A Lawyer Debunks 2016 GOPers’ Most Extreme #Immigration Ideas

But rather than call out Trump for his xenophobic, nativist and racist demagoguery, the other GOP White House contenders have instead settled into a shameful pattern of trying to out-Trump Trump. Instead of developing serious immigration policy solutions—something the vast majority of Americans favor—Trump’s Republican presidential rivals have lurched to the extreme right offering absurd and irresponsible ideas in an effort to outmaneuver the GOP frontrunner.

The newest ridiculous proposal came over the weekend from Chris Christie speaking at a New Hampshire Town Hall event. Christie suggested tracking noncitizen visitors like courier packages. According to the New Jersey governor it’s all quite simple, “You go online and at any moment, FedEx can tell you where that package is…Yet we let people come into this country with visas, and the minute they come in, we lose track of them.” Christie didn’t elaborate with details, so it’s not clear whether he intends to put barcodes on tourists’ backs, chips in the necks of business visitors or GPS trackers on the foreheads green card holders. I guess we’ll have to wait for his written policy proposal.

Beyond being a really dumb idea, Christie’s FedEx immigrant tracking system shows that the former federal prosecutor is also profoundly ignorant of U.S. law and policy. The Department of Homeland Security already collects biometric data—including digital images and fingerprints—from nearly every noncitizen entering the U.S. at air and sea ports. The tracking is even more intensive for other visitors including students and exchange visitors. The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System, for example, tracks and monitors foreign students after they arrive and throughout their studies in the U.S. Those who fail to show up for school are routinely arrested and detained by ICE agents who are alerted by the tracking system. The bottom line is that while it remains a work in progress, our visitor tracking has already advanced significantly since 9/11. Christie’s plan goes beyond common sense and treats people like inanimate objects.

The other problem for Christie is that tracking a person’s every move probably violates the Constitution. Earlier this year, in Torrey Dale Grady vs. North Carolina, the Supreme Court made clear that if the government puts a GPS tracker on someone—whether they’re a citizen or not—it constitutes a search protected by the 4th Amendment.

But don’t tell that to Donald Trump, Chris Christie or the other GOP presidential candidates. They’ve already proposed to eviscerate the 14th Amendment, the cornerstone of American civil rights that ensures due process and equal protection to all persons. The Republican politicians might be tempted to propose shredding the entire Constitution which, it seems, gets in the way of some of their most repugnant ideas.

Not to be outdone by Christie’s FedEx immigrant tracking system, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker—who used to be a pro-immigrant conservative before he became an anti-immigrant nativist—has made the ludicrous claim that building a border wall between the U.S. and Canadais a “legitimate” idea. He also made the unsubstantiated assertion that “Islamic extremists” are flooding the U.S. Mexico border.

Putting aside for the moment that for most of the year much of the 5,525 mile U.S. Canadian border is a frozen mass of snow and ice, there is little evidence that hordes of Canadians (or anyone else) are illegally sneaking over the border. But even if there was, why stop at building the wall at the northern border? If it’s true that about 40 percent of the undocumented immigrant population arrived in the U.S. legally on visas but overstayed, as Chris Christie claimed in New Hampshire over the weekend, then many of the undocumented immigrants probably arrived on airplanes. So why not build walls around our airports too? It might put a crimp in the take-off and landing part of U.S. and international aviation, but it’s sure to keep out illegal immigrants—along with business people, investors, entrepreneurs, artists, scientists and anyone else who adds to the fabric of our nation.

It would be unfair to leave out Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, who was on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday insisting that “immigrants come here legally, learn English, adopt our values, roll up our sleeves and get to work.” When asked what he meant by “adopt our values” Jindal pointed to the example of immigrants in Europe who do not integrate into the cultures of their adopted countries. Jindal—who is a U.S. citizen because of birthright citizenship but now opposes birthright citizenship—didn’t mention that unlike the U.S. many of those countries do not have birthright citizenship and, therefore, many immigrants to Europe are not able to fully integrate into the cultures of their adopted countries.

Jindal also failed to point that American law already requires that immigrants learn to speak, read and write English to become citizens. Aspiring Americans are also tested on their knowledge of U.S. history and government. Maybe politicians like Jindal should also be required to take the citizenship test before they can run for president. The first question is “What is the supreme law of the land? The answer is “the Constitution.” The test might prove to be a more efficient way to narrow the field of presidential contenders.

Nothing that’s been proposed by Trump or those who try and mimic him will do anything to build a safe, orderly and fair immigration system. Whether it’s building a wall, mass deportation, eviscerating birthright citizenship, attacking DREAMers or tracking people like packages, none of the anti-immigrant proposals put out by Trump or the other GOP candidates will solve the problem of 11 million undocumented people living in the U.S., working hard, paying taxes and raising children. Nor will anything Trump or his GOP rivals have proposed fix the broken visa system so that it meets the needs of American business, creates American jobs, and keeps America globally competitive.

