“¡Obama escucha, seguimos en la lucha!” This shouting was heard from downtown on 14th street as Sandra, Mariela, and I made posters to join thousands of people at the immigration rally held in front of the Capitol on Wednesday, April 10th. Since my arrival to the United States in 1999, I have attended every immigration rally in Washington, D.C. I find every experience of a rally to be very rewarding including being able to shout nonstop on the streets of DC without getting arrested.
One of the biggest immigration cases of the current Supreme Court terms is not about immigration at all. Today, March 27, 2013, the Court heard arguments in U.S. v. Windsor, a case that is about the validity of a same-sex marriage and its recognition under U.S. law. In 2007, Edie Windsor married her longtime partner, Theya Speyer in Canada, which allows same-sex marriage. When Speyer died in 2009, Windsor was hit with a $363,000 tax bill that she would not have been required to pay if Speyer had been a man.
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.
It took only three years longer than promised—and a leak that may or may not have been intentional—but the White House has finally produced a legislative proposal to fix the immigration system. Dubbed the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2013, the bill would create a pathway to citizenship for most of the 11 million removable noncitizens in the country, mandate the eventual use of E-Verify for most employers, and dull many of the draconian provisions enacted in the 1996 immigration bill.
Yesterday, after receiving a gift of $6 million, Florida Atlantic University announced that it was renaming its stadium “The Geo Group Stadium,” after the for-profit prison company, best known for operating detention facilities on behalf of Immigration & Customs Enforcement. It is remarkable that any university would name a stadium after a prison company, but simply stunning that Florida Atlantic University, which sits in South Florida, a community that has been decimated by the overuse of civil immigration, would be so tone deaf as to think this was a good idea.
The past few days have revealed tremendous silliness in the immigration reform debate. It is a true pity given the serious stakes involved for everyone persecuted by the U.S.’ brutal immigration laws. Just today, we saw prominent immigrant rights groups’ applauding the honesty of ICE bureaucrat representative, Chris Crane because he stated in some forum or another: For this pearl, Mr. Crane has been lauded by all sorts of ostensibly pro-immigrant types as a whistleblower.
The optimism and hope that have been generated by all of the hype around immigration reform has been intense. Every day, a new prominent political figure comes out in favor of immigration reform. Look, Sean Hannity! Condoleeza Rice! Was that closet really big enough for Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes? Eric Cantor and John Boehner now support the DREAM Act after voting against it in 2010!
It has been a tough week for the ICE bureaucrats who have sought to undermine the political leadership of this country to pursue their own restrictivist and nativist agenda. Regular readers of this blog (my wife and my mother), will know that we have sought to document the efforts of bureaucrats within ICE to stymie intelligent immigration enforcement through insubordination, lawsuits, leaks, and more generic tactics like refusal to complete trainings and sick-outs.
There is a single line in the President’s immigration proposal that has escaped a lot of attention. As the idiotic “back of the line” concept and the path to citizenship dominate the headlines, the language of the proposal indicates that the administration would like to eliminate one of the most onerous obstacles to asylum for thousands of applicants- the notorious one year rule. If this became law, the President will preside over a vast improvement in U.S.
What a week it has been. There has been more positive discussion of immigration reform in the last week than in the past decade and while none of it is perfect, it is a huge improvement over Mitt Romney endorsing self-deportation and SB 1070. Hard to believe that that was just six months ago. In the past week, there has been two major comprehensive overhaul plans, word of a third, and the introduction of independent bills that would make discrete but needed improvements to the system.