When Immigration Matters

Pulitzer Prize Winning Journalist Fights For DREAM Act | Immigration

Posted by Karen Pollak on Thu, Jun 23, 2011 @ 7:56 AM

A Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Jose Antonio Vargas, has just announced that he is an undocumented immigrant in a major article that just went up on the New York Times website.  Tomorrow evening ABC News will be devoting its Nightline program to the story.  Here are the links:

dream actHere’s the Nightline link.  Will air tonight (Thursday) at 11:35 ET:  http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/immigration-journalist-jose-antonio-vargas-fights-dream-act/story?id=13899697

And here’s the New York Times piece which is available now online:  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/26/magazine/my-life-as-an-undocumented-immigrant.html?hp

For more information on the DREAM Act see:


Announcing “The Art of Survival” (a Documentary Film) | Immigration

Posted by Karen Pollak on Tue, Jan 04, 2011 @ 8:59 PM

The Project:

At the border, the difference between humanitarian service and illegal activity is not always black and white.

Reaching well beyond politics, this full-length documentary film by experienced filmmaker and UC Davis law graduate Bryce Newell will go deep into the heart of an unusual and fascinating humanitarian response to U.S.-Mexico cross-border migration: a high-risk, highly mobile and highly sophisticated network of volunteers from the north side of the border that is caching water supplies, distributing recycled cell phones running encrypted GPS trail-finding software, even sending transmissions of haiku poetry— to keep trans-border migrants from dying in the desert.

To some, it is a dramatic, selfless and inspirational effort that gives new and poignant context to the phrase “the Art of Survival.” To others, such action irresponsibly induces illegal border crossing, tantamount to aiding and abetting unlawful conduct. This project approaches this controversial topic on the premise that the line between inducing illegal immigration activity and providing true humanitarian service is not as clearly delineated — not as easy to draw— as either side might claim. The film will examine the social, legal, and humanitarian aspects wrapped up in this difficult topic. It will tell the stories of immigrants crossing the border and of the volunteers attempting to save their lives (some of whom have been arrested and prosecuted for their conduct), all while seeking to discover where true “humanitarian service” ends and where irresponsible conduct begins.

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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

Solutions That Work: A Policy Manual for Immigration Reform

Posted by Karen Pollak on Wed, Dec 15, 2010 @ 12:10 PM

Solutions That Work: A Policy Manual for Immigration Reform was crafted by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) to show that a solution to our nation's immigration problem does exist and can be achieved. Each section of this policy manual summarizes a key component of the existing immigration system, identifies its deficiencies and offers workable solutions that when applied together, will fix the totality of the broken, outdated, and inadequate system. AILA believes that for lasting and meaningful reform to take hold, these various components must be addressed in a comprehensive immigration reform package.

ImmigrationThe Policy Manual explains how any effective, long-term solution to the immigration problem must: 1) require the unauthorized population to come out of the shadows, register their presence with the government, and give them the opportunity to earn legal status; 2) provide fair and lawful ways for American businesses to hire much-needed immigrant workers who help grow our economy while protecting U.S. workers from unfair competition and all workers from exploitation; 3) reduce the unreasonable and counterproductive backlogs in family-based and employment-based immigration; 4) ensure the permanent immigration system provides adequate visas to meet the needs of American families, businesses, and communities; and 5) preserve and restore the fundamental principles of due process and equal protection while protecting our national security.

Review and download AILA's newest advocacy resource, Solutions That Work: A Policy Manual for Immigration Reform.

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

How Will Arizona SB 1070 Affect State Law Making On Immigration?

Posted by Karen Pollak on Tue, Dec 14, 2010 @ 11:52 AM

With the Republicans claiming sweeping victories in the midterm elections, politicians in more than 25 states have promised to introduce Arizona-like immigration enforcement bills when their state legislatures convene in 2011. What impact will this have on the rest of the country?

A new report from ImmigrationWorks USA, titled To Copy or Not To Copy?: State Lawmaking On Immigration After Arizona SB 1070 focuses on precisely that issue and provides a comprehensive overview of what's happening in 25 key states and an assessment of whether they're likely to follow Arizona's lead.

