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Menendez-Leahy Immigration Bill Introduced

Last week, Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT)introduced S. 3932, the Comprehensive Immigration Reform ("CIR") Act of 2010, The ACLU says it has some good due process protection measures, but it falls short in other key areas, particularly the e-verify program and in its enforcement measures, many of which run counter to civil liberties.

Here are the problems with the enforcement measures:

S. 3932 .... unfortunately leaves intact the 287(g) program run by Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE"), which delegates certain federal immigration enforcement power to designated state and local police. Earlier this year, the DHS Office of Inspector General issued a scathing report of the 287(g) program, recommending 33 critical reforms to be implemented. ICE has failed to implement the vast majority of those recommendations and instead has expanded the 287(g) program to 70 jurisdictions.

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Colin Powell Urges Path to Citizenship for Undocumented

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell urged Congress to pass immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship for the undocumented today. He said undocumented workers have made repairs on his house and they are an essential part of our labor force.

"They're all over my house, doing things whenever I call for repairs, and I'm sure you've seen them at your house. We've got to find a way to bring these people out of the darkness and give them some kind of status."

Here's the text of the Dream Act, S. 729, as introduced in 2009. Thomas page is here. PDF version here. [More...]

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Senate Approves $600 Million for Mexico Border Security

Republicans won't agree to immigration reform, but Democrats were willing to kow-tow to them today and pass another $600 million for border security for 2011, 10% more than 2010. $1 billion for border security with one country for two years?

The money would be used for such purposes as adding 1,500 new enforcement agents and deploying unmanned aerial drones to improve border surveillance.

Cops and drones. Just what we don't need more of. And, get this -- John McCain said the $600 million was insufficient, he wanted more. And more jail sentences: [More...]

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Evangelical Support Grows for Path to Legalization

The New York Times reports:

Normally on the opposite side of political issues backed by the Obama White House, [evangelical]leaders are aligning with the president to support an overhaul that would include some path to legalization for illegal immigrants already here. They are preaching from pulpits, conducting conference calls with pastors and testifying in Washington....

Could it make a difference?

Although other religious leaders have long favored immigration overhaul — including Roman Catholics, mainline Protestants, Jews and Muslims — the evangelicals are crucial because they have the relationships and the pull with Republicans.

So, if all those groups are for it, who is against it? The people they are preaching to? Can they convert their choirs?[More...]

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ICE is Rebranding Its Image, Less Focus on Civil Immigration Enforcement

ICE has an image problem. The Washington Post reports the agency is making changes and hopes to fix it.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will realign its duties to promote criminal investigations over immigrant deportation, officials have announced.

By streamlining and renaming several offices, officials hope to highlight the agency's counterterrorism, money laundering and other complex criminal investigations and in the process "re-brand" ICE, turning the public -- and political -- spotlight away from its immigration work.

Here's the memo that went out to ICE employees last week.

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Denver City Council to Consider Immigration Proclamation

Tomorrow night, the Denver City Council will consider an immigration reform proclamation that includes:

NOW THEREFORE,BE IT PROCLAIMED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY AND COUNTY OF DENVER:

Section 1. That the Council of the City and County of Denver calls upon President Barack Obama, the United States Congress, and our Colorado congressional delegation, to take swift and responsible legislative action to produce fair, humane, effective, and comprehensive federal immigration reform - reform that enhances American stability, security, and prosperity by: providing for robust border control; enforceable immigration laws; family unification; a rate and system of controlled immigration that matches the needs of our economy; a path to earned legalization, citizenship, and social integration for our existing immigrant workforce and their families; equitable access to higher education for immigrant students already being educated in American public schools; enhanced enforcement of labor laws; and bilateral partnerships with other countries to promote economic development that will reduce the flow of immigrants in the first place.

If you'd like to call your city council representative and ask them to support it, here's the contact information.

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NY Governor To Accelerate Pardons to Avoid Deportation

New York Governor David Paterson today announced that he would accelerate the pardon process so as to grant more pardons to legal immigrants convicted of old, minor crimes and prevent them from being deported.

Some of our immigration laws, particularly with respect to deportation, are embarrassingly and wrongly inflexible,” Mr. Paterson said in a speech on Monday at an annual gathering of the state’s top judges. “In New York we believe in renewal,” he added. “In New York, we believe in rehabilitation.”

In other good news, Sheriff Joe Arpaio won't run for Governor. Now if he'd only leave law enforcement. David Newert at Crooks and Liars has more on Arapio's possible motives. And here's the Pulitzer winning five part Tribune series on Arpaio's performance in office, which leaves much to be desired, to say the least.

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The Democrats' Immigration Bill Is a Sham

What is Harry Reid trying to pull? The details of the Democrats' immigration bill are coming out, and it's a head-fake. Congress needs to "just say no" to this turkey of a bill.