At some point Trump may have to answer for his hateful rhetoric and preposterous immigration policy proposals. But unless someone in the GOP finds the guts to forcefully stand up to his demagoguery rather than follow his lead, the Republican Party risks being branded the Party of Trump for years to come.

David Leopold practices immigration law in Cleveland. He is past president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

DHS Press release and links on work authorization for H-4 Spouses–>

DHS Extends Eligibility for Employment Authorization to Certain H-4 Dependent Spouses of H-1B Nonimmigrants Seeking Employment-Based Lawful Permanent Residence

WASHINGTON – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director León Rodríguez announced today that, effective May 26, 2015, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is extending eligibility for employment authorization to certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants who are seeking employment-based lawful permanent resident (LPR) status. DHS amended the regulations to allow these H-4 dependent spouses to accept employment in the United States.

Finalizing the H-4 employment eligibility was an important element of the immigration executive actions President Obama announced in November 2014. Extending eligibility for employment authorization to certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants is one of several initiatives underway to modernize, improve and clarify visa programs to grow the U.S. economy and create jobs.

“Allowing the spouses of these visa holders to legally work in the United States makes perfect sense,” Rodríguez said. “It helps U.S. businesses keep their highly skilled workers by increasing the chances these workers will choose to stay in this country during the transition from temporary workers to permanent residents. It also provides more economic stability and better quality of life for the affected families.”

Eligible individuals include certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants who:

  • Are the principal beneficiaries of an approved Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker; or
  • Have been granted H-1B status under sections 106(a) and (b) of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first Century Act of 2000 as amended by the 21st Century Department of Justice Appropriations Authorization Act. The Act permits H-1B nonimmigrants seeking lawful permanent residence to work and remain in the United States beyond the six-year limit on their H-1B status.

DHS expects this change will reduce the economic burdens and personal stresses H-1B nonimmigrants and their families may experience during the transition from nonimmigrant to lawful permanent resident status, and facilitate their integration into American society. As such, the change should reduce certain disincentives that currently lead H-1B nonimmigrants to abandon efforts to remain in the United States while seeking lawful permanent residence, which will minimize disruptions to U.S. businesses employing them. The change should also support the U.S. economy because the contributions H-1B nonimmigrants make to entrepreneurship and science help promote economic growth and job creation. The rule also will bring U.S. immigration policies more in line with those laws of other countries that compete to attract similar highly skilled workers.

Under the rule, eligible H-4 dependent spouses must file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, with supporting evidence and the required $380 fee in order to obtain employment authorization and receive a Form I-766, Employment Authorization Document (EAD). USCIS will begin accepting applications on May 26, 2015. Once USCIS approves the Form I-765 and the H-4 dependent spouse receives an EAD, he or she may begin working in the United States.

USCIS estimates the number of individuals eligible to apply for employment authorization under this rule could be as high as 179,600 in the first year and 55,000 annually in subsequent years. USCIS reminds those potentially eligible that this rule is not considered effective until May 26, 2015. Individuals should not submit an application to USCIS before the effective date, and should avoid anyone who offers to assist in submitting an application to USCIS before the effective date.

For more information on USCIS and its programs or about this rule and filing procedures, please visit uscis.gov or follow us on Facebook (/uscis), Twitter (@uscis), YouTube (/uscis) and the USCIS blog The Beacon.

– USCIS –

This morning’s must read: @seungminkim’s Proxy fight–several GOP senators positioning themselves around an immigration fight

If the Senate GOP leadership permits Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Mike Lee (R-UT) to turn the Lynch Attorney General confirmation hearing into a proxy fight over the President’s authority to make the immigration system work better until Congress passes an overhaul of the dysfunctional law, it’ll be proof positive that the GOP has been gaming the country on immigration reform the whole time, that they never intended to do anything other than implement the nativists’ mean spirited call for “self deportation.”

Posted on Politico

By Seung Min Kim

11/10/14 11:24 PM EST

Updated 11/11/14 5:58 AM EST

Senate Republicans plan to turn the battle over attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch into a larger debate over immigration, using the confirmation hearings as a proxy war over presidential power rather than a debate over Lynch’s qualifications.

Lynch, who would be the first black female attorney general, is considered a strong nominee, with a long record as a federal prosecutor. That makes the political fight over Barack Obama and his executive powers a much better bet for Republicans who took control of the Senate riding the president’s unpopularity.
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The Republicans’ early strategy, according to comments from senators and several Republican aides close to the Judiciary Committee, centers on whether the president has the authority to bypass Congress on immigration — allowing Republicans to write their own narrative on the nomination.

