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Posts tagged ‘American Immigration Lawyers Association’

Ryan, Republicans Blame Obama for Stalling Immigration.

Republicans are starting to lay the blame on President Barack Obama if an overhaul of the nation’s broken immigration system fails to become law.

The GOP’s emerging plan on immigration is to criticize Obama as an untrustworthy leader and his administration as an unreliable enforcer of any laws that might be passed. Perhaps realizing the odds of finding a consensus on immigration are long, the Republicans have started telling voters that if the GOP-led House doesn’t take action this election year, it is Obama’s fault.

“If the president had been serious about this the last five years, we’d be further along in this discussion,” Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a Republican, said Sunday.

House Republicans last week unveiled a road map for an overhaul of the nation’s broken immigration system that calls for increased border security, better law enforcement within the U.S. and a pathway to legal status — but not citizenship — for millions of adults who live in America unlawfully. The proposal requires those here illegally to pay back taxes and fines.

But one of its backers, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, said distrust of Obama poisons interest among some in his Republican caucus.

“Here’s the issue that all Republicans agree on: We don’t trust the president to enforce the law,” said Ryan, his party’s vice presidential nominee in 2012.

Ryan said a plan that puts security first could only pass the House if lawmakers believe the administration would enforce it — an unlikely prospect given Republicans’ deep opposition to Obama. The president’s waivers for provisions in his 4-year-old health care law have increased suspicions among Republicans.

“This isn’t a trust-but-verify, this is a verify-then-trust approach,” Ryan said.

Asked whether immigration legislation would make its way to Obama for him to sign into law, Ryan said he was skeptical: “I really don’t know the answer to that question. That is clearly in doubt.”

The Senate last year passed a comprehensive, bipartisan bill that addressed border security, provided enforcement measures and offered a long and difficult path to citizenship for those living here illegally. The measure stalled in the GOP-led House, where leaders want to take a more piecemeal approach.

In the meantime, Republicans have started uniting behind a message that Obama won’t hold up his end of the bargain.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said “there’s a lot of distrust of this administration in implanting the law.” And Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., last week warned that distrust of Obama would trump the desire to find a solution for the estimated 11 million people living in the United States illegally.

“We just don’t think government will enforce the law anyway,” Rubio said, recounting conversations he’s had with fellow Republicans.

Immigration legislation is a dicey political question for the GOP. The party’s conservative base opposes any measure that would create a pathway to citizenship for immigrants living here illegally, but many in the party worry that failing to act could strengthen support among many voters for Democratic candidates.

In 2012, Obama won re-election with the backing of 71 percent of Hispanic voters and 73 percent of Asian voters. The issue is important to both voting blocs.

The White House, meanwhile, is trying to give Republicans a chance to hammer out their intra-party differences in the hopes they find a way to give legal standing to those here illegally.

“We ought to see a pathway to citizenship for people,” White House chief of staff Denis McDonough said Sunday. “We don’t want to have a permanent separation of classes or two permanent different classes of Americans in this country.”

McDonough said the White House remains optimistic that legislation that includes citizenship could reach the president’s desk: “We feel pretty good that we’ll get a bill done this year.”

Jindal spoke to CNN’s “State of the Union.” Ryan appeared on ABC’s “This Week.” Cantor was interviewed on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” McDonough appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” and CBS.


© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Rep. Jim Jordan: No Immigration Reform Without Rule of Law.

Immigration reform is impossible for now because the Obama administration isn’t even enforcing current immigration laws, Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio says.

“You can’t do immigration when you have an administration that doesn’t respect the rule of law. It’s that simple,” Jordan told George Marlin, guest host of “The Steve Malzberg Show” on Newsmax TV.

“This administration, 11 months ago, when the sequester first kicked in, released 2,238 illegal aliens — eight of them … felons —and they did it because they were trying to prove that the sequester was going to be so bad.”

“You cannot trust this administration. They haven’t enforced the law and now we’re supposed to work with them and actually resolve things? There’s no way you can make that work.”

Story continues below video.

Jordan, a Republican, said that until a new president is elected and the GOP regains control of the Senate, a substantial immigration reform law can’t happen.

“There’s a few things that you should be able to do that we’ve done in the House, but the Senate and the president, they just want to do the comprehensive bill the Senate passed which is just a nonstarter and not what the American people want to see,” Jordan said.

“[Obama] hasn’t enforced the current immigration law, he hasn’t enforced all of Obamacare … The president doesn’t want to follow the law, he wants to do things his way, and that’s tough to have a partnership with someone like that.”

Jordan, who represents the Buckeye State’s Fourth Congressional District, said he wasn’t surprised by the low number of viewers for the president’s State of the Union address.

“It was more of the same. It was big government spending, big government regulation,” he said.

“If more government and more government spending were going to get us out of this economic mess, we’d have been out of it a long time ago because that’s all this administration has done for five years and so a lot of Americans just tuned it out.”

See the “Steve Malzberg Show” on Newsmax TV each weekday live by clicking here now.

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Left Bracing to Expand Immigration Reform Bill Even Further.

Carlos Gonzalez has lived nearly all his 29 years in a country he considers home but now finds himself on the wrong side of the border — and the wrong side of a proposed overhaul of the U.S. immigration system that would grant legal status to millions of people.

Gonzalez was deported to Tijuana, Mexico, from Santa Barbara in December, one of nearly 2 million removals from the United States since Barack Obama was first elected president.

“I have nobody here,” said Gonzalez, who serves breakfasts in a Tijuana migrant shelter while nursing a foot that fractured in 10 places when he jumped the border fence in a failed attempt to rejoin his mother, two brothers and extended family in California. “The United States is all I know.”

