As Facebook is crowded with pictures of kids going back to school, we must face the inevitable end of summer. However, for immigrants, it is possible that the end of summer will bring long-awaited administrative relief from the Obama administration. In June, President Obama went to the Rose Garden to state that, in the absence of legislation from Congress, he was going to use his executive power to address the harshness of U.S.
Last night, Jen Cook and I went to the National Council for Transgender Equality’s (NCTE) 10th Anniversary event. The evening was themed “Our Moment,” reflecting the organization’s intention to build upon the successes of the gay rights movement in the past year, including the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the Windsor decision, and the many states that have enacted gay marriage. In fact, even as the party went on, the festivities were interrupted to announce that Hawaii became the 16th state to allow for gay marriage.
Last week, among the hundreds of American flags raised at Tuesday’s March for Human Dignity and Respect, a few Mexican flags were spotted. That’s right. Mexican citizens carried the Mexican flag in Washington DC, the capital of the United States, of all places. The reaction of the anti-immigrant crowd was predictable- this was akin to General Santa Anna’s troops razing the Alamo, slaughtering the proud Texans within.
The air is noticeably crisper, the baseball playoffs have begun, I have started to see decorative gourds, but the traffic got a whole lot lighter today. It is October 1, 2013, the first day of the fiscal year 2014 (FY2014), and the federal government has shut down over the inability of Congress to pass a budget that does not seek to undo the Affordable Care Act.
On Tuesday, August 20, approximately fifty people gathered at Benach Collopy’s offices in Washington, DC to meet and support a 27 year old candidate for Congress from the 4th District of Iowa. Jim Mowrer, born on a farm in Boone Iowa, and a veteran of our war in Iraq, is challenging the incumbent Steve King for his seat in Congress. Readers of this blog need no introduction to Steve King as he is a leader of the extreme anti-immigrant faction of American politics.
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.
On Saturday, June 15, BR team members Benach, Sandra Arboleda, and Mariela Sanchez-Odicio spent the morning at CASA de Maryland in a free legal clinic in anticipation of immigration reform. In these events, we are cast as the experts on immigration law, but I am sure that we learn so much more from greeting the community than we provide in legal advice. CASA de Maryland is an outstanding organization and on the front lines of so many essential civil rights battles.
The day before the Senate Judiciary Committee advanced the most significant piece of immigration legislation since 1996, the “President of the National Citizenship and Immigration Services Council, the union representing 12,000 United States Citizenship & Immigration Services adjudications officers and staff” sent a letter to Members of the United States Senate in opposition to the immigration reform bill under review in the Senate. Despite claiming to be the “backbone of our nation’s immigration system,” the Union leadership complains that they were not consulted over the proposed immigration reform.
Yesterday, by a vote of 13-5, the United States Senate Judiciary Committee passed S. 744, the immigration reform bill. Three Republicans (Lindsey Graham (SC), Jeff Flake (AZ) and Orrin Hatch (UT)) joined all ten Democrats to vote the legislation out of committee. The five opponents were the five Republicans who had spent the several mark-ups attempting to torpedo the legislation with odious and unworkable amendments, most of which were defeated.
It has now been a couple of weeks since the Gang of Eight’s immigration bill was introduced. We provided a brief rundown of its main points and we give it, overall, good grades. It certainly is much better than the status quo, but less generous than we might have designed ourselves. But they are in Congress and we are in court. Now that it is out, what happens?