This post originally appeared on NBCNews.com.
AUSTIN, Texas — The fate of nearly a million undocumented youth is in the hands of the legislative branch. Leaving tasks up to Congress isn’t reassuring but now that President Trump put an end to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), there is no other recourse.
In 2012 President Obama enacted DACA as a second-best option while a more comprehensive immigration reform could be delivered. Executive orders, unlike laws passed by Congress, can be changed or scrapped by the different executives that come through the White House. And from a policy standpoint, DACA was only meant to be a band-aid to be used while Congress could pass comprehensive immigration reform.
Five years later, comprehensive immigration reform has yet to happen and won’t anytime soon. This means that the immigration piece that protects undocumented youth needs its stand-alone legislation. Continue Reading
This post first appeared on NBCNews.com.
Arizona is synonymous with immigration drama. There was SB 1070 in 2010 and the infamous antics of the convicted former Sheriff Joe Arpaio. So when President Trump arrived at the Phoenix convention center for his rally, it was a safe bet he’d serve up some immigration red meat.
There was immigration red meat, but unlike other rallies Trump has held in Arizona it wasn’t the main course. Let’s say immigration was a healthy-sized side portion.
Of his 77 minute speech the majority of his time was spent bashing the media and the two home state Republican Senators, Senator John McCain and Senator Jeff Flake. The President feels personally offended at what he believes is an unfair characterization of his Charlottesville response.
Then there’s President Trump’s personal beef with the Arizona GOP Senators. Recently Senator Jeff Flake released a book were he essentially bashes the president. Then there’s Senator McCain’s vote against repealing Obamacare. The Arizona Senators don’t like Trump and Trump doesn’t like them, a point that was resoundingly clear last night.
Beyond settling his personal scores with the media and the Arizona senators Trump did not disappoint in his immigration message. Close to a year ago Donald Trump stood in that same Phoenix convention center laying out his plan to build the border wall and restrict immigration. Continue Reading
This piece originally appeared on NBCNews.com
AUSTIN, Texas – No more gaming the system; no more showing up and getting a handout the very next day. In his most recent weekly address President Donald Trump pledged to stop immigrant green card holders from accessing welfare upon their arrival by putting a five-year moratorium on public assistance.
There’s just one problem. Strict restrictions on welfare benefits, including the five-year wait time for immigrants have been in place for over 20 years.
First, a little background on immigration and welfare benefits. In1996 there was a major revamping of federally funded public aid eligibility. The Personal Responsibility and Work Reconciliation Act dramatically curtailed public assistance. And within this major welfare reform there was a specific set of limitations targeted to legal immigrants, otherwise known as long-term permanent residents (LPRs) or green card holders. Continue Reading
This piece originally appeared on NBCNews.com
Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy (RAISE), the immigration proposal that got resounding support from President Donald Trump, has a nice ring to it. But it’s a flat out lie.
The RAISE Act proposes to slash legal immigration to the United States by half. The promised result – strengthening the American economy – is supposed to happen because, as its drafters explain it, the reduction of legal immigrants directly translates into the employment of native-born Americans.
If only saving American jobs were as easy as a one-to-one translation: one fewer immigrant equals one more employed native-born American.
According to its supporters, in just the first year of the proposal, legal immigration would decrease by 637,960. So, by the administration’s calculations, we should be seeing a 637,960 job increase among native-born Americans.
It’s not that easy. And beyond that, the RAISE Act would push American jobs abroad and would boost undocumented immigration. Put it all together and the American economy becomes weaker, not stronger. Continue Reading
This piece first appeared on NBCNews.com.
Texas is not the first state to pass an anti-immigrant law targeted toward Latinos; that dubious honor goes to California. In 1994 California voters approved ballot proposition 187 that would strip the provision of any service—including emergency room care and K-12 education—from undocumented persons.
For a while it seemed like California was the exception that confirmed the rule of state’s not getting involved in issues of immigration. But after a lull of 16 years, Arizona passed SB 1070, the “show me your papers” law that triggered a number of other states, including Alabama to pass similar measures.
Regrettably, Texas probably won’t be the last state to pass anti-immigrant bills. We’re in the midst of a political climate where none other than the president of the United States refers to Latino immigrants as rapists and drug dealers.
But the recently passed SB4 in Texas is of exceptional significance for two reasons. First, the sheer size of the Latino population makes the effects wide ranging. Texas has the second largest Latino population in the nation and, since 2016, is the state with the biggest increase in its Latino population.
Second, the Lone Star state’s anti-immigrant law is vast in its scope. The law does not just ban sanctuary localities, it also penalizes police departments for not enforcing federal immigration laws and provides for the racial profiling of individuals who are stopped during routine traffic stops.
The Texas anti-immigrant law is slated to go into effect on September 1. Currently there are court challenges to block it.
In the meantime, immigrant advocates in Texas are pushing back. They got some good advice from Latino advocates gathered in Dallas recently at the 34th Annual Conference of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO).
On the final day of the conference, a plenary titled “Supporting the Lone Star State Post SB 4: How Latino Leaders Can Unite to Combat Anti-Immigrant Laws and Practices,” was held. The plenary panelists consisted of veterans of past immigration battles and current warriors.
The discussion was spirited, to say the least and in the end the advice resulted in a frank and useful to-do list.
Here’s some of what they said.
“Be bold, be aggressive, push back as hard as you can, get business community involved!”
Supervisor Steve Gallardo, Maricopa County, Arizona: Steve Gallardo has been on the front lines of the Arizona anti-immigrant battles where the wounds are still fresh. His take home was for Texas to push back with all of its might. Gallardo noted, that the country is watching and if SB4 is fully implemented anti-immigrant advocates in other states will be emboldened.
Gallardo’s second point was straight out of the Arizona playbook that saw the author of SB 1070 recalled and Sheriff Joe Arpaio defeated. He emphasized the need to reach out to the business community because at the end of the day anti-immigration policies are bad for business. Gallardo’s view is that politics can make for strange bedfellows and in pushing back, Latinos need to reach out to diverse partners who may not usually come to mind at first.
This article originally appeared on NBCNews.com
Anti-climatic; that’s what former FBI Director James Comey’s public testimony before the Senate Intelligence committee was.
Most of the thrill of surprise was taken out because he released his statement a day before his hearing. And even before then the media had pieced the narrative together. Then, finally there’s the former FBI Director’s silky smooth professional demeanor. There was no question that he did not foresee and manage with confident ease.
At the end of Comey’s much anticipated public testimony there was nothing remotely resembling a Russia-Trump smoking gun. The most sensational part of the hearing was the repeated reference to President Trump as a liar. For those who are no fans of Trump that was stating the obvious. But for James Comey, steeped in the protocol of Washington D.C., that was some X-rated stuff.
So what can we take away from today’s hearing?
First, the drip, drip, drip continues. Director Comey’s hearing and his released statement continue the storyline of legally questionable actions by President Trump. The connection between Russia and Trump has smelled funny for a while. Today’s testimony did not put a cap on that funky smell but instead fanned it’s stink. Continue Reading