The report found that some states have been discouraged from going forward with copycat legislation by a federal judge's decision to delay implementation of key provisions of Arizona's new immigration. Yet others - some focused on policy, others for purely political reasons - are moving full speed ahead to draft and introduce tough immigration enforcement bills.

For more information, read ImmigrationWorks USA's full report: To Copy or Not To Copy?: State Lawmaking On Immigration After Arizona SB 1070.

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

Martinez v. Regents of University of California | Immigration Law

Posted by Karen Pollak on Sun, Dec 12, 2010 @ 8:44 AM

The California Supreme court holds that undocumented alien students do not have to pay non-resident tuition to attend University.

This case involves a controversial subject: persons unlawfully present in this country. The California Legislature has provided that unlawful aliens are exempt from paying nonresident tuition at California state colleges and universities under certain circumstances. (Ed. Code, § 68130.5 (section 68130.5).) Congress has prohibited the states from making unlawful aliens eligible for postsecondary education benefits under certain circumstances. (8 U.S.C. § 1623 (section 1623).) Plaintiffs challenge section 68130.5‟s validity, largely on the basis that it violates section 1623. Defendants argue section 68130.5 complies with federal law.

Download Ruling

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."

DREAM Act Delayed in Senate | Immigration Reform

Posted by Michael Pollak on Wed, Sep 22, 2010 @ 9:04 AM

DREAM ActWashington D.C. - Today, the Senate voted 56 to 43 against proceeding to the Defense Authorization Act. This procedural vote, which basically followed party lines, ends consideration of critical social issues that affect the military and were to be offered as amendments to the bill. Among the amendments not considered is the DREAM Act, an immigration bill that would provide legal status to young people who graduate from high school and pursue college or military service. 

The following is a statement from Mary Giovagnoli, Director of the Immigration Policy Center: 

"The political gridlock that has immobilized the Senate has resulted once again in a lost opportunity for the American people. By refusing to allow the Defense Authorization Act to proceed, America will not see, at this time, an up or down vote on the DREAM Act, which would have been a first legislative step in resolving our immigration crisis. The Senators who voted "no" today are ignoring unequivocal evidence that the DREAM Act is good for military readiness, the American workforce and the U.S. economy.
The energy and enthusiasm of thousands of young people who have poured themselves into promoting the DREAM Act has not been wasted, however. Because of their efforts, more people today understand the importance of DREAM to our economy, our military, and the future of our country than ever before."

Source:  Immigration Policy Center

Immigration | DREAM Act Coming to the Senate Floor

Posted by Karen Pollak on Fri, Sep 17, 2010 @ 10:48 PM

DREAM ActWashington, D.C. - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced that he would attach the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act to the Department of Defense authorization bill expected to come before the Senate as early as next week. The vote will be an important test of whether Congress can transcend partisan politics and work together on crafting solutions to the broken immigration system that both Democrats and Republicans acknowledge is in desperate need of reform. That the proposal will be considered as an amendment to the Defense Authorization bill is appropriate, given the Department of Defense's support for DREAM Act as a way to improve military readiness. 

First introduced in 2001, the DREAM Act would address the plight of young immigrants who have been raised in the U.S. and managed to succeed despite the challenges of being brought to the U.S. without proper documentation. The proposal would offer a path to legal status to those who have graduated from high-school, have stayed out of trouble and plan to attend college or serve in the U.S. military for at least two years.
Each year, approximately 65,000 undocumented students graduate from high school, many at the top of their classes, but cannot go to college, join the military, work, or otherwise pursue their dreams. They belong to the 1.5 generation - any (first generation) immigrants brought to the United States at a young age who were largely raised in this country and therefore share much in common with second generation Americans. These students are culturally American, growing up here and often having little attachment to their country of birth. They tend to be bicultural and fluent in English.

