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No Executive Action on Immigration Overhaul for Now

President Obama has no plans to enact unilateral immigration overhaul by executive action, faith leaders from across the country said Obama told them today.

“We did not discuss the need; we did not bring up the issue of the president doing unilateral action,” Luis Cortes, president of Esperanza, a nonprofit law office serving immigrants, said at a news briefing after the Washington meeting.

“We felt it was more important that Congress take action at this time.”

Obama had asked the director of Homeland Security to look at ways to reduce the number of people deported for entering the United States without documentation.

But White House press secretary Jay Carney says that is different from implementing immigration overhaul on his own.

The Department of Homeland Security is now performing a “review of practices and implantation of enforcement guidelines.” In other words, the administration is trying to obey the law and still rid the president of a title recently given him by Hispanic leaders, “Deporter in Chief.”

As for his changing immigration law, Carney said that is a nonstarter.

“I think the president believes that there is an opportunity that still exists for House Republicans to follow the lead of the Senate, including Republicans in the Senate, and take up and pass comprehensive immigration reform,” Carney said at today’s press briefing. “And today’s meeting that the president had with faith leaders demonstrates and reinforces the fact that there is a broad, unusually broad, coalition that supports that effort, that supports comprehensive immigration reform and all the benefits that making reform the law would provide to the country, to our security, to

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our economy, to our businesses.

“I think it highlights the isolation that House Republicans find themselves in when so many, not just politicians or advocacy leaders, but folks across the country support doing the right thing here and the irony, of course, is that there is a really strong conservative argument to be made on behalf of comprehensive immigration reform,” he said.

In a series of meetings in the past few months, Obama has met with immigration reform activists and leaders on the topic, hoping to gain their support to pressure House republicans into action.

Today’s meeting with religious leaders was in hopes of gaining their support and influence in pushing Republicans in the House to act.

“While the DACA action that was taken through executive order has been helpful, it was not the ultimate solution,” Noel Castellanos, CEO of the Christian Community Development Association, said of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. “We were here to talk about that ultimate solution … we need to have Congress work.”

DACA is executive action

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by the president

that affects so-called Dreamers, children who arrive in the United States without documentation, and allows them to stay without fear of deportation.

The six faith leaders who met with the president today emphasized the agreement on the issue of immigration overhaul.

“For the first time we have in this country the entire religious community, Muslim Jewish, Christian, Baha’i .. all the major denominations and churches and religious bodies of this country believe that it is a moral imperative that we get immigration reform done,” Cortes said. “It is the first and only political issue in this country where we all agree.”

During today’s meeting, the president stressed, according to a statement from the White House, “the importance of taking action to pass common sense immigration reform.”

“While his Administration can take steps to better enforce and administer immigration laws, nothing can replace the certainty of legislative reform and this permanent solution can only be achieved by Congress,” Obama emphasized, according to the statement.

Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission for the Southern Baptist Convention, said after the meeting, “I disagree with the president on many things, including life, marriage, religious liberty, HHS mandate; this is one of those issues that isn’t a red state, blue state divide.

“Most people agree, across the religious spectrum and across the political spectrum that our immigration system is broken so we need to have a system that respects the rule of law, secures the border and finds a way forward for this country.”

It has been more than nine months since the Senate passed its comprehensive immigration overhaul bill, and in that time the House has done little. It did release a set of immigration principles in January, but those seemed to stop at their introduction.

 

Sources

Do Illegal Immigrants Actually Hurt the U.S. Economy?

Earlier this month I met Pedro Chan at his small apartment above an evangelical church in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park neighborhood. Chan, who shares the place with three others, is short and muscular. He has a quiet voice and a patient demeanor that seems to have served him well on his journey to New York. In 2002, he left his Guatemalan village for a long trip through Mexico and, with the help of a smuggler, across the Texas border. In 2004, he made it to Brooklyn, where his uncle helped him find work on small construction crews.

These days, Chan helps skilled (and fully documented) carpenters, electricians and stucco installers do their jobs by carrying heavy things and cleaning the work site. For this, he earns up to $25,000 a year, which is considerably less than the average entry wage for New York City’s 100,000 or so documented construction workers. Chan’s boss, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that unless he learned a specialized skill, Chan would never be able to move up the income ladder. As long as there are thousands of undocumented workers competing for low-end jobs, salaries are more likely to fall than to rise.

As best online canada pharmacy Congress debates the contours of immigration reform, many arguments have been made on economic grounds. Undocumented workers, some suggest, undercut wages and take jobs that would otherwise go to Americans. Worse, the argument goes, many use social programs, like hospitals and schools, that cost taxpayers and add to our $16 trillion national debt. Would deporting Pedro Chan and the other 11 million or so undocumented workers mean more jobs, lower taxes and a stronger economy?

