Category Archives: Immigration

Baltimore Will Stop Automatically Detaining Immigrants, Maryland Governor Says

baltimore

CREDIT: SHUTTERSTOCK

Think Progress

The Baltimore City Detention Center will start scrutinizing federal orders to hold immigrants for deportation instead of automatically granting these requests, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) announced Friday. The policy change adds Baltimore to the growing number of cities in the U.S. resisting federal immigration policy.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents often ask local jails to hold immigrants for deportation. Baltimore will now only grant these requests if the immigrant has been charged with or convicted of a felony or serious misdemeanor. “We will focus our efforts on complying with ICE detainers when there is an actual threat to the public’s safety,” O’Malley said.

O’Malley’s move comes on the heels of a Baltimore Sun investigation that found more than 40 percent of Maryland’s deportees had no criminal record at all, one of the highest percentages of any state in the nation.

The federal program Secure Communities was intended to catch and deport dangerous criminals by coordinating with local jails. In reality, the vast majority of “convicted criminals” deported through Secure Communities were guilty only of traffic violations or civil immigration offenses, such as crossing the border illegally or overstaying a visa. Just 12 percent of deportees in 2013 were convicted of serious crimes like murder, sexual assault, or drug trafficking.

While deporting mainly harmless immigrants, Secure Communities has also seriously damaged immigrant neighborhoods’ relationships with law enforcement. Immigrants areafraid to report crimes or come forward as witnesses for fear of being deported or getting a family member deported.

Because of this, California and Connecticut have passed laws to prohibit police officers from honoring ICE hold requests except in cases of serious crimes. Several cities, includingChicagoSanta Clara, and New York City, have adopted policies to defy ICE. Most recently, Philadelphia’s mayor signed an executive order to forbid police cooperation with ICE unless the federal government gets a warrant, making it one of the most progressive cities for immigrants.

As immigration reform continues to languish in the House, President Obama is coming under pressure from activists and members of his own party to end deportations nationwide for those who would be eligible for citizenship under the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform plan. In the meantime, states and municipalities all over the country arestarting to take action to protect their immigrants from restrictive federal policies.

 

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Ann Coulter likens U.S. demographic shift to ‘being raped,’ blames Democrats

Ann Coulter likens U.S. demographic shift to ‘being raped,’ blames Democrats (via Raw Story )

In the video embedded below, arch conservative pundit Ann Coulter likened the shift in U.S. demographics to “being raped” as a room full of attendees of the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference guffawed and applauded. Coulter was appearing…

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A heckler yelled at Obama. Here’s what happened next…

US President Barack Obama arrives to speak on immigration reform in San Francisco, Nov. 25, 2013.

US President Barack Obama arrives to speak on immigration reform in San Francisco, Nov. 25, 2013. | JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

At some point Congress will wake up and do it’s job.  I suspect it won’t be until we vote out the slackers (from both parties) in 2014….

MSNBC

Arguing “there’s no reason we shouldn’t get immigration reform done right now,” President Obama demanded on Monday for the umpteenth time that Congress pass his top legislative priority already.

So you can understand if he was a bit annoyed when, towards the end of his speech in San Francisco’s Chinatown, pro-immigration activists started heckling.

“Mr. President, please use your executive order to halt deportations for all 11.5 million undocumented immigrants in this country right now!” one protester yelled. As Obama tried to respond, the shouting continued: “You have a power to stop deportation for all undocumented immigrants in this country!”

“Actually I don’t,” Obama replied. “And that’s why we’re here.”

A month earlier, Senator Ted Cruz was interrupted by anti-deportation activists, whom he nonsensically accused of being “President Obama’s paid political operatives,” during a speech to a conservative conference. Immigration protesters have shadowed administration officials for years, popping up at Congressional hearings to target Janet Napolitano, who was in the audience for today’s speech, and even occupying Obama’s campaign offices in 2012.

These protesters are confronting a fundamental contradiction in Obama’s record: he’s made immigration reform his top second-term priority even as his administration has presided over record deportations.

