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CO: Drivers' Licenses Available to Immigrants Regardless of Status

Colorado's recently passed law allowing immigrants to obtain drivers' licenses without regard to their immigration status is now in effect. The process is by appointment only. So far, more than 9,500 appointments have been scheduled.

The law, SB 251, was passed last year. The official announcement is here. It applies to the undocumented, and those with only temporary legal status. There are five offices set up to issue the licenses: Denver, Aurora, Colorado Springs, Fort Collins and Grand Junction. The requirements:

[The undocumented] must present documents like a utility bill to prove they've lived in Colorado the previous two years, in addition to an identification number they've used to pay taxes. They must also show a passport or other identification from their home country. [More...]

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House Passes Bill to Speed Deportations, End Obama Relief to Dreamers

The House of Representatives Friday passed a new version of the Republican's border bill that will unconscionably speed up deportations of child migrants. The House also passed a separate bill, intended to appease TX Sen. Ted Cruz and the radical right arm of the party, that reverses much of President Obama's executive order granting temporary relief to Dreamers, children who arrived the United States years ago with undocumented parents. Obama's order created a two year deferral on deportation for many of these children. [More...]

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Immigration Debacle for House Republicans

They'll try to fix it tomorrow, but as of now, the border control bill has been a total debacle for Republican House leadership today.

[Republican Sen. Ted] Cruz, the hard-line Texas Republican, has been working behind the scenes to stir up conservative opposition to a House GOP plan to approve $659 million to secure the border and handle the flow of 57,000 migrant youths.

And it worked. Amid disarray, House GOP leaders canceled Thursday's vote after it was clear they did not have the votes.

Politico has more. [More...]

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9th Circuit Overturns AZ Ban on Drivers Licenses for Dreamers

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals today reversed a lower court's refusal to grant a preliminary injunction against Arizona's ban on issuing driver's licenses to Dreamers who have been granted permission under President Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (background here) to remain in the U.S. and avoid deportation for up to two years.

The opinion is here. It says the Dreamers are likely to prevail on an equal protection challenge to the ban, and will suffer irreparable harm if the injunction isn't granted. It ordered the Arizona Department of Transportation to provide licenses to those in that program.

According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, 642,685 young people have been approved for the program since 2012, including 20,000 from Arizona. (statistics here.)

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Denver Jails to Cease Enforcing Immigration Holds

Denver has become the 7th Colorado county to refuse to honor federal immigration holds. The reason for the decisions: Court rulings that have held county sheriff departments may be liable for violating the 4th Amendment.

"It is the legal equivalent of asking the sheriff to make a new arrest" without any legal grounds, Mark Silverstein, legal director of the Colorado chapter of the ACLU, said at a news conference.

The Colorado ACLU's request for the policy change is here. [More...]

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Obama and Deportation Policy

Republican intransigence over immigration reform may result in President Obama easing Homeland Security's removal (previously called deportation) policies. Two measures are under consideration.

Obama met with various Latino groups yesterday. After the meeting:

Obama announced late on Thursday that he had decided to review deportation practices to seek a more "humane" way to enforce immigration laws.....Immigration law experts have said Obama could use his executive authority to also stop deporting parents of those children to keep families together.

[More....]

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Calif Court Okays Undocmented Resident as Attorney

Great news for Sergio Garcia, an undocumented resident who went to law school in the U.S. and wants to be a lawyer. A California court has ruled he can be admitted to the bar as an attorney.

“We conclude that the fact that an undocumented immigrant’s presence in this country violates federal statutes is not itself a sufficient or persuasive basis for denying undocumented immigrants, as a class, admission to the State Bar,” the chief justice wrote.

Garcia waited four years for the ruling. More on his case, and that of Jose Godinez-Samperio at the ABA Journal here.

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Senate to Vote on Immigration Reform Bill

The Senate is expected to pass the immigration reform bill today. There will be a vote at 4:00 p.m.

