Question and Answers

Month: January 2010 (Page 2 of 8)

San Diego County Sheriff's Office First in California to Partner With ICE to Identify and Remove Criminal Aliens : Immigration Law Answers Blog

Until now, new inmates booked into the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department had their fingerprints checked only for criminal history information. But now, each new inmate booked into one of the three largest jails in the County will now also have his or her fingerprints checked by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) biometric system for any immigration record.   The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department is the first law enforcement organization in California to partner with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in their Secure Communities program. This comprehensive program is intended to streamline the process by which ICE determines if the screened inmate is a criminal alien, subject to automatic removal at the completion of his or her incarceration. Highest priority is given to inmate aliens who have been convicted of crimes such as rape, robbery, murder, kidnapping, and major drug offenses.   By implementing programs like Secure Communities in prison facilities and law enforcement organizations, ICE identified more than 221,000 potentially removable aliens incarcerated nationwide in fiscal year 2008. This fiscal year, the agency anticipates spending more than one billion to continue these programs.  ICE currently partners with 50 counties and law enforcement agencies across the nation through the Secure Communities program and looks to expand the program to all law enforcement agencies throughout the United States.   More information about ICE’s Secure Communities effort is available at www.ice.gov. Additional information about the San Diego County Sheriff’s partnership with ICE may be found at:

http://www.ice.gov/pi/nr/0905/090526sandiego.htm.

Food For Thought From Migra Matters Blog : Immigration Law Answers Blog

Posted on August 23, 2006 by Robert A. Kraft

Here’s an interesting little snippet from a post on Migra Matters:

PS: For the record, most of the undocumented look more like this:

BUT you know what their kids, friends and supporters look like? ….. THIS:

Think about that one come November.

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Immigration Bill May Be Split Into Sections In House? : Immigration Law Answers Blog

There’s an interesting post today at the always excellent Immigration Prof Blog about the immigration reform bill being split into small pieces in the House of Representatives. I’m going to shamelessly copy the entire post, but please add this blog to your list of regulars.

House May Break Up Immigration Bill

US News & World Report summarizes much of what’s happening on the immigration debate today:

The immigration bill is back, with the Senate expected to debate it over the next two weeks. Senate passage is by no means assured, but the measure appears to have a fighting chance of surviving the legislative maneuvers and counter-maneuvers expected of the next couple of weeks. Keen observers of the current debate, however, have long expressed reservations about the chance of anything close to the Senate “grand bargain” (the bipartisan legislation including both border security measures and a “path to citizenship”) making it through the House. In the House, Republicans seem firmly opposed to the legislation — while Democrats are wary of passing any immigration bill without GOP support.

But now Democratic leaders may have found a partial way out of this impasse. The Washington Times reports this morning House Democrats “say they may break the immigration issue up into a series of smaller bills that would put off the tougher parts and allow others to pass, such as border security, and high-tech and agriculture worker programs that have clear support.” That “could buy Democrats more time to work out the tougher aspects of immigration, such as what to do about the estimated 12 million to 20 million illegal aliens now here, but it would go against the Senate’s massive catchall approach and contradicts President Bush’s call for a broad bill to pass.” Click here for the rest of the story. bh

Dallas Morning News Editorial On Targeting Employers : Immigration Law Answers Blog

Today’s Dallas Morning News has a thought-provoking editorial about the consequences of a new proposal to crack down on employers of illegal aliens. What would happen if 8,000,000 workers lost their jobs suddenly? Here’s the editorial: 

Critics of comprehensive immigration reform often insist that simply enforcing the laws we already have would go a long way toward solving our growing illegal immigration problem.

We don’t entirely disagree. We do believe strongly that a national strategy should include more than a fence along the Mexican border and deporting every person without papers, but who can be against enforcing current law?

So we were pleased to hear that the Department of Homeland Security intends to crack down on employers who hire workers here illegally with tougher rules that require firing anyone using false Social Security numbers to get work. Backing that policy will be more raids of suspect job sites.

The old employer excuse: “Hey, they had papers.”

The feds’ new rejoinder: “Hey, you should have known better. We sent you a no-match letter.”

In short, if the Social Security Administration can’t connect a number filed with it to a real identity, employers will be notified by mail. Instead of ignoring these notices, as often happened in the past, or just passing them along to the worker to deal with, employers will have 90 days to resolve discrepancies. If they can’t, they must fire the worker or face a $10,000 fine per illegal immigrant.

“There are not going to be any more excuses for employers,” said Russ Knocke, a Homeland Security spokesman, “and there will be serious consequences for those that choose to blatantly ignore the law.”