After Senate Republicans filibustered the DREAM Act, which would grant legal status to young undocumented immigrants, activists slowly convinced Obama to halt deportations for undocumented youth until Congress came around. Now they’re demanding he do the same for the broader unauthorized immigrant community, or at the very least, for their parents and siblings who still face the threat of removal every day. After all, if you’re fighting to get them on a path to citizenship, why would you want to kick them out? These arguments are likely to get louder if immigration reform dies in the House.

The president, however, has argued that such a sweeping move would require a change to the law. He repeated the claim on Monday.

“What you need to know, when I’m speaking as President of the United States and I come to this community, is that if, in fact, I could solve all these problems without passing laws in Congress, then I would do so,” he said Monday. “But we’re also a nation of laws. That’s part of our tradition.  And so the easy way out is to try to yell and pretend like I can do something by violating our laws.”

Politically, Republicans don’t have an obvious way to exploit these tensions, but they are trying.

“Democrats are facing credibility problems, whether it is from Obamacare failures or massive deportations, that’s why you see the president’s approval ratings suffer,” Izzy Santa, who handles Hispanic outreach for the Republican National Committee, told MSNBC. “The fact is that Republicans continue to work on immigration reform, which is more than Democrats ever did when they controlled the White House and Congress.”

The RNC, which has backed efforts to pass immigration reform, may be able to tweak Obama a little over deportations. But the vast majority of Republicans in Congress are on record demanding even more aggressive deportations. The only House vote Republican leaders have allowed on the topic this year was an amendment by anti-immigration firebrand Steve King calling on the White House to deport DREAMers. It passed with almost unanimous Republican support.

It’s true Democrats didn’t pass immigration reform in Obama’s first two years, when Democrats briefly had 60 votes in the Senate. But for most of that session they were stuck at 59 votes and the only Republican willing to negotiate with them, Senator Lindsey Graham, backed out in a procedural dispute. Mitt Romney tried the exact same “Where was Obama?” argument with Latino voters in 2012, even as he advocated “self-deportation” in debates. It didn’t work.

Obama is doing his best to convince protesters which party to blame if reform collapses once again.

“Right now it’s up to Republicans in the House to decide if we can move forward as a country on this bill,” Obama said. “If they don’t want to see it happen, they’ve got to explain why.”

House Republican leaders have offered a variety of excuses lately as to why they haven’t come up with an immigration plan of their own. The schedule’s too tight, or they’re mad at the White House over health care, or Obama is secretly trying to kill immigration reform with unrealistic demands so Democrats win Latino voters.

The president’s goal this month has been to box them in by saying “yes” to their demands whenever possible. Speaker John Boehner doesn’t like the Senate’s bill? Fine, you can pass a bunch of smaller bills instead. They say I’m demonizing Republicans to scare them away from a bill? Well, I think the Speaker is just swell!

“The good news is, just this past week Speaker Boehner said that he is ‘hopeful we can make progress’ on immigration reform,” Obama said. “And that is good news. I believe the Speaker is sincere.  I think he genuinely wants to get it done.  And that’s something we should be thankful for this week.”

While Obama faces his own pressures, his refusal to back away from talks puts the onus on Boehner to prove his party can deal with the deportation issue at all. And right now there’s no consensus within the party as to whether the country should let any  undocumented immigrants remain, let alone get on a path to citizenship. Until they can start naming some demands, they’re for self-deportation by default.

Watch Obama and the hecklers:

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Filed under Immigration, Immigration Reform

Rep. Steve King: Immigrants Mostly ‘Evil’ Marijuana-Smugglers With ‘Calves the Size of Cantaloupes’

So, when confronted by an Hispanic news host last week, Rep. Steve King hemmed and hawed is way through an extremely incredible explanation comparing Hispanics to dogs.  The comment the Telemundo host referred to was made over a year ago.

Now, King appears to be doubling down on his xenophobic and delusional hatred toward everyone that doesn’t look like him or have his financial status.

Mediaite

When ABC Univision host Jorge Ramos grilled Rep. Steve King (R-IA) for comparing immigrants to dogs in a year-old video this past Sunday, he likely hadn’t seen this clip from an interview King gave just last week to Newsmax. In the far more recent video, King says undocumented immigrants are primarily “130 pounds” with “calves the size of cantaloupes because they’ve been hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.”

