best option, executive action is far better than inaction.”

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

Give ‘em Francis, Barry!

Originally posted on TIME:

On the issue of immigration reform, President Obama has much more than a mere friend in Pope Francis. In fact, if the White House allowed for it, he could have a de-facto spokesperson on immigration reform in the Holy Father.

Much like he used the pope’s words to successfully frame the income inequality debate last December, President Obama should again go back to Francis to restart the immigration reform debate in Washington.

He has a lot to work with. Since taking office, Pope Francis has put respect for immigrants’ right at the top of his agenda. In his first pastoral trip, he visited the Italian island of Lampedusa, where hundreds have died in recent months trying to immigrate into Europe from North Africa.

His words that day still ring in my ears: “God asks us today: where is your brother? Has any one of us wept because of this situation…

View original 583 more words

Shifting Pressure, Shifting Strategies – Whose Move Will Be Checkmate?

By Annaluisa Padilla, Member, Executive Committee, American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) 

Follow her on Twitter @APesq

Originally Posted on AILA Leadership Blog


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Chess is a two-player strategy game. Each player begins with 16 pieces: A king, a queen, two rooks, two knights, two bishops, and eight pawns. Pieces are used to attack and capture, with the objective to ‘checkmate’ the opponent’s king by inescapably trapping him. Strategy, however, is the key to each move.

Just like politics.

In June of 2012 President Obama sent shockwaves from Pennsylvania Avenue, to Capitol Hill, and across the nation by announcing he would defer the deportation of young undocumented immigrants through a process later termed Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). A few months later the President was re-elected with the overwhelming support of the Latino community and the conversation about immigration began to shift. Republicans and Democrats were both talking about when, not whether, immigration reform would become a reality.

One year later, the Senate passed bipartisan comprehensive immigration legislation. Suddenly immigration reform had real momentum. DREAMers, immigration advocates, and pundits called upon the House of Representatives to finish the job the Senate had started and send an immigration reform bill to the President for signature.

But then it all seemed to hit a brick wall.

While both parties have taken a few steps forward, whether it’s the House Republican Standards for Immigration Reform, or the Democrats presenting H.R. 15, no real fixes to our broken immigration system have been implemented. It has been over 200 days since the Senate passed a thorough immigration reform bill and more than 45 days since those House GOP standards were released, yet the prospect of any positive bills making it out of the 113th Congress are looking increasingly bleak.

Politics have taken over the rhetoric with all sides throwing accusations and shifting blame for inaction.  Conservatives argue they cannot trust the current administration to enforce the laws.  Yet they ignore the fact that the current administration has deported more immigrants than the two previous administrations combined.

Advocates feel frustrated that the House is unwilling to reach across the table to work in a bipartisan manner to finish the job the Senate started.  Yet they also fear that if they make a radical move reform will die a slow, painful, disheartening death on the steps of the Capitol.

As if engaged in a game of chess, many, who started mobilizing their pieces with pressure on the House to take action, are now shifting their rooks to pressure President Obama to stop deportations.  We’ve seen field activists at work, fasting for reform and holding protests which has upped the media coverage and drawn attention to blatant violations of human rights and defiance of the dysfunctional immigration laws that continue to separate families.

How far do the American people have to go for their leaders to listen?  Poll after poll highlights that the American people want reform of our immigration laws, that the majority favor a fair and just avenue for the 11 million to fully integrate into our economic and social fabric.  Study after study demonstrates the economic and prosperity benefits of immigration reform and report after report shows that we need smarter enforcement, not necessarily more money thrown at the border.

Yet despite the strong public support for reform, no floor votes on immigration have yet been scheduled. Advocates are shifting pressure and tactics to see who will make the next move – will Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) have the courage to listen to the American public and not the extremists in the House? Will President Obama take further administrative measures to protect American families from being torn apart while the House delays acting on immigration reform?

Meanwhile, American families are feeling the pain and anguish and businesses are losing millions in revenue. But unlike the game of chess, there is no “King” to checkmate. The only inescapable threat of capture lies with the American people being held hostage by the politics of the game. So the question is: what bold move must be taken to get reform back on track?

The President’s directive to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in the summer of 2012 to establish DACA was reasonable, humane, and smart enforcement. Every agency holds discretion in enforcement to ensure the security of our communities and to maximize their limited resources.

This month’s call by the President on Jeh Johnson, the newly appointed head of DHS, to look for ways to “more humanely” enforce immigration laws seems promising. A move welcomed by advocates and an opportunity for the agency to embrace our American values of due process, liberty and humanity. The agency’s use of prosecutorial discretion and the administration’s encouragement to find ways to ease the disheartening effects of the current system while our leaders continue to move three pawns, shift two knights and glide one bishop across the board toward a bipartisan reform bill is not only the right move, but one that acknowledges our family values and can ease the economic losses of our businesses while maintaining the security of our communities.

 

ICYMI: Proud To Be Tweeting With #TNTweeters for Comprehensive #Immigration Reform

TNTweeters is a grassroots movement of Aspiring Americans dedicated to making Comprehensive Immigration Reform a reality.  I’m proud to stand with them because America needs to keep its borders secure, its workers employed and prosperous, its businesses globally competitive, and its families safe and together.

The American people want the House of Representatives to finish the job the Senate started and send President Obama immigration reform legislation that will give our country the safe, orderly and fair immigration system it so desperately needs.

ICYMI: The Devastation of Needless Deportations. #TNTweeters @americasvoice #immigration

It’s time for the House GOP leadership to stop delaying and fix the broken immigration system.  American families deserve to be safe and together.

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