When Immigration Matters

Immigration Attorney Karen-Lee Pollak Comments on Supreme Courts Mixed Immigration Law Ruling

Posted by Michael Pollak on Tue, Jun 26, 2012 @ 6:37 PM
Charles Bassett of KDAF-TV in Dallas reported last night on the reaction of North Texans to the U.S. Supreme Courts mixed ruling striking down most of Arizona's controversial immigration law.  

Karen-Lee PollakImmigration attorney Karen-Lee Pollak thinks that even this provision may come before the court again. "The supreme court in its wording has left the door open to further challenges of this show me your papers law", Pollak said.

Pollak says today's ruling is a warning to other states of what not to do when crafting immigration laws. "I think that the Supreme Court has sent across a very strong message that says states cannot pre-empt federal law", she said.

Supreme Court Rejects Key Provisions of Arizona's Immigration Law

Posted by Karen-Lee Pollak on Mon, Jun 25, 2012 @ 1:17 PM

Arizona's immigration law, SB1070, sb1070 Today, June 25, 2012, the Supreme Court threw out key provisions of Arizona's crackdown on illegal immigrants  but said a much-debated portion could go forward - that police must check the status of people stopped for various reasons who might appear to be in the U.S. illegally. 

The court upheld the "show me your papers" requirement, but even there the justices said the provision could be subject to additional legal challenges. And they removed some teeth by prohibiting officers from arresting people on immigration charges.

The Obama administration had assailed the Arizona law as an unconstitutional intrusion into an area under Washington's control, and the court struck down provisions that would have made state crimes out of federal immigration violations.

President Obama said he was pleased that the court struck down key parts of Arizona's law but concerned about what the high court left intact.  "No American should ever live under a cloud of suspicion just because of what they look like," the president said in a written statement. He said police in Arizona should not enforce the provision in a way that undermines civil rights.

Justice Anthony Kennedy said the law could - and suggested it should - be read to avoid concerns that status checks could lead to prolonged detention.  The court struck down these three major provisions: requiring all immigrants to obtain or carry immigration registration papers, making it a state criminal offense for an illegal immigrant to seek work or hold a job and allowing police to arrest suspected illegal immigrants without warrants.

Even with the limitations the high court put on Arizona, the immigration status check still is "an invitation to racial profiling," said American Civil Liberties Union lawyer Omar Jadwat.

Oral Argument in Arizona v. US. The Future of S.B.1070?

Posted by Karen-Lee Pollak on Fri, Apr 27, 2012 @ 3:19 PM

S.B. 1070, visa"It did not take long for Justice Antonin Scalia to side with Arizona [regarding SB 1070], and it was not much later that Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., showed that he, too, was inclined that way. Justice Clarence Thomas, who said nothing during the argument, is known to be totally opposed to the kind of technical legal challenge that the government has mounted against S.B. 1070. That left Justices Anthony M. Kennedy and Samuel A. Alito, Jr., as the ones that might be thought most likely to help make a majority for Arizona." - Lyle Denniston, Apr. 25, 2012

See the Transcript of the Supreme Court Oral Argument in Arizona v. US  docs/supreme court.pdf


IMMIGRATION MYTH: Arizonans Need SB 1070 to Fight Crime & Kidnappings

Posted by Karen Pollak on Thu, Dec 16, 2010 @ 12:25 PM

Supporters of Arizona's anti-immigrant SB 1070 claim that the residents of the Grand Canyon State need to be protected fromMythbuster crime and kidnapping perpetrated by illegal immigrants. But, the truth is, rising immigration is responsible for crime reduction and in Arizona the people most likely to be kidnapped are undocumented immigrants themselves! Before throwing your hands up in frustration and defeat when you hear this myth about the need to have SB 10170, and laws like it, for the sake of public safety, consider responding with these quick mythbusting facts!

FACT:Statistical models suggest that cities with the largest increases in immigration between 1990 and 2000 experienced the largest decreases in homicide and robbery during the same time period. According to sociologist Tim Wadsworth, the findings offer insights into the complex relationship between immigration and crime and suggest that growth in immigration may have been responsible for part of the precipitous crime drop of the 1990s.