Research has shown that providing a legal status for young people who have a proven record of success in the United States would be a boon to the economy and the U.S. workforce.  University presidents and educational associations, as well as military recruiters, business and religious leaders have added their voice to those calling for passage of the bill. Foreign-born students represent a significant and growing percentage of the current student population. Unfortunately, immigration status and the associated barriers to higher education contribute to a higher-than-average high dropout rate, which costs taxpayers and the economy billions of dollars each year. 

The DREAM Act would eliminate these barriers for many students, and the DREAM Act's high school graduation requirement would provide a powerful incentive for students who might otherwise drop out to stay in school and graduate. This will help boost the number of high skilled American-raised workers.  As they take their place in the workplace as hard working, taxpaying Americans, they will contribute a lifetime of revenues at the local, state and federal level.
Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Military Personnel Policy, Bill Carr, supports the DREAM Act and stated that the law would be "good for readiness" and would help to recruit "cream of the crop" students. The DREAM Act is part of the Department of Defense's 2010-2012 Strategic Plan to assist the military in it's recruiting efforts.
For more information on the DREAM Act see:

Source:  Immigration Policy Center

Where Does Immigration Fit into the Congressional To Do List

Posted by Michael Pollak on Sun, Sep 12, 2010 @ 9:19 AM

Here is an interesting article by Mary Giovagnoli that appeared in the Immigration Impact.

Congress returns on September 13 for one last round of legislating before the November elections. It is a short work period (four weeks) and the prospects for getting things done are, particularly in this gridlocked Congress, not great. Congress watchers predict that the emphasis will be on jobs and the economy, which is not surprising given that this is what’s on voters’ minds. But where does immigration fit into this framework?

Jorge RamosUnivision anchor, Jorge Ramos, reported via Twitter yesterday that Senator Reid intends to move the DREAM Act before November. The most likely scenario would be to offer the DREAM Act as an amendment to some must-pass piece of legislation, but whether or not this happens will likely turn on whether Senators can start acting like leaders. In other words, putting their political futures on hold long enough to do something that benefits their constituents, even at the risk of angering a few outliers who view any positive vote on immigration as tantamount to destroying the country.

DREAM ActAnd honestly, those folks are the outliers. Polls show that support is high both for comprehensive immigration reform and subsets of it, like the DREAM Act. In the absence of the time and careful negotiation needed to put together a major comprehensive immigration reform bill, the DREAM Act becomes an important mechanism for signaling change and movement on immigration reform. It is important in its own right—as a vehicle for giving legal status to young people who are in this country illegally through no fault of their own—and as a harbinger of something more to come. If and when Congress passes the DREAM Act, and the sky doesn’t fall, the country may grow tired of anti-immigration antics—including passing state and local laws that attempt to regulate immigration.

The winds may already be shifting in that regard. Yesterday’s Third Circuit Court of Appeals decision finding the Hazelton anti-immigrant ordinances unconstitutional is a wake up call to those who think that immigration reform can be defeated at the local level. Notably, Kris Kobach, one of the architects of SB 1070 and an attorney for the Immigration Reform Law Institute (a subgroup of FAIR), argued the case for Hazelton and went down in flames. While the opinion is a crash course in Civil Procedure II and as such will make some readers crazy, it is worth slogging through the opinion for statements like this:
Stitched into the fabric of Hazelton’s housing provisions, then, is either a lack of understanding or a refusal to recognize the complexities of federal immigration law. . . in every single instance in which Hazelton would deny residence to an alien based on immigration status rather than a federal order of removal, Hazelton would act directly in opposition to federal law.
In fact, it would make a lot of sense for Members of Congress to sit down and read this opinion before they take a vote on an immigration matter, as it very clearly makes the point that Congress isn’t doing its job.

Hazelton offers yet another reason for making immigration a priority, even amidst stimulating jobs and economic growth. In a time of fiscal distress, where states and localities are scrambling for every penny, Congress can keep them from wasting money on laws and ordinances that are both mean-spirited and constitutionally infirm. It’s time to start that ball rolling and signal that Congress understands it needs to act. And the DREAM Act is a good place to start, precisely because it gives a group of people with enormous talents and energy a chance to use their skills and contribute to the economy, rather than letting them waste away.

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