The bill is a border enhancement bill and not what we need. It's "path to legalization" is 8 years. It's more money for cops and the war on drugs.

It creates biometric national id cards -- today for immigrants. As if they aren't planning them for all of us soon after:

The legislation would require the Social Security Administration to oversee a new system of biometric cards that could be used to prevent hiring of illegal immigrants. It would replace existing verification systems six years after they were enacted.

Then there's this: [more...]

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ACLU to Challenge AZ Immigration Law, Dems to Introduce Immigration Bill

At a press conference today, the ACLU and other civil rights groups will outline details of a legal challenge they will file to SB 1070, Arizona's immigration law:

The American Civil Liberties Union, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund and the National Immigration Law Center, which argue the law is unconstitutional, were expected to outline their legal strategy at the Arizona state capitol in Phoenix.

More here. Separately, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will hold a press conference at 5:45 p.m ET outlining the Democrat's immigration law overhaul, which Obama says will be tough to pass this year.

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Your Papers, Please? Boycott Arizona

(Photo credit: Archiwum Panstwowe w Krakowie)

Via John Wesley Hall (aka Last Night in Little Rock) at FourthAmendment.com:

AZ: State immigration law signed; what does an illegal alien look like?

The Arizona state immigration bill, S.B. 1070, was signed into law by the Governor yesterday. It permits detention on reasonable suspicion of being an illegal alien, and the burden apparently is on the detainee to prove he or she is a citizen. How does one prove citizenship? Carry your birth certificate? Won't the footprint be a little dated? No picture on a birth certificate. Isn't the burden of proof in a warrantless detention on the government? Doesn't the Fourth Amendment protect illegals the undocumented already inside the U.S.? It has to [in order]to protect the rest of us.

Arizona's S.B. 1070 makes a mockery of our Constitution. Congress needs to put immigration reform front and center now and pass legislation that would invalidate S.B. 1070 and prevent other states from following in its footsteps. [More...]

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Calls for AZ Governor to Veto Immigration Legislation

The absurdly discriminatory immigration bill passed by the Arizona House passed the Senate yesterday. Absent a veto by the Republican Governor, Jan Brewer, it will become law.

The bill would require immigrants to carry their alien registration documents at all times and require police to question people if there's reason to suspect they're in the United States illegally. It also targets those who hire illegal immigrant day laborers or knowingly transport them.

This bill is a racial profiling horror show in the making. What to do? Protest? That ship seems to have sailed. Better: Boycott Arizona. No hotels, no airlines based there, no merchandise manufactured there. Cross the Grand Canyon off your summer travel plans. Forget Sedona and Scottsdale. Colorado is lovely this time of year.

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AZ to Criminalize Undocumented Presence in State

The Arizona House has passed a bill similar to one passed by the state Senate criminalizing undocumented presence in the state. With some minor reconciliation changes, it will go to the Governor for signing into law. Included in the bill are provisions that:

  • Create a new state misdemeanor crime of willful failure to complete or carry an alien registration document.
  • Allow officers to arrest immigrants unable to show documents proving they're legally in the country.
  • Ban so-called soft immigration policies at local police agencies and allow people to sue if they feel a government agency has adopted a policy that hinders the enforcement of illegal immigration laws.
  • Prohibit people from blocking traffic when they seek or offer day-labor services on street corners.
  • Make it illegal for people to transport illegal immigrants if the drivers of vehicles know their passengers are in the country illegally and if the transportation furthers their illegal presence in the country.

This bill gives cops the power to stop and verify the immigration status of anyone they suspect of being undocumented. What a mandate for racial profiling. I hope people boycott Arizona and products made there if this bill gets signed into law. Let their tourism industry suffer the consequences. Visit New Mexico or Colorado instead. [More...]

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March For America in D.C. Today

The National Mall in Washington is ready for today's March for America. Maybe now that the Dems have their 216 votes and the vote won't happen until this evening, it will get some attention.

Tens of thousands of people are expected from all over the country. You can follow along here or on Twitter here or on Facebook.

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Lindsey Graham's Latest Threat: No Immigration Reform if Health Care Passes

Sen. Lindsey Graham is feeling his oats. His constituents ought to send him back to pasture. His latest: He threatens that if the health care bill passes, there will be no immigration reform this year.

“The first casualty of the Democratic health care bill will be immigration reform. If the health care bill goes through this weekend, that will, in my view, pretty much kill any chance of immigration reform passing the Senate this year,” Graham said in a statement blast-emailed to the Washington press corps.

Graham's influence over the detainee trials and Guantanamo is going to his head. The Dems should refuse to listen to him.

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March For America This Sunday

March for America and comprehensive immigration reform this Sunday. I hope you will all check out the ad on the right and do your part.

No human being is illegal. This is an opportunity to march for democracy, march for American workers, march for family unification and march for justice.

March 21, National Mall, Washington DC
March at 2:00 pm

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