The Obama Administration’s focus on immigration enforcement up to now offers a useful preview of what a likely legalization proposal will include in 2010 and how it will fare in a historically partisan and divided Washington.
Tag: Obama and immigration
With the Senate passing its version of health care reform in the wee hours of Christmas Eve, many immigrant advocates are waiting with bated breath for the White House to turn its attention to immigration in 2010.
Saying “the time for waiting is over,” Rep. Luis Gutierrez announced his comprehensive immigration reform bill, “the product of months of collaboration with civil rights advocates, labor organizations, and members of Congress.”
Homeland Security Sec. Janet Napolitano renewed the Obama administration’s promise that it will deal with immigration reform early next year, political calculations in an election year notwithstanding.
On the day that President Barack Obama accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in Norway, pro-immigration activists in New York were ready to remind him of what they consider a human rights crisis in the United States: the condition in which thousands of immigrants are detained throughout the nation.
Activists gathered Wednesday night at house parties across the country in a day of action for comprehensive immigration reform organized by the Reform Immigration for America campaign.
The U.S. Supreme Court wants the Obama administration to offer its opinion on state immigration laws, an issue that the White House has largely tried to avoid. The high court asked the White House on Monday for an opinion in a U.S. Chamber of Commerce challenge to an Arizona law that punishes businesses for hiring undocumented immigrants.
The Chamber of Commerce, supported by groups ranging from the American Civil Liberties Union to the Arizona Farm Bureau Federation, filed suit against a law Arizona passed in 2007 that requires employers to use an employee verification system and penalizes those who knowingly hire people without proper documentation. A Supreme Court ruling on the Arizona law could affect other states that have taken the issue into their own hands in response to what many see as federal inaction on immigration reform.
Michael Doyle, of McClatchy Newspapers, reported the Chamber’s attorney Carter Phillips wrote in a legal brief: “This case involves a question of exceptional national importance: whether state legislatures and municipal governments may override Congress’ judgment concerning United States immigration policy.”
By Diego Graglia, FI2W web editor
A strategy that has been successful in rallying vocal opposition to the Obama administration will now focus on immigration reform: Americans for Legal Immigration (ALIPAC) will hold tea parties “against amnesty and illegal immigration” starting on Saturday, Nov. 14.
The organization created a web site called Against Amnesty to organize the events. It reads,
“President Obama along with Republican and Democrat DC insiders are preparing a mass ‘Comprehensive’ Amnesty for illegal immigrants in America that will provide a path to citizenship and turn illegal aliens into voters even though a vast majority of Americans oppose this.
“This will only bring more ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION to America!”
The Obama administration will push for immigration reform in Congress once Democrats are certain they have enough votes to pass it, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said Tuesday in Washington.
According to the Spanish-language newspaper La Opinión, Salazar attended an event organized by the National Association of Hispanic Publications, where he said the reform bill “will be introduced when there is certainty as to the availability of the necessary votes for it to be approved,” reporter Antonieta Cádiz wrote.
With immigration becoming an increasingly controversial issue and the Democrats’ health care reform plan about to reach the Senate floor for a contentious debate, the statement would seem to place some doubt on when (or even whether) the administration-backed bill being prepared by Sen. Charles Schumer will actually be introduced.
At the same time, Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D- Illinios), who’s authoring a bill of his own to be introduced in the House, warned Tuesday that there will be a short window for immigration reform to be debated –and eventually passed– after the approval of the health care bill and before the start of campaigning for the 2010 Congressional election.
Workplace raids by immigration authorities have “severely interfered with the protection of labor rights for immigrant workers,” according to a new report released Tuesday by labor organizations.
“The single-minded focus on immigration enforcement without regard to violations of workplace laws has enabled employers with rampant labor and employment violations to profit by employing workers who are terrified to complain about substandard wages, unsafe conditions, and lack of benefits, or to demand their right to bargain collectively,” reads the report prepared by the National Employment Law Project, the AFL-CIO, and the American Rights at Work Education Fund (click here for pdf).
The report comes as the Obama administration has continued many of the Bush-era enforcement policies, although work-site raids have been scaled back since the Democrats took over in January. Nevertheless, local police forces with immigration enforcement powers –like Maricopa County (Arizona) Sheriff Joe Arpaio, whose federal contract was scaled back— had until recently continued to conduct these operations.