“The president is increasingly on a smaller and smaller island if he goes forward with this action and the next item of business is the nomination of the attorney general,” one Senate Republican aide said Monday. “Don’t underestimate the capacity for that to become a major battle front.”

Several GOP senators are publicly positioning themselves around an immigration fight.
Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah have signaled that immigration will be a large part of their line of questioning against Lynch when her confirmation process begins, which they said should happen after the new Republican majority is seated in January.

“The nominee must demonstrate full and complete commitment to the law,” Cruz and Lee said in a joint statement. “Loretta Lynch deserves the opportunity to demonstrate those qualities, beginning with a statement whether or not she believes the president’s executive amnesty plans are constitutional and legal.”

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the strategy.
But Hill Democrats say the Republican plan could backfire.
“I don’t think that issue should be central to Loretta Lynch’s confirmation,” Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in an interview Monday, adding that he said he wanted to see Lynch considered and confirmed “promptly.”

Since Attorney General Eric Holder said in September he planned to step down, a handful of other Senate Republicans have signaled the issue of executive action on immigration would be a central issue in confirming his successor. For example, Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama has, for weeks, been encouraging fellow senators to oppose any replacement for Holder who does not “firmly reject” Obama’s plan for executive action on immigration.

The chatter is preliminary — Congress is officially back in session Wednesday, and senators will have more time then to hash out a more formal strategy on Lynch’s nomination process. But key aides on Monday sketched out an initial strategy that centers on grilling Lynch — the federal prosecutor for the Eastern District of New York — over Obama’s pending immigration action and whether she backs it.

A slew of other hot-button issues are sure to surface during Lynch’s confirmation hearings, such as the Operation Fast and Furious gun-walking scandal, the contentious debate over voter ID laws and executive overreach, Republican aides added.

“Decisions and actions by President Obama and Attorney General Holder have made the proper bounds of executive power a critically important issue for this confirmation process,” Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said Monday, signaling that will be a priority in deciding whether to confirm Lynch.

But the dominant issue will be immigration — and President Barack Obama’s looming executive action that could potentially halt deportations for millions of immigrants here without legal status. Obama has promised to keep his pledge to Latino and immigration advocates to act on deportations by the end of the year.

Senate Democrats don’t think the strategy will work.

“With Republicans on these issues, they always run the risk of overreach,” added a Senate Democratic leadership aide. “She’s not tied to the administration, she hasn’t had a tie to any of these past executive actions. … Efforts to tie her down to that stuff would come across as overly political.”

No decisions have been made on when the Senate will take up Lynch’s nomination to be the nation’s chief law enforcement official, officials said Monday. But one Democratic leadership aide said senators were leaning toward installing Lynch in the new Congress, when the GOP will be in control of the chamber.

Senate Democrats are banking on the view that the twice-confirmed Lynch, who would be the nation’s first black female attorney general with the Senate’s blessing, would be qualified enough to be confirmed under a Democratic- or GOP-led chamber.

“She should have no difficulty whatsoever on the merits,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), a member of the Judiciary Committee, said in an interview Monday. “There is not a scintilla of factual basis to challenge her.”
The lame-duck session leaves an already truncated timeline to handle a high-profile nomination such as attorney general, and Congress is already buried under other must-do legislative priorities. The process to confirm Lynch has barely started on Capitol Hill — the Judiciary Committee has yet to receive Lynch’s paperwork, an aide said — and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has made National Security Agency reform his top priority in the lame-duck session.

Republicans prefer to leave the task of confirming Lynch to the new Congress. Presumptive incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said last week that Lynch should be “considered in the new Congress through regular order.”

Incoming Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) has pledged a “very fair, but thorough” vetting, noting that U.S. attorneys are “rarely” promoted straight to the attorney general spot.
“So I look forward to learning more about her, how she will interact with Congress and how she proposes to lead the department,” he said.

In theory, the Senate could begin the nomination process in the lame-duck session under Leahy and continue in the new Congress under Grassley, Democratic aides said. When the Senate considered the nomination of John Ashcroft for attorney general in 2001, a handful of the hearings were held under Leahy and later under Hatch, who assumed the Judiciary chairmanship in late January 2001.

But that option doesn’t appear to be under serious consideration for now, and Republicans are sure to gain seats on the Judiciary Committee in the new Congress. If the process begin during the current Congress and continues into the next, new Republican members may not get the opportunity to question Lynch.

Still, other Senate Democrats want to clear her nomination quickly. In an interview Monday, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) said confirming Holder’s successor should be done as soon as possible, pointing to the continuing unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, as one area that awaits the incoming attorney general.

“I believe we have an obligation to confirm the attorney general as quickly as we can,” McCaskill said. “I think we need to do our work, unless there’s a problem with this woman’s background.”

Burgess Everett contributed to this report.

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