Illegal immigration does have some undeniably negative economic effects. Similarly skilled native-born workers are faced with a choice of either accepting lower pay or not working in the field at all. Labor economists have concluded that undocumented workers have lowered the wages of U.S. adults without a high-school diploma — 25 million of them — by anywhere between 0.4 canada safeway pharmacy to 7.4 percent.

The impact on everyone else, though, is surprisingly positive. Giovanni Peri, an economist at the University of California, Davis, has

written a series of influential papers comparing the labor markets in states with high immigration levels to those with low ones. He concluded that undocumented

workers do not compete

with skilled laborers — instead, they complement them. Economies, as Adam Smith argued in “Wealth of Nations,” work best when workers become specialized and divide up tasks among themselves. Pedro Chan’s ability to take care of routine tasks on a work site allows carpenters and electricians to focus on what they do best. In states with more undocumented immigrants, Peri said, skilled workers made more money and worked more hours; the economy’s productivity grew. From 1990 to 2007, undocumented workers increased legal workers’ pay in complementary jobs by up to 10 percent.

I saw this in action when Chan took me to his current work site, a two-story office building on Coney Island Avenue. The skilled workers had already installed wood flooring in a lawyer’s office and were off to the next job site. That left Chan to clean up the debris and to install a new toilet. As I looked around, I could see how we were on one end of

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an economic chain reaction. Chan’s boss no longer had to pay a highly skilled worker to perform basic tasks. That lowered the overall cost of construction, increasing the number of jobs the company could book, which meant more customers and more money. It reminded me of how so many restaurants operate. Without undocumented labor performing routine tasks, meals, which factor labor costs into the price, would be more expensive. There would also be fewer jobs for waiters and chefs.

Earlier that day, I was reminded of another seldom-discussed fact about immigrant life in the United States. Immigrants spend most of the money they make. Chan had broken down his monthly expenses: $400 a month in rent, another $30 or so for gas, electric and Internet. He sends some money home and tries to save a few thousand a year in his Citibank account, but he ends up spending more than $10,000 annually. That includes the $1,400 or so he pays the I.R.S. so that he can have a taxpayer I.D. number, which allows him to have a credit score so that he can rent an apartment or lease a car.

There are many ways to debate immigration, but when it comes to economics, there isn’t much of a debate at all. Nearly all economists, of all political persuasions, agree that immigrants — those here legally or not — benefit the overall economy. “That is not controversial,” Heidi Shierholz, an economist at the Economic Policy Institute, told me. Shierholz also said that “there is a consensus that, on average, the incomes of families in this country are increased by a small, but clearly positive amount, because of immigration.”

The benefit multiplies over the long haul. As the baby boomers retire, the post-boom generation’s burden to finance their retirement is greatly alleviated by undocumented immigrants. Stephen Goss, chief actuary for the Social Security Administration, told me that undocumented workers contribute about $15 billion a year to Social Security through payroll taxes. They only take out $1 billion (very few undocumented viagra pharmacy prices workers are eligible to receive benefits). Over the years, undocumented workers have contributed up to $300 billion, or nearly 10 percent, of the $2.7 trillion Social Security Trust Fund.

The problem, though, is that undocumented workers are not evenly distributed. In areas like southern Texas and Arizona and even parts of Brooklyn, undocumented immigrants impose a substantial net cost to local and state governments, Shierholz says. Immigrants use public assistance, medical care and schools. Some immigrant neighborhoods have particularly high crime rates. Jared Bernstein, a fellow at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, told me that these are also areas in which low-educated workers are most likely to face stiff competition from immigrants. It’s no wonder why so much political furor comes from these regions.

Undocumented workers represent a list of pharmacy school in canada classic economic challenge with a fairly straightforward solution. Immigrants bring diffuse and hard-to-see benefits to average Americans while imposing more tangible costs on a few, Shierholz says. The dollar value of the benefits far outweigh the costs, so the government could just transfer extra funds to those local populations that need more help. One common proposal would grant amnesty to undocumented workers, which would create a sudden increase in tax payments. Simultaneously, the federal government could apply a percentage of those increased revenues to meaning of cialis commercial local governments.

But that, of course, seems politically improbable. Immigration is one of many problems — like another economic no-brainer: eliminating farm subsidies — in which broad economic benefits battle against a smaller, concentrated cost in one area. As immigration reform seems more likely than at any time in recent memory, it’s important to remember that it is not the economic realities that have changed. It’s the political ones.

 

Adam Davidson is co-founder of NPR’s “Planet Money,” a podcast and blog.