FACT:Some police chiefs believe that crime will actually go up if SB 1070 becomes law in Arizona or in any other state. They believe that diverting resources away from the fight against violent crime and breaking down the hard-won trust between cops and the communities where they work will make it harder to keep people safe. Police chiefs have argued that, “This is not a law that increases public safety. This is a bill that makes it much harder for us to do our jobs,” said Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck.

FACT: Most of the kidnappings that do occur in Phoenix are of undocumented immigrants. As Terry Greene Sterling describes in her book Illegal: Life and Death in Arizona’s Immigration War Zone, most of the kidnapping victims in Phoenix are unauthorized immigrants held for ransom by the smugglers (coyotes) they hire to bring them to the United States. These are “drop house” kidnappings in which “incoming migrants at the border are baited with low smuggling fares. Those low fares are ramped up by thousands of dollars once the migrants are held at gunpoint in a drop house.”

More mythbusting facts on this issue can be found in Separating Fact from Fiction: The Truth about Kidnapping in Arizona, a report from the Immigration Policy Center.

Immigration questions?  We have answers.  Free consultation available | 800-969-5529

S.B. 1070 Proving Costly | Immigration

Posted by Karen Pollak on Sat, Dec 11, 2010 @ 8:38 AM

Arizona's notorious anti-immigrant law, S.B. 1070, is proving to be a costly mistake. That is the message of a new report from the Center for American Progress (CAP) which estimates some of "the economic and fiscal consequences of the tourism boycott that occurred in response to the passage of S.B. 1070" in April of this year. More precisely, the report quantifies "the effects of lost tourism from meetings and conventions" that were cancelled as a result of the boycott. The report, entitled Stop the Conference, concludes that the cancellation of conventions alone "has produced or will produce hundreds of millions of dollars in lost direct spending in the state and diminished economic output. That, in turn, will lead to thousands of lost jobs and more than $100 million in lost salaries."

Key Provisions of Arizona Immigration Law Blocked by Bolton

Posted by Michael Pollak on Fri, Jul 30, 2010 @ 5:38 PM

Just hours before the law was to take effect, Judge Susan Bolton of Federal District Court issued a preliminary injunction blocking the most controversial parts of Arizona’s immigration enforcement law that have re-ignited the national immigration debate.

Although Judge Bolton's ruling is not final, it seems likely to halt, at least temporarily, an expanding movement by states to combat illegal immigration by making it a state crime to be an immigrant without legal documents and by imposing new requirements on state and local police officers to enforce immigration law. It sets up a lengthy legal battle that could end up before the Supreme Court – ensuring that a controversial law, which inspired similar measures nationwide, created fodder for political campaigns and raised tensions with Mexico will stay in the spotlight.
Judge Susan Bolton 300x225 resized 600Judge Bolton did allow some, less debated provisions of the law to go into effect, including banning ordinances for "sanctuary cities" that  have deemphasized their policies for alerting federal agents about illegal immigrants.

But Judge Bolton found that the law was on the side of the Justice Department in its argument that many provisions of the Arizona statute would interfere with longstanding federal authority over immigration and could lead to harassment of citizens and legal immigrants.

“Preserving the status quo through a preliminary injunction is less harmful than allowing state laws that are likely pre-empted by federal law to be enforced,” she said.

“There is a substantial likelihood that officers will wrongfully arrest legal resident aliens,” she wrote. “By enforcing this statute, Arizona would impose,” she said, citing a previous Supreme Court case, a “ ‘distinct, unusual and extraordinary’ burden on legal resident aliens that only the federal government has the authority to impose.”

“This fight is far from over,” said Ms. Brewer, whose lawyers had argued that Congress granted states the power to enforce immigration law particularly when, in their view, the federal government fell short. “In fact,” she added, “it is just the beginning, and at the end of what is certain to be a long legal struggle, Arizona will prevail in its right to protect our citizens.”

Arizona Immigration Battle | Katie Couric | Video

Posted by Karen Pollak on Wed, Jul 21, 2010 @ 12:39 PM

Katie Couric talks to experts on both sides of the Arizona immigration law (SB 1070) that has ignited a firestorm of controversy as well as a federal lawsuit.  She is joined by Christina Rodriguez, a Law Professor at NYU;  Doris Meissner, a Senior Fellow at Migration Policy Institute and a former INS Commissioner; and Dan Stein, President of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). 