King said he does have “sympathy” for the, in his view, small number of “kids who were brought into this country by their parents, unknowing that they were breaking the law. Of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S., King admitted, “Some of them are valedictorians—and their parents brought them in. It wasn’t their fault. It’s true in some cases.” But, he added, “they aren’t all valedictorians. They weren’t all brought in by their parents.”

“For everyone who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there that–they weigh 130 pounds and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert,” King said. “Those people would be legalized with the same act.”

Until those promoting immigration reform can “define the difference between the innocent ones who have deep ties with America and those who have, I’ll say, been undermining our culture and civilization and profiting from criminal acts,” King said, “they should not advocate for amnesty for both good and evil.”

The congressman has not always had so much “sympathy” for those “valedictorian”-style immigrants. Just last month, King tweeted that “20 brazen self-professed illegal aliens” had “invaded” his DC office after a group of recent college grads showed up to ask him why he opposed the DREAM Act.

Watch video below, via Newsmax:

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Filed under Immigration, Rep. Steve King

University Of Michigan May Soon Offer In-State Tuition To Undocumented Students

In my opinion, this precedent is abundantly filled with good intentions…

Think Progress

A day after the Detroit Free Press highlighted undocumented Michigan students’ struggles with tuition costs, the University of Michiganproposed “significant revisions” Monday to allow undocumented students to qualify for in-state tuition.

The university seeks to revamp its eligibility requirements to open in-state tuition for any students who have attended Michigan middle and high schools, even if they cannot prove legal residency. This reform could prove crucial for the roughly 29,000 undocumented youths who live in Michigan. Currently, undocumented students must pay as much as three times the in-state rate. They also do not qualify for financial aid or grants.

In a Sunday op-ed, Daniel Alejandro Morales, a formerly undocumented student who is now a junior at University of Michigan, blasted the school for choosing to “reinforce the status quo and effectively deny access to undocumented students.” Morales recounted the story of Javier Contreras, who was denied in-state tuition even though his family has lived and paid taxes in Michigan for 13 years. Because Javier’s status also disqualifies him from federal financial aid or student loans, he had to give up his dream of becoming the first in his family to attend college.

Michigan students forced the university to confront the issue in April, when a protest against the school’s tuition policy resulted in the arrest of seven students and one alumnus.

Tuition costs across the country have become prohibitively expensive for all students, but are even more burdensome for undocumented families, who have a far lower average income than other households. The average undocumented household makes $36,000 a year — far less than a single year of out-of-state tuition at University of Michigan. As a result, only 5 to 10 percent of undocumented high schoolers make it to college, compared to 75 percent of their classmates.

Fifteen states allow undocumented students to pay in-state tuition rates, while only California, Texas, New Mexico, and Minnesota offer financial aid for undocumented students.

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GOP Congressman Compares Immigrants To Bank Robbers

Rep. Steve King (R-IA)

At this point, anything Rep. Steven King says should be taken with a grain of salt.  After all, he’s one of three members of the GOP considered way out there:  Michele Bachmann, Louie Gohmert and King.  Yet, I couldn’t pass up his latest assault on undocumented immigrants…

Think Progress

In a speech on the House floor on Tuesday, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) compared undocumented immigrants to bank robbers.

King, notorious for railing against any immigration reform efforts, used the comparison to argue that deporting people is “not a particularly draconian punishment”:

KING: Think of it this way: If someone goes in and robs a bank and step out on the steps of the bank with the sack of the loot and law enforcement appears and says, sorry, you can’t keep the loot and we’re going to put that back in the bank but you can go. That’s equivalent of removal. You don’t get to keep the objective of the crime, we put you back in the condition you were in before you committed the crime. That’s not draconian. That’s the minimum you can do and still have a rule of law apply.

Deportation of undocumented immigrants isn’t like letting a bank robber off easy. It tears apart families, separating citizen children from undocumented parents. Often times, those kids areleft to foster care.

Even as the Republican party as a whole has tried to reach out more to Latino voters, King has remained one of the most vocal opponents to immigration reform. Last week, he led his party in a vote to deport more DREAMers. He has also advocated for asking immigrants about their legal status at the hospital, has pushed to prevent more “anchor babies” in the US, and tried to use the Boston Marathon bombing to derail immigration reform.

