The death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has created turmoil in Washington DC and on the Presidential campaign trail. Republicans are uniformly calling on the President to refrain from nominating anyone to fill the vacancy due to the upcoming Presidential election. Within hours of the news of the Justice’s death, Senator Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader and the man who controls the Senate’s agenda, stated that the “vacancy should not be filled until we have a new President.” The President has stated that he intends to nominate someone to fill the vacancy, setting up a battle with Senate Republicans over whether the nominee will ever get a hearing or approved by the Senate.
Much of the world rejoiced yesterday upon seeing the photos of Caitlyn Jenner’s exquisite transformation on the cover of the June issue of Vanity Fair. Much of the commentary I saw focused not so much on her physical appearance, but how she looked at peace and contented to be herself. As an immigration lawyer who has represented many trans asylum seekers, I know and have seen that look.
“Something is happening and you don’t know what it is, do you, Mr. Jones?” It wasn’t until Tuesday night at a Bob Dylan concert that I saw the limits of my own vision. I had avoided taking a position on the efforts of the Dream 9. As a lawyer, you hate to see people take actions that can jeopardize themselves. As as someone who only vaguely knows, but cares deeply about, Lulu, Marco and Lizbeth, I was worried for them.
Today, the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 in Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc. that the state of Arizona cannot separately require an individual to prove he is a citizen in order to register to vote beyond the regulations set forth by the federal government. This decision stated that Arizona’s additional “proof of citizenship” form was contrary to the National Voter Registration Act, the federal law establishing a specific form for Voter Registration.
Dear Congressman Bachus, Thank you very much for speaking out about the overuse of detention by Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) in civil proceedings to determine the removability of individuals in the U.S. By stating and asking “it looks to me like there is an overuse of detention by this administration. If these people are not safety risks . . . why are we detaining them?,” you have joined the growing chorus of Americans who wonder why the government, during a time of fiscal crisis, spends so much money locking people up during immigration proceedings when they present no danger to society.
Those of us on the East Coast woke up this morning to the news that Maria Arreola and her son Heriberto Arreola were arrested in their home Thursday night by Immigration & Customs enforcement in Phoenix, Arizona. Another day in immigration, where ICE enters people home’s homes and removes individuals who have done little more than entered into or remained in the country without permission. Yep, this was a normal case except that Maria is Erika Andiola’s mother and Heriberto is her brother.
One of the burdens I carry is the knowledge that I come from one of the country’s anti-immigrant hotspots. No, I am not from Arizona, Alabama, Postville, Iowa or Hazelton, Pennsylvania. I grew up in Suffolk County on the eastern end of Long Island, New York. While Suffolk County never passed laws like Arizona’s infamous SB 1070 or Alabama’s even more odious HB 56, Suffolk County gained notoriety for an even more loathsome practice– extreme violence against immigrants.
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to meet Paul Penzone, a Phoenix police officer for the past 21 years, who is running for Sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona. Now, ordinarily, I don’t have a lot of interest in races for Sheriff in a state I have never lived in. However, this is a special race because Paul Penzone is running against incumbent Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the 80 year old Bull Connor of our time.
On Friday, Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney endorsed Steve King (R-IA) for another term in Congress. King, who once compared selecting immigrants to dog breeding, represents the worst of nativist sentiment and Romney’s solicitation of the know-nothing wing of his party makes a mockery of any analysis that indicates that demographics demand that Romney move off his “self-deportation” stance in the primary toward the more humane and comprehensive approach to immigration reform.
In what was surely the most anticipated decision of the Supreme Court’s term, Arizona v. United States came down today and not in the way anybody expected. In a 5-3 decision (Justice Kagan took no part), the Supreme Court rejected three of the four contested provisions and cast serious doubt on the viability of the fourth provision. What remains of SB 1070 is a hollow shell of the legislation promised and promoted by Russell Pearce, Jan Brewer, and the Mario Mendoza of immigration litigation, Kris Kobach.