Question and Answers

Month: June 2010

Obama Still Committed to Immigration Reform : Immigration Law Answers Blog

The primary question among immigrants, immigrant advocates, and anyone else interested in immigration reform is whether the president and congress will attempt to address comprehensive immigration reform this year. As reported in the Dallas Morning News, President Obama says he is still committed to reform, Here are excerpts from the article:

President Barack Obama on Thursday assured frustrated supporters of a promised overhaul of U.S. immigration laws that he remains committed to fixing a system he says is broken.

What remains unclear is whether Congress will send him a bill this year.

Obama said he told the senators and the advocacy groups that “my commitment to comprehensive immigration reform is unwavering, and that I will continue to be their partner in this important effort.”

The immigration issue is an important one for Obama, who has promised to work to solve problems. Hispanics voted heavily for Obama in the 2008 presidential election, making the difference in key states like Florida, and their votes will be critical in the November midterm elections. Latino voters who don’t think progress is being made on the issue may not go to the polls.

After meeting for more than an hour with Obama, immigration advocates told reporters they want Schumer and Graham to at least release their blueprint before a planned March 21 demonstration at the Capitol, with a bill introduced in the Senate soon after.

Tamar Jacoby: New Heartland Voices on Immigration : Immigration Law Answers Blog

Tamar Jacoby is president of ImmigrationWorks USA, a national federation of employers working to advance immigration reform. She recently wrote an opinion piece for the Dallas Morning News that raises interesting points. Here are excerpts:

In the years since Congress last considered an overhaul – since the bitter failures of 2006 and 2007 – a new type of immigration advocate has emerged: small-business owners.

Of course, some large U.S. businesses also rely on immigrant workers. And some employers are all too happy to take advantage of the broken immigration system – happy to hire unlawful workers, to pay them below-market wages, to exploit the fact that they can’t bargain and aren’t protected by the law.

But the lion’s share of employers who depend on immigrants are small-business owners, known and trusted in their communities, who want nothing more than to be on the right side of the law.

After all, in most cases, they’ve invested their savings in their businesses, and they have brand names to protect, often their own family names. The last thing they want, or can afford, is to have all this snatched out from under them because they’ve run afoul of the law. They need a stable, reliable, legal workforce, and they’re more than willing to pay for it.

Their message? They talk less about rights than about America’s interests, less about compassion or ideals than about the U.S. economy and national security.

Sure, they speak in part from self-interest; they all have businesses to protect. But when it comes to immigration, their interests coincide with the interests of many American workers and of the U.S. economy.

Think about how a local economy works. If an employer has to shrink or close his business because he can’t find immigrant workers, most often for the operation’s lowest- or highest-skilled slots, he’ll have to fire the Americans who fill the jobs in the middle of the skill ladder – the foreman at the dairy or packing plant, the maitre d’ in the restaurant, the marketer at the IT startup. And when the restaurant chain shrinks or the biotech firm moves across the border to Canada, that means less work for American businesses up – and downstream in the economy – less work for other local businesses and fewer jobs for Americans.

Most employers who rely on immigrant workers are looking more to the future than the past. Of course, many hope that immigration reform will legalize their current workforce. But most are even more concerned about who will man their businesses in years ahead, as increased spending and pent-up demand power the way to economic recovery.

These small business owners need a way for the workers they count on to grow their businesses to enter the country legally. They want Congress to fix the system so we don’t re-create the problem in years ahead. They know that the only way to control illegal immigration is to create a legal immigration system that works – and that this is the best way to secure our borders and restore the rule of law.

No one has more of a stake in fixing the broken immigration system than employers who rely on immigrant workers. And just because you won’t see them on TV on Sunday doesn’t mean they aren’t making their voices heard.

Supreme Court Decision Protects Right to Immigration Advice : Immigration Law Answers Blog

This press release was issued today by theAmerican Immigration Council:

The American Immigration Council applauds today’s Supreme Court decision on the right to counsel for noncitizens charged with committing a crime. The Court held that criminal defense lawyers must advise their noncitizen clients about the risk of deportation if they accept a guilty plea.  The Court recognized that current immigration laws impose harsh and mandatory deportation consequences onto criminal convictions, and that Congress eliminated from these laws the Attorney General’s discretionary authority to cancel removal in meritorious cases.  The Court said, “These changes to our immigration law have dramatically raised the stakes of a noncitizen’s criminal conviction.  The importance of accurate legal advice for noncitizens accused of crimes has never been more important.”  

The case, Padilla v. Kentucky, involved a Vietnam War veteran who has resided lawfully in the U.S. for over 40 years.  His criminal defense lawyer told him not to worry about the immigration consequences of pleading guilty to a crime, but that advice was wrong.  In fact, the guilty plea made Mr. Padilla subject to mandatory deportation from the United States.  The state of Kentucky said that Mr. Padilla had no right to withdraw his plea when he learned of the deportation consequence.  Today’s decision reverses the Kentucky court.  It also rejected the federal government’s position (which had been adopted by several courts) that a noncitizen is protected only from “affirmative misadvice” and not from a lawyer’s failure to provide any advice about the immigration consequences of a plea.

“The right to counsel is at the very core of our criminal justice system. The Court affirms that immigrants should not be held accountable when they rely on incorrect advice from their lawyers or where counsel fails to provide any immigration advice at all,” said Beth Werlin, an attorney at the American Immigration Council’s Legal Action Center. “Today’s decision also reminds us that ultimately, the increased criminalization of immigration law and lack of flexibility has resulted in harsh results. Congress should do its part to restore immigration judges’ discretion to consider the particular circumstances in a person’s case, thus affording each person facing deportation an individualized and fair opportunity to be heard.” 

For more background on this Supreme Court’s decision, read the Legal Action Center’s blog post.

© 2022 Immigration Law

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