Fair enough.

But let’s also be clear about the consequences. The feds say they expect to send out 140,000 no-match letters this year, covering more than 8 million workers. We seriously doubt employers will risk $10,000 fines for the vast majority of them.

That means untold numbers of workers out of jobs. Some will go home. Others with spouses or kids in school might roll the dice and try to use those same forged documents to find another job. In the most desperate circumstances, some may even turn to crime to survive.

Imagine for a moment the increased strain this will place on our social service network – food banks, emergency health care and our already overstuffed jails. This is where “too bad for them” falls apart as a response. Everyone who pays taxes will foot the bill.

This is one reason we continue to push Congress to renew the immigration debate. A biometric ID card – close to impossible to forge – was one excellent idea that got washed away in anti-reform tide, as did a realistic guest worker program that would have given hundreds of thousands of needed workers a way to work within the law.

Targeting employers makes sense, as long as we realize who will pay the price.

U.S. Census Kicks Off Nationwide Promotional Tour : Immigration Law Answers Blog

The ABC News Web site has a good article today about the federal government’s program to encourage people to comply with the requirement of cooperating with census workers. As you know, the census is taken every ten years, and the federal government bases many budget decisions on the results of the census. States also use the census information for political redistricting, which affects the party makeup of the states’ political delegations. Here are excerpts from the ABC article:

The U.S. government today launched a massive outreach effort to alert the nation about this year’s census, kicking off a $340 million promotional campaign that will travel across the country in the upcoming months.

After launching today in New York City’s Times Square, the census road tour will stop at more than 800 events nationwide, including high-profile sporting events such as the Super Bowl and the NCAA Final Four. There is even a scheduled stop at New Orleans’ Mardi Gras.

It is all part of an effort to notify the American population about this spring’s census. In March, the census form (10 questions for most Americans) will arrive in mailboxes, the government’s once-a-decade attempt to paint a new portrait of the country.

Then on April 1, only about 100 days away, comes National Census Day.

One fact that the public might learn is that the 2010 census form is the shortest in history. The bureau says it can be completed in only 10 minutes. For the first time since 1930, the bureau is using just one form, not two. The bureau has also unveiled a bilingual form that will be sent to areas with high Hispanic populations.

The objective is to maximize the number of completed forms that get mailed back to the bureau. Non-responses, the bureau knows, can be very costly. For every one percent increase in the number of people who mail back their forms, the bureau saves $80 million by not having to seek them out.

However, a recent analysis conducted by the bureau said there may be a three-percent decrease in mailed-back forms, caused by government mistrust, fear of identity theft, and the surge in home foreclosures.

The census will also have to overcome other issues, such as Hispanic advocacy groups calling for illegal immigrants to boycott the census unless immigration laws are not changed. The boycott is led by the National Coalition of Latino Clergy & Christian Leaders, a group claiming to represent 20,000 evangelical churches in 34 states.

Senate Bill Moves Forward : Immigration Law Answers Blog

Posted on June 26, 2007 by Robert A. Kraft

The Senate voted Tuesday to start debate again on the immigration reform bill. The vote was 64-35 to revive the bill. It still faces hurdles in the Senate, and perhaps even greater hurdles in the House.

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The Bush Administration Cracks Down On Immigration : Immigration Law Answers Blog

The Bush administration announced plans today to crack down on illegal immigration in several ways. MSNBC.com is one of the many media outlets reporting the basics of the new policies. Here are excerpts from their article:

The latest measures mainly involve tighter enforcement of existing laws – posing a challenge to the many US employers now reliant on migrant workers.

“The message we are conveying today is pretty simple: we are serious about immigration enforcement,” said Michael Chertoff, the homeland security secretary.

Mr Bush made immigration reform a priority of his second term, backing bipartisan legislation that aimed to strengthen border security while offering a path to citizenship for the estimated 12m illegal immigrants already in the US.

But the bill collapsed in June amid fierce opposition from grassroots Republicans, who accused Mr Bush of offering an amnesty to those who entered the US illegally.

The measures announced on Friday reflected the pressure on Mr Bush to get tough on the highly charged issue of illegal immigration.

The White House acknowledged there was little chance of Congress passing immigration legislation in the foreseeable future. “Until Congress chooses to act, we’re going to be taking some energetic steps of our own,” said Mr Chertoff.

One rule proposed on Friday would mandate employers to sack workers unable to verify their legal status within 90 days. Employers who failed to comply would face possible criminal fines and sanctions. “We’re going to continue to clamp down on employers who knowingly and wilfully violate the laws,” said Mr Chertoff.