In addition to providing a 13-year pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants, the bipartisan bill would double to 40,000 the number of federal agents on the U.S.-Mexican border and help provide American businesses with needed low- and high-skilled workers.

(Added: the use of the word "illegal" to describe immigrants is not allowed here, it was a quote in a Reuters news article. (another version here.) I just noticed it and struck the word. Newer Reuters articles aren't using the word.

The bill will then move to the House. Republicans in the House want their own bill. They oppose the path to citizenship in the Senate version.

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Saying No at DHS Checkpoints

What happens when you refuse to comply with a request for information about your citizenship at an immigration checkpoint within the U.S.? Apparently, they have to let you continue on your way and you don't have answer questions or go to the secondary area. At least, that's what happens to those stopped in this video that refused -- the agents backed down.

Good to know. But why are there immigration checkpoints 30 miles from the border?

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ICE Releases From Detention Are Overdue

Republicans will make a political issue out of anything, even the implementation of existing legal and humane policies concerning undocumented immigrants.

Here is the December, 2012 Detainee Guidance Policy. It limits the use of detainers to individuals who meet the Department's enforcement priorities and restricts the use of detainers against those arrested for minor misdemeanor offenses such as traffic offenses and other petty crimes. The policy is intended to ensure that available resources are focused on apprehending felons, repeat offenders and other ICE priorities. [More...]

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Obama's Expected Immigration Reform Bill

USA Today has obtained a draft of President Obama's proposed immigration reform bill. It reports there is a path to lawful residency included in the bill, which will take 8 years. During this time, those working towards citizenship will receive a Lawful Prospective Immigrant Visa.

The bill sounds similar to the unsuccessful 2011 Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act (S.1258)and the 2009 and 2007 bills before that. [More...]

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Obama's Proposed Immigration Plan aka Crime Bill

Speaking in Las Vegas today, President Obama outlined his new immigration plan, including a path to citizenship for most of the 11 million undocumented residents currently present in the U.S.

The White House has issued this fact sheet on the plan.

Immigrants living here illegally must be held responsible for their actions by passing national security and criminal background checks, paying taxes and a penalty, going to the back of the line, and learning English before they can earn their citizenship. There will be no uncertainty about their ability to become U.S. citizens if they meet these eligibility criteria. The proposal will also stop punishing innocent young people brought to the country through no fault of their own by their parents and give them a chance to earn their citizenship more quickly if they serve in the military or pursue higher education. [More...]

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Immigration Reform Proposals to be Submitted This Week

A blueprint for immigration reform, including a path to citizenship some undocumented residents, is expected to be released this week by a 6 member Senate working group, that includes Senators Dick Durbin, John McCain, Lindsay Graham, Mark Rubio, Charles Schumer and Robert Menendez.

The Republicans in the group are going to stress tougher border security and more employer penalties. The Democrats (hopefully) will stress family reunification.

Mr. Durbin added that the effort will be focused on unifying families, and will include a version of the Dream Act, which would give undocumented students a path to permanent residency status.

[More...]

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Applications Out Today for Young Immigrants to Defer Removal

Today is the day that hundreds of thousands of undocumented young persons who have been residing in this country can start applying for a two year period of protection from deportation.

Under President Obama's recent order, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is handling the applications. The forms became available today.

Individuals requesting consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals must submit Form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization (with accompanying fees); and an I-765WS, Worksheet. USCIS recently developed a series of resources to inform the on how the process will work. The website, www.uscis.gov/childhoodarrivals, includes a flier, a How do I brochure, frequently asked questions, and a number of other resources. USCIS encourages individuals with questions to visit this website or call the USCIS National Customer Service line at 1-800-375-5283.

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New DREAM Deferral Details Released: $465 Cost to Applicants

New details were released yesterday by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) about the application process for President Obama's new program deferring deportation for undocumented young residents for up to two years.

The cost for a work permit will be $465.00. Lawyers aren't needed. The applications will be available August 15.

Here is the press release. [More...]

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