2011 is going to be remembered as the year that individual States define national immigration policy. There are more than a dozen States (Tennessee, Kentucky, Wyoming, California, Maryland, Florida, Virginia, Utah, Georgia, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and South Carolina) whose lawmakers intend to introduce Arizona-like immigration measures. If you thought the Arizona immigration law was bad, you ain't seen nuthin' yet.
Here is a sampling of what is to come in 2011:
- Kentucky immigration bill is stricter than Arizona's law
- Wyoming lawmakers will debate Arizona-style immigration bill
- Immigration debate returns to Oklahoma Capitol
- Colorado joins ICE’s Secure Communities program, prompting Polis to label it ‘draconian'
- 15 Immigration Bills Introduced Today in Maryland
- Bills on hiring, immigration status to be discussed in South Carolina
- 14 States set to attack birthright citizenship on a local level?
- Florida state legislator crafting Arizona-style immigration law
- ?Lawmaker to move ahead with Nebraska immigration bill
- Arizona-style immigration law could hit California ballot
- ?Utah Senate leaders want single immigration bill
- ?Virginia General Assembly to take up tougher immigration bills
- Tennessee Lawmakers Plan To File Immigration Reform Bill?
The States aren't the only ones who are targeting immigrants. President Obama's administration has set their deportation mandate for 2011 at 404,000 people. This will add to the record breaking 782,696 people already officially deported by Obama (392,862 in 2010, and 389,834 in 2009) in his first two-years in office. That number doesn't include the number of people who left the United States under a grant of voluntary departure (voluntary deportation). If you add the voluntary departure numbers in, I estimate that close to two million people have been kicked out of the United States since Obama took office. At least we can all take solace in the fact that the failure of the DREAM Act has been Obama's "biggest disappointment."
Takes one to know one.
The reality is that enforcement is all we have seen from Obama. There are alternatives to enforcement, which this administration refuses to consider. Obama could be issuing paroles to otherwise adjustment eligible individuals to circumvent bars to adjustment. The Bush administration did this for one of my clients, and it is a policy the Obama administration should be adopting, but chooses not to.
There is also such a thing as prosecutorial discretion, which this administration exercises regularly to the prejudice of immigrants. Obama could instruct government lawyers to move to administratively close deportation cases against otherwise DREAM Act eligible children. Instead headlines about DREAMers being deported appear almost every week. If it weren't for the negative press coverage about these innocent children Obama would keep deporting them. After all, ya gotta meet those quotas.
No, Obama is not the answer because he IS the problem.
Buckle your seat-belts everyone, because 2011 is going to be a bumpy ride that will last all the way until the 2012 Presidential election. We can only hope that a moderate Republican presidential candidate emerges from the primaries, because without one it is unlikely that we will see immigration reform until 2016, as the Democrats have proven utterly useless.
Happy New Year.