The guests share their contrasting perspectives on the following topics:

  • What Should be or Can be Done to Control Illegal Immigration in the United States?
  • Arizona Law Defined
  • Racial Profiling
  • Why Do So Many Break the Law?
  • Are Illegal Immigrants Taking American Jobs? 

Katie Couric

Good dialogue to help formulate an opinion on a highly controversial subject.

Arizona's Immigration Law and the Impact on MLB's Latino Rookies

Posted by Karen Pollak on Sat, Jun 19, 2010 @ 2:17 PM

This article really struck me about the impact of Arizona's tough, new immigration law.  Although, they are all living and working in the US legally, they could be adversely impacted as the new law requires state and local law enforcement officials to inquire about immigration status during any lawful stop such as a minor traffic violation. 

While the legislature eliminated language that would prohibit basing a reasonable suspicion that a person is in the country illegally based "solely" on race or ethnicity, it gave no guidance as to what constitutes a reasonable suspicion.  Therein lies the problem.  It is likely that U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and other legal residents and visitors may still be subject to discrimination and racial profiling once the law goes into effect.


PHOENIX - Dozens of these young Latino men have crossed the border into Arizona. Some are just teenagers, some are in the United States for the first time. Many don't speak English.

Illegal immigrant fighter sheriff Joe Arpaio need not be concerned. They already have all the paperwork an immigrant - and baseball player - could want.

Esmerling VasquezThe Arizona Rookie League starts Monday, with some 150 or so prospects from Latin America taking part. Unless a court decides otherwise, the state's much-debated immigration law will take effect on July 29. The season ends a month later.

The Cleveland Indians have taken extra precautions to be sure their young Latin players aren't caught unaware and unprepared.

"We held a seminar under the direction of our cultural development director, Lino Diaz," said Ross Atkins, the Indians' player development director. "We brought in a local police officer to explain the situation and issued each player an ID card so they don't have to rely on carrying around their visas and paperwork with them."

The Milwaukee Brewers believe they are ready for the law, having issued identification cards to their players for the past three years. Each card has the player's photo and information on how to contact Brewers officials if authorities question why the player is in Arizona.

"It's a preventative measure," assistant general manager Gord Ash said. "We haven't had any problems so far."

The Brewers started the program because they were staying in a crime-plagued part of south Phoenix. The club has since moved to a hotel near the Glendale entertainment district but still issues the cards.

The Dominican Republic, as evidenced by big league rosters, is fertile ground for prospects. According to baseballreference.com, 503 Dominicans either have played or are playing in the majors, including Arizona Diamondbacks pitchers Esmerling Vasquez and infielder Tony Abreu.

For Dominican players today, the Arizona Rookie League is often the first step into the pro game.

The preliminary roster of the San Diego Padres includes 10 players from the Dominican Republic and one apiece from Colombia and Mexico. Their ages range from 19 to 21.

This is where concern about the new immigration law comes in.

The statute requires police, while enforcing other laws, to ask about a person's immigration status if there is reasonable suspicion that the person is in the country illegally. A young Latin player who speaks no English might fit that description.

The law ignited protests around the country, including some at Arizona Diamondbacks road games, by those who feel it encourages racial profiling by unfairly targeting Hispanics.

The singing duo of Daryl Hall and John Oates recently canceled a scheduled appearance following a Diamondbacks game to protest the immigration law. There were calls to pull next year's All-Star Game out of Phoenix, but commissioner Bud Selig said play on.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, who signed the bill into law, said the state had to do something about illegal immigration because the federal government wasn't.

Polls have shown wide support for the law in Arizona and around the country, but at least half-dozen lawsuits have been filed challenging it. The U.S. government may file one, too, so it's uncertain whether the law will take effect as scheduled.

Some team officials said they weren't overly concerned because they don't allow players to wander far from the hotel where they are staying.

"Major League Baseball has a great relationship with local authorities," Kansas City Royals general manager Dayton Moore said. "... We have local police come in and talk about areas players should avoid. There's security at the hotel. You've got to go out of your way to mess up. That's not to say we don't have situations occur. But when it does happen, it's usually centered around alcohol or females."

