As the McCain-Palin ticket is introduced to the country at the GOP national convention in St. Paul, it pays to discuss what the Republican platform has to say about immigration.
Despite the fact that the platform starts out with the promising statement that the US can have a strong immigration system without sacrificing the rule of law, the text focuses almost entirely on enforcement.
Here are the major concepts outlined in the immigration plank:
- illegal immigration threatens the sovereignty of the United States
- more border agents are needed
- finish the border fence
- more work site enforcement
- make E-Verify mandatory for all employers
- more enforcement against visa overstays and
- more police departments signing enforcement agreements with ICE
- no drivers licenses for illegally present immigrants
- no in-state college tuition rates for illegally present immigrants
- no social security or other benefits for illegally present immigrants
- No AMNESTY
- English should be the official language of the US
- no refugee status for "lifestyle" or other "non-political" factors (sounds like the target are claims by gays and lesbians)
No tolerance of delay and confusion at USCIS
GOP platform immigration planks - Free Legal Forms
Most people in the US are focused on the presidential and congressional races in November. But many voters will also have to decide on ballot initiatives on a variety of issues. One is immigration. Oregon voters will need to decide on a measure to limit access to English as second language classes for immigrants. Missouri voters will decide if they should make English their official language. A California ballot initiative would bar illegally present immigrants from receiving bail and force sheriffs to inform Immigration and Customs Enforcement when they are detaining illegally present immigrants.
Last March, Rhode Island Governor Donald Carcierri issued an executive order requiring all state contractors use the E-Verify electronic employment verification system. Carcierri skipped what other states have been doing - getting their legislatures to actually pass a law - and made law himself.
Now the American Civil Liberties Union has stepped in and filed a law suit claiming the governor's order exceeds his executive authority and also violates detailed statutes in place governing the purchasing process. Furthermore, the order is being implemented without regulations, a violation of the state's Administrative Procedures Act.
According to ACLU attorney Randy Olen:
The Executive Order is profoundly unwise and ill-advised as a matter of policy and, at least in part, is defective as a matter of law. The E-Verify requirement far exceeds the Governorís constitutional authority, essentially attempts to create laws which directly conflict with specific statutes properly enacted by the General Assembly, and creates an unconstitutional impairment of existing contracts. In addition, the Department of Administrationís issuance of directives to implement the order, which threaten those who refuse to comply with the loss of present and future contracts, cannot stand in light of the absence of notice and comment procedures required by the Administrative Procedures Act. Whatever the motives behind the Governorís attempt to address the issue of illegal immigration may be, the Executive Orderís attempt to legislate by executive fiat is clearly unlawful.
ACLU lawsuit challenging Rhode Island E-Verify exectuive order - Free Legal Forms
Okay, I have to admit that I've lately starting watching the George Lopez Show on Nick at Night. It was just an accident at first and I had never seen the show on its first go around on ABC. But its pretty funny and its one of the few shows about a Hispanic family ever on a major network. Its now on my DVR subscription list.
I was surprised that all but one of the regular actors on the show was born outside the US. It's Masiela Lusha who played Carmen Lopez, the teenage daughter. But what was even more surprising to me is that Masiela is actually Albanian. She also lived in Hungary and Austria in her early youth before her family moved to Michigan. English is her fourth language.
Masiela recognizes the importance of her immigrant background. She once told a reporter:
Many countries had a hand in raising me. I am the product of many contradicting philosophies and cultures. My entire universe is comprised of these foreign traditions. If any one of these experiences are to be ignored, I wouldn't be the same.
Masiela has now acted in several films and is the author of several books of poetry.
Supporters of the plan to offer photo identification documents regardless of legal status are upset that the city is delaying the implementation of the plan.
President Bush secured 40% of the Hispanic vote in 2004 so John McCain's failure to get close to that number in most recent polls of Hispanic voters could be a game changer this year. USA Today reports on the Hispanic vote in New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada and Florida.
The Orthodox Union, the organization that certifies that food produce in the US is Kosher, could impose a most serious punishment on Agriprocessors, the Iowa meat processing plant that was raided earlier this summer. Hundreds of workers were arrested and officials at the plant were accused of engaging in various abuses against the workers.
While the criminal and civil courts can harm Agriprocessors, losing its Kosher certification is about the worst consequence that the company could face. Effectively, it would be the end of Agriprocessors and most Kosher meat products would need to be imported in to the United States.
This is just a really strange story and one that will no doubt end with a judge or judges telling the State Department to get real. According to a report in the Washington Post,
The State Department is denying passports to people born in southern Texas near the border with Mexico if they were delivered by midwives, citing a history of birth certificate forgeries there for Mexican-born children dating to the 1960s, according to U.S. officials.
Whether there was fraud or not 40+ years ago does not justify heavy-handed discrimination. And the American Civil Liberties Union is fighting back:
In a lawsuit, the American Civil Liberties Union alleges that the government is systematically discriminating against U.S.-born citizens on the basis of ethnicity and national origin. Attorneys for the plaintiff assert that such arbitrary bans disproportionately affect rural and poor people who have less access to doctors.
Federal authorities "have adopted and applied blanket suspicion toward one group of passport applicants . . . effectively denying the passports of many for the apparent sins of a few," the ACLU states in a complaint to be filed today in U.S. District Court in McAllen, Tex.
The civil liberties group is seeking class-action status on behalf of tens of thousands of Mexican Americans of all ages delivered by midwives in border states, alleging violations of constitutional due process and equal protection guarantees.
In the last few years, immigration enforcement agents have been increasingly using driving checkpoints to catch drivers who are illegally present in the US. They work in a way that's similar to drunk driving checkpoints. Whether this enforcement tactic should be used has been debated in communities across the country. Two news stories - one from a town on the Washington/Canada border and the other from Richmond, California - illustrate what's happening.
Greg Siskind is a partner in Siskind Susser's Memphis, Tennessee, office. After graduating magna cum laude from Vanderbilt University, he received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Chicago. Mr. Siskind is a member of AILA, a board member of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, and a member of the ABA, where he serves on the LPM Publishing Board as Marketing Vice Chairman. He is the author of several books, including the J Visa Guidebook and The Lawyer's Guide to Marketing on the Internet. Mr. Siskind practices all areas of immigration law, specializing in immigration matters of the health care and technology industries. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org