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Becoming a White Minority

Republican Teaparty Elephant - http://mariopiperni.com/

Uh-oh, the Tea Party crowd will be furious over this…(LOL)

I wonder if this is the reason far-right politicians across the country are promoting anti-abortion laws?  Probably.

Mario Piperni

Not a good time to be the party of xenophobes and delusional frauds.

For the first time, America’s racial and ethnic minorities now make up about half of the under-5 age group, the government said Thursday. It’s a historic shift that shows how young people are at the forefront of sweeping changes by race and class.

The new census estimates, a snapshot of the U.S. population as of July 2012, comes a year after the Census Bureau reported that whites had fallen to a minority among babies. Fueled by immigration and high rates of birth, particularly among Hispanics, racial and ethnic minorities are now growing more rapidly in numbers than whites.

Based on current rates of growth, whites in the under-5 group are expected to tip to a minority this year or next, Thomas Mesenbourg, the Census Bureau’s acting director, said.

The government also projects that in five years, minorities will make up more than half of children under 18. Not long after, the total U.S. white population will begin an inexorable decline in absolute numbers, due to aging baby boomers.

Will numbers of this sort bring conservatives and Republicans to their senses and finally have them embrace comprehensive immigration reform? No, of course not. Teahadists will only dig their heels in and increase the decibel level of their screeching and opposition to any commonsense reform.

As we’ve come to learn, these sad little people don’t react well to numbers that don’t match up to their preconceived notion of reality.

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Pic Of The Moment: Fractious John McCain Townhall Shows Why The GOP Is Doomed

H/t: Democratic Underground

McCain Jeered At Town Hall After Opposing Mass Deportation

 

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Filed under GOP Duplicity, Immigration

Gingrich: Republicans Will Oppose Any Immigration Plan Backed By Obama Because They Hate Obama

Someone dragged Newt Gingrich from behind the woodwork to give his opinion on immigration issues.  This time, there might even be a modicum of truth to what he’s saying…

Think Progress

During an appearance on ABC’s This Week on Sunday, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) admitted that Republicans are likely to oppose any immigration reform proposal introduced by President Obama because they personally dislike the Commander-in-Chief.

“An Obama plan led and driven by Obama in this atmosphere with the level of hostility towards the president and the way he goads the hostility I think is very hard to imagine that bill, that his bill is going to pass the House,” Gingrich said. “I think that negotiated with a Senate immigration bill that has to have bipartisan support could actually get to the president’s desk.”

The Senate-backed framework for immigration reform, which enhances security on the border and includes a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, shares many similarities with Obama’s own proposal, though the president has repeatedly said that if Congress fails to make progress, he will introduce his own reform legislation.

That plan, obtained by USA Today, “mirrors many provisions of the bipartisan 2007 bill” spearheaded by Ted Kennedy and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and would allow unauthorized immigrants “to become legal permanent residents within eight years.” “The plan also would provide for more security funding and require business owners to check the immigration status of new hires within four years,” the paper reports.

Despite its bipartisan nature, the draft proposal was immediately panned by Republicans. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) — a member of the Senate group working towards producing comprehensive legislation — called it “dead on arrival,” while Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) said it demonstrated that Obama is “looking for a partisan advantage and not a bipartisan solution.”

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Filed under Immigration, Newt Gingrich

Arizona Governor Tries To Thwart Obama’s Immigration Directive With Executive Order

Which is it?  Does Arizona’s Governor Brewer hate Obama immensely or is it a hate for “undocumented workers”?   By the way, in my mind, no human being is “illegal”…

Think Progress

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer (R) has signed an executive order that attempts to thwart President Obama’s directive extending temporary work permits to more than a million undocumented immigrants. The Obama administration’s policy — which would grant two-year work authorizations to undocumented youth between 15 and 30 years of age who have lived in the U.S. continuously for at least five years — was announced in June and went into effect on Wednesday.

Brewer’s order directs “state agencies to deny driver’s licenses and other public benefits to young illegal immigrants who obtain work authorizations” and “directs state agencies to start emergency rulemaking processes as necessary to implement her order.” From the document:

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