The issue is not confined to the rookie league. The Cincinnati Reds this year became the 15th major league team to have its spring training facility in Arizona. Players are coming and going all the time, for extended spring training, rehab work or a variety of other reasons. At spring training next year, their numbers will grow to the thousands, from the big league clubs and throughout their minor league systems. A significant percentage will be from Latin America.

Many of the ballparks are at the far edges of the suburban sprawl that is greater Phoenix. The San Francisco Giants, though, play in downtown Scottsdale, within walking distance of restaurants, bars and a big shopping mall.

"We keep players pretty close to the complex, going to the hotel and mall," said Bobby Evans, the Giants' vice president of baseball operations. "Guys don't have cars or a lot of means of getting out. It's a little different now (with the new law). We haven't had any problems and we don't anticipate any. The players have been there a while now, since spring training, so since the law came out and they know about it. Our staff keeps the players apprised."

Tony Reagins, general manager of the Los Angeles Angels, said he's been around player development long enough to know that at some point, some 17- or 18- or 19-year-old will get in trouble.

"So you have to give them the proper resources and information, so that at least you can be ahead of it as opposed to trying to react to it,'" he said. "Our staff down there has done a great job of keeping our guys in line."

It's business as usual for the Angels in the rookie league - almost.

"We haven't altered the way we develop our players in any way," Reagins said. "We're still sending the same types of players to the Arizona Rookie League and into the state of Arizona, so that hasn't changed. We have just made our players aware that they should have their identification with them at all times. But other than that, we don't see any difference in how we're going to operate."

AP Baseball Writer Janie McCauley, AP Sports Writers Colin Fly and Doug Tucker and AP freelance writer Chuck Murr contributed to this report.

Graham - Border Security Key to Solving Immigration Problem

Posted by Michael Pollak on Thu, Jun 10, 2010 @ 10:59 AM

Is South Carolina about to pull an Arizona?   Illegal immigration has become a hot topic around the nation and there's even discussion that South Carolina may pass a similar law to Arizona.

Senator Graham thinks the best way to solve immigration is for the federal government to "secure our borders and have a national immigration policy".  His hope is to sit down with some Democrats and Republicans, and come up with a comprehensive immigration plan that would make people feel like they are secure and immigration system is no longer broken.

But securing the border has been a topic of conversation since the mid 1980s and lacks credibility with voters. How can politicians convince the public otherwise?  According to Senator Graham, the key to border immigration reform is confidence. "Why would you give these 12 million a second chance if we are going to have 20 million more in the future? People ask me all the time if we give them a second chance which I'm not opposed to in principle, convince me we won't have 20 million more. And that is the key."

Senator Graham questions the President's commitment to securing our borders saying, "if he would show as much urgency now about securing the border it would help me and other people be able to work with him to solve the other parts of the problem. But this lackadaisical attitude about border security makes it impossible to do a comprehensive bill. The President should go to the border like he's going down to Louisiana, spend a night in Arizona or Texas, understand why people feel so frustrated, take a tour of the southern border and come back to Congress with an agenda to fix it and get 80, 90 votes for strong border security in 2010. In 2011 we'll deal with the other parts of the problem."


Q&A Guide to Arizona's New Immigration Law

Posted by Michael Pollak on Wed, Jun 02, 2010 @ 7:55 PM

What You Need to Know About The New Law and How It Can Impact Your State

Washington, D.C. - Tomorrow Arizona Governor Jan Brewer will meet with President Obama to discuss border security and Arizona's controversial new immigration law SB 1070. Barely a month after passage of  SB 1070, both opponents and proponents are attempting to assess the impact the new law may have on residents of Arizona-citizens and immigrants alike. At the same time, approximately 22 states (at last count) are considering similar legislation. Multiple lawsuits have been filed challenging the constitutionality of the law, opponents are mounting a boycott, and numerous polls show that a majority of the public both supports the Arizona law and comprehensive immigration reform. 

Immigration Policy Center


The Immigration Policy Center has developed a Q&A Guide to Arizona's New Immigration Law. This guide provides key answers to basic questions about Arizona's law - from the substance of the law and myths surrounding it to the legal and fiscal implications. As other states contemplate similar legislation, knowing the answers to basic questions about Arizona's law will prove to be critically important in furthering the discussion.

To view the guide in its entirety see:

  • Q&A Guide to Arizona's New Immigration Law (IPC Special Report, June 2, 2010)

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