Bloggings On Immigration Law And Policy
by Greg Siskind
Editor's note: Here are the latest entries from Greg Siskind's blog.
April 03, 2010
THE NOVEMBER STRATEGY
New Jersey Democratic Senator Robert Menendez discusses why immigration reform might be best left to a post-election vote.
DHS REPORT SLAMS 287(G) PROGRAM
A Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General report has been released which paints a very troubling picture of the 287(g) program which allows local and state law enforcement agencies to enforce immigration laws. The report doesn't mince words:
We observed instances in which Immigration and Customs Enforcement and participating law enforcement agencies were not operating in compliance with the terms of the agreements. We also noted several areas in which Immigration and Customs Enforcement had not instituted controls to promote effective program operations and address related risks. Immigration and Customs Enforcement needs to
Various advocacy groups have been weighing in on the report. From the National Immigration Law Center:
From the American Civil Liberties Union:
From the Immigration Policy Center:
SHERIFF JOE CONDUCTS IMMIGRATION RAID AGAINST PHOENIX AREA MCDONALD'S
Notorious Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio deserves some credit for creativity. After losing much of his ability to enforce immigration laws when the Administration grew frustrated over civil rights complaints being filed against the Phoenix area law enforcement chief, Sheriff Joe has found a loophole. He's targeting illegal immigration through criminal laws rather than immigration laws. From the Arizona Daily Star:
One question that will certainly be asked is whether Sheriff Joe is profiling businesses that simply have lots of Latino workers as opposed to businesses he has genuine reason to believe are hiring illegally present immigrants. If that's the case, then expect some serious push back.
APRIL 1ST ARRIVES QUIETLY AT FIRMS AROUND THE US
Most lawyers I've spoken with have had a much quieter April 1st than normal. April 1st is the opening day of H-1B filing season because it is the first day you can file for a visa in the fiscal year that starts October 1st. We'll know in a few days whether filings were up or down. Given the Neufeld Memo and the fact that the cap for last year was available for so long, I'm doubtful usage will be up even if hiring is up. But we'll have to wait and see.
NY TIMES: US JAILING HAITIANS IT AIRLIFTED TO THE US
Nina Bernstein, one of the country's best immigration reporters, has a front page story in this morning's Times regarding 30 survivors of the January Haiti earthquake who were airlifted by Marines to the United States and are now sitting in detentions centers in Florida. According to the Times, these individuals were pulled from the rubble and were seeking food, safety or medical care at the airport in Port-au-Prince. When aftershocks struck, the Marines quickly evacuated people via military transports and did not bother with immigration processing.
Because these individuals landed without visas, they were taken by DHS into custody and they have been awaiting deportation ever since. None have criminal records. Advocates have been pushing to have the detainees released to citizen relatives in the US, but have not had any success. According to the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center (run by Cheryl Little, who I recently presented with on an immigration panel), the detainees are not receiving mental health care despite the trauma they have suffered.
Given that there are only 30 individuals involved, the pragmatic (and decent) way to handle the matter is to offer humanitarian parole status and allow these individuals to be released and work. The status is different than the Temporary Protected Status granted to Haitians in the US when the earthquake struck, but it could be basically run in parallel with similar benefits.
DHS officials told the Times that the group is being detained to deter others who would seek to enter the US illegally. But that makes little sense since the group was brought here by the US military. I'm laying odds the group will now quickly be released because of Bernstein's report. This is the latest in a string of cases where DHS has only done the right thing once a reporter brought the story to the public's attention, something that itself raises troubling questions beyond the facts of each report.
GOP HEAD SORT OF PROMISES TO SUPPORT CIR
Our friendly anti Jack has provided in the comments a couple of links to an intriguing story regarding Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele (currently embroiled in another scandal - this time involving strippers and GOP money - oy!). Steele has been one of the moderate voices in the GOP when it comes to immigration reform in the past and apparently he met with a pro-reform group called the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM). Accounts differ regarding whether Steele promised to work for immigration reform and, more specifically, help round up a second GOP Senator to sponsor the reform bill along with South Carolinian Lindsey Graham. Steele said later that he did not make such a promise. According to the Wall Street Journal, witnesses differ regarding whether the promise was, in fact, made. One attendee of the meeting says that Steele made the promise and then when an RNC official warned him about the repercussions of the statement, Steele backtracked and said he could not get ahead of his party leadership.
JAIME ESCALANTE DIES
Jaime Escalante was also the subject of the book Escalante: The Best Teacher in America. James Edward Olmos earned an Oscar nomination for his role in the Stand and Deliver.
LATINO GROUPS TO SCORE MEMBERS OF CONGRESS ON IMMIGRATION ISSUES
Good. Members of Congress who think Latino voters aren't paying attention and they can vote anti-immigrant to keep Tea Party activists happy may want to rethink that strategy. In related news. America's Voice has released poll data showing Latino voters are not energized and aren't planning on coming out in big numbers in November unless they seem some positive action on immigration reform. From America's Voice:
WHITE HOUSE FIRES BACK AGAINST GRAHAM
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters yesterday that the President's support for comprehensive immigration reform is unwavering, but that he can't do it alone. From the Dallas Morning News:
GREECE ADDED TO VISA WAIVER LIST
If Greek nationals are exhausted by the economic crisis in that country (and they've still got some money), they can now come for a vacation here in America with a little more ease. They've finally been added to the list of Visa Waiver countries eligible to come to the US for up to 90 days without a visa stamp in their passport.
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
The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.