While a Senate bill introduced earlier this month would bring many of the estimated 11 million people living in the U.S. illegally out of the shadows, not everyone would benefit. They include anyone who arrived after Dec. 31, 2011, those with gay partners legally in the U.S., siblings of U.S. citizens and many deportees such as Gonzalez.

With net immigration from Mexico near zero, the number who came to the U.S. since January 2012 is believed to be relatively small, possibly a few hundred thousand. They include Isaac Jimenez, 45, who paid a smuggler $4,800 to guide him across the California desert in August to reunite with his wife and children in Fresno.

“My children are here, everything is here for me,” Jimenez said from Fresno. He lived in the U.S. illegally since 1998 and returned voluntarily to southern Mexico last year to see his mother before she died.

So far, advocates on the left have shown limited appetite to fight for expanded coverage as they brace for a tough battle in Congress. Some take aim at other provisions of the sweeping legislation, like a 13-year track to citizenship they consider too long and $4.5 billion for increased border security.

“It’s not going to include everybody,” said Laura Lichter, president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. “It’s not perfect. I think you hear a lot of people saying, ‘Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good,’ and this is good.”

Peter Nunez, who supports restrictive policies as chairman of the Center for Immigration Studies in Washington, rates the bill an 8 or 9 on a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being the most inclusive. He criticizes a measure that allows deportees without criminal histories to apply for permission to return if they have spouses or children in the U.S. legally, a step that supporters say would reunite families.

“I just don’t understand why we are going to basically undo a deportation,” said Nunez, a former U.S. attorney in San Diego.

Senate negotiators were more forgiving of criminal records than the Obama administration was when it granted temporary work permits last year to many who came to the U.S. as children. The administration disqualified anyone with a single misdemeanor conviction of driving under the influence, domestic violence, drug dealing or certain other crimes. The Senate bill says only that three misdemeanors or a single felony make someone ineligible.

Deportations topped 400,000 in fiscal 2012, more than double from seven years earlier, sending Mexicans to border cities like Tijuana where they often struggle to find work. The Padre Chava migrant shelter serves breakfast to 1,100 people daily in a bright yellow building that opened three years ago because it outgrew its old quarters. Director Ernesto Hernandez estimates 75 percent are deported.

“Many come wearing sneakers that cost hundreds of dollars and nothing in their pockets,” Hernandez said.

About 10 percent of the shelter’s deportees speak little or no Spanish, including Salvador Herrera IV, 28, who came to the U.S. when he was 2 in the back seat of a car and grew up skateboarding and playing basketball in Long Beach. With a conviction for grand theft auto putting his legal status out of the question, he is considering paying $8,000 for someone else’s identity documents to try to return illegally to Southern California.

“I’m basically American,” he said. “I’m a beach boy. I do American stuff.”

Many at the shelter have convictions for DUI or domestic violence, said Hernandez, reflecting the Obama administration’s priority to target anyone with criminal records for deportation.

Gonzalez was arrested in Santa Barbara on suspicion of disorderly conduct, landing him in Tijuana for New Year‘s Eve. He said he had several misdemeanor convictions, including a DUI, which he committed shortly after turning 18.

“That’s when you party a lot and you think it’s not going to matter,” he said.

Gonzalez was born in Cuernavaca, south of Mexico City, and came to the U.S. by plane when he was 2 years old, never leaving Santa Barbara. After graduating from Santa Barbara High School in 2002, he took automotive classes at community college, worked about four years at a Jiffy Lube outlet and held jobs as a mechanic, gardener and telemarketer in the picturesque California coastal city of 90,000 people.

Gonzalez doesn’t know where he will settle after his foot heals. His family helped with more than $3,000 in medical expenses, including a metal rod that holds a toe together.

He may try to find an aunt in Cuernavaca but doesn’t have her phone number or address.

“I never thought I would be in this predicament,” he said.

© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Courts Overwhelmed as Immigration Prosecutions Set to Triple.

Criminal prosecutions of immigrants who enter the U.S. illegally are set to triple under proposals introduced in the Senate’s immigration bill, but many border courts are already overwhelmed by the backlog of criminal cases.

The bill intends to bolster an existing $1 billion criminal enforcement program called Operation Streamline, by allocating an additional $250 million over five years to Arizona’s justice system for prosecuting offenders. It would also increase the number of people who can be prosecuted from 70 per day to 210, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

“Operation Streamline is the most effective deterrent program DHS runs, so it’s an important element of the border security provisions in the bill,” said Brian Rogers, spokesman for Sen. John McCain, the Arizona Republican and member of the Gang of Eight who drafted the bill.

But critics of the plan say many border courts in New Mexico, Texas and Arizona are overwhelmed by Streamline’s existing quotas for criminal prosecutions, resulting in an already heavy backlog of cases. Funds should instead go to fighting hardened criminals, they argue.

“Not since Prohibition has a single crime category been prosecuted in such numbers by the federal government,” said Ingrid Eagly, a law-school professor at UCLA.

Indeed, immigration has now surpassed all other areas of federal prosecution amounting to about 36 percent of all federal criminal prosecutions in 2011, and exceeding drug and fraud prosecutions combined, according to the Journal. The vast majority of immigration-related cases, or 84 percent, were for illegal reentry that year.

“It’s misdirected to throw money at simple immigrants” seeking work, said Regina Jefferies, chair of the Arizona chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. “They should be focusing on drug smugglers and other serious criminals,” she added.

Under the Streamline program, first time offenders face criminal misdemeanor charges and up to 180 days in prison, while repeat offenders are looking at felony charges and longer sentences.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Melanie Batley

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