Carlos Gutierrez, the commerce secretary, promised to streamline existing visa rules to help industries, such as agriculture and hospitality, that rely on migrant labour. “We will use every available tool to provide America’s farmers, ranchers and small businesses with a legal workforce, to stay in business and keep our economy strong,” he said.

Edward Kennedy, the Democratic senator who helped craft the failed immigration bill, said the proposals were no substitute for comprehensive reform.

“Without strong new laws, the administration’s plan will do little to enhance our security and will hurt millions of immigrant families who are contributing so much to our communities and our economy,” he said.

Chuck Grassley, a Republican senator who opposed the bill, said the measures were not tough enough. “I won’t be happy until I see action that’s more than just a press conference and words on a piece of paper.”

Immigration Reform Is Apparently Dead : Immigration Law Answers Blog

A procedural vote in the Senate on the comprehensive immigration reform bill fell far short of passing today. The result is that the bill is probably dead for now, and likely won’t return until the year 2009 — after the November 2008 elections. At that time we will have a new President and probably a number of new Senators.

The bill was killed mostly by Republican senators worried about re-election. Their concern of appearing to be weak on illegal immigration assures we will continue with the status quo, which is essentially ignoring the illegals.

The irony of the situation is that by refusing to deal with the immigration crisis, the senators have not only guaranteed that things will continue to get worse, but they have also probably galvanized Latino citizens and ensured organized opposition to their own re-elections.

Passports : Immigration Law Answers Blog

Parade.com has an interesting story about U.S. passports, and the ease with which they can be fraudulently obtained. This is apparently a big problem, and should be addressed as soon as possible by the government. Here are excerpts from the article: 

Alarmed by a government report revealing how easy it is to obtain a fraudulent passport in the United States, lawmakers are calling for changes to the system. “A U.S. passport is a key to virtually anywhere in the world,” says Sen. Jon Kyl (R., Ariz.). A recent report from the Government Accountability Office showed that an undercover investigator was able to procure four U.S. passports by using fraudulent documents.

Says Laura Tischler, a spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State, “The report says we need to do more, and we are doing more.” The State Department recently gained access to the Social Security Administration’s master file of deceased persons to ensure that criminals won’t steal those identities. It is also improving oversight of the passport system and seeking access to state databases so that officials can confirm the validity of drivers’ licenses and other documentation.

The Controversy Surrounding The Real ID Act : Immigration Law Answers Blog

Following the terrorist attacks of 9/11, several controversial laws were enacted in order to prevent future acts of terrorism. One of these laws was the Real ID Act, which was passed in May 2005. This law was enacted in order to establish national standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards as well as to make it extremely difficult for terrorists to use immigration laws to their advantage.

Currently, forms of identification, such as driver’s licenses, are issued by the states, not by the federal government. States set the rules for what data is found on any identification card, and the states also maintain databases of ID card holders.

Beginning on May 11, 2008, however, a federal agency will not be able to accept any identification card issued by a state unless it meets certain requirements. Most of these requirements are already used by the states. The main source of controversy regarding the Real ID Act is the fact that in order to obtain any state issued ID card the applicant must show that he or she is lawfully present in the United States. States will also be required to collect a variety of data including name, home address, Social Security number and other identifying information, and to keep it this information in a shared database accessible to all states and the federal government. In addition, if a state does not comply with the requirements of the act, it will not be able to receive any sort of federal funding.

This requirement will make it impossible for those who are in the U.S. without any legal immigration status to obtain a state issued identification card. Without this card, a person will be unable to obtain automobile insurance, travel on any airline, apply for Social Security, or even enter federal buildings.

The Real ID Act also contains provisions in order to prevent terrorists from using the asylum process in order to reside in the United States. The Act sets forth a more rigorous standard that will make it more difficult for an applicant to be granted asylum. Furthermore, the Real ID Act provides that an alien who contributes funds or other materials to support a terrorist organization is inadmissible and deportable unless he did not know, and should not have known, that he was helping a terrorist organization.

Congress estimated that the costs of implementing the Real ID Act would be approximately $100 million. New studies, however, suggest that states will incur costs of more than $11 billion in order to meet the requirements set forth by the Act.

Many of those in favor of immigration feel that these new rules put unreasonable burdens on aliens trying to prove they are escaping from persecution, and unnecessarily broaden the definition of terrorist activity such that many will suffer “guilt by association” even if they don’t support terrorism. In the end, most feel that the burdens, costs and legality of the Real ID Act outweigh any potential benefit that would result from its enforcement.

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