Source

Former Immigration Officer, Mai Nhu Nguyen Gets 30 Months for Seeking Cash and Egg Rolls from Immigrant Applicants

An immigration service officer who accepted bribes of thousands of dollars and hundreds of egg rolls from people seeking citizenship and resident status was sentenced Monday to 30 months in federal prison, according to government officials.
United States District Court Judge Josephine L. Staton handed that term down to Mai Nhu Nguyen, 48, of Irvine, who worked eight years in the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)

office in Santa Ana before she was placed on leave.

From 2011 through June 2013, Nguyen solicited and took bribes from Vietnamese immigrants. The more than 200 egg rolls were solicited from an applicant obtaining citizenship who was directed to

bring the appetizers to a USCIS office party in Santa Ana, according to a three-count indictment.

An applicant seeking legal residency was told to go to Quang Minh market in Little Saigon, purchase a fish sauce package and place an envelope containing $1,000 in

the bag, reads the indictment. When the woman complied, Nguyen walked up in

the Brookhurst Avenue-facing parking lot; said, “It’s me”; grabbed the package; drove away; and later approved the application, according to prosecutors.

It was after another Vietnam native told investigators that Nguyen had demanded $3,000 to approve her application that a joint FBI-Department of Homeland Security operation gave the applicant cash and a body wire.

Investigators watched as she met Nguyen in the immigration agency’s parking lot. She took the money inside her vehicle, said she might want more to approve the application, exited to return to her office–and was then surrounded by the undercover agents.

In a crowded immigration court, seven minutes to decide a family’s future

His courtroom rarely came to order, and by now the judge had decided it was a waste of time to try. Interpreters explained legalese in three languages.

Adults squeezed into crowded seats while children crouched in the center aisle. A court official stood near the doorway and worried about the building’s fire code. “Por favor,” he said in halting Spanish, as another family tried to enter. “No mas.”

Judge Lawrence Burman sat quietly in front of the chaos, adjusting his reading glasses and sifting through a stack of files on his bench. He had 26 cases listed on his morning docket in Arlington Immigration Court — 26 decisions to make before lunchtime about the complicated future of undocumented immigrants in the United States.

“The rocket docket” is what lawyers had begun calling this schedule, warning clients that their future could be decided in the time it took to walk to the restroom and back.

“Next,” Burman announced. “Let’s go. Busy day.”

At a time when Congress and President Obama have signaled an increased willingness to reform the immigration system, they insist on urgency by repeating a series of skyrocketing numbers: 11.7 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, at least 50,000 more trying to enter every month, 21,000 agents patrolling the borders, $18 billion spent each year on enforcement and about 1,000 people deported each day.

 

The State of U.S. Immigration
State of U.S. Immigration

 

In Burman’s courtroom, the urgent number on this January morning was smaller but just as daunting. He had an average of seven minutes per case.

While Congress and the White House make promises about the future of undocumented immigrants, this is the place where decisions must be made — day after day, case after case, in one of the 57 overwhelmed immigration courts across the country. Here, on the second floor of a high rise in Crystal City, tissue boxes are stacked near the courtroom entrance and attorneys push rolling file cabinets, because a briefcase is no longer sufficient to hold caseloads that have tripled in the past decade.

Undocumented immigrants try to prove they deserve to remain in America by bringing their versions of America with them to court: wives carrying family photo albums; babies wrapped in American flag blankets; pastors, bosses, neighbors and community soccer teams, all of whom fill the courthouse and sometimes kneel in the hallways to chant or to pray.

“Somos Americanos,” one group said. We are Americans.

Now Burman looked at his docket and called up a case: Mario Iraheta, 36, father of three, citizen of El Salvador, longtime resident of the United States. For Iraheta, the future of immigration reform was not about Congress, or Obama, or two political parties positioning for a presidential election in 2016. It was about the next seven minutes.

“Court is in session,” Burman said.

An empty seat

Iraheta’s seat in the courtroom remained empty. A clerk turned on a television near the prosecutor’s table, and up came a video feed to a detention facility in Farmville, Va. Suddenly Iraheta appeared on screen, his hair still wet from the shower, in a room 165 miles away.

This was the latest symptom of a deportation system backlogged with 350,000 cases. Since the government often lacks the time and the resources to transport detained immigrants, they often attend their hearings remotely.

“Farmville, Room 294, can you hear us?” a court interpreter asked. The screen seemed to freeze. The court took a short recess while a technician fixed the video feed. As the recess continued, Iraheta’s wife, Maria, and two sons stood up in the second row of the courtroom and walked toward the video screen. “There he is!” said Dylan, 9, an American citizen, tugging at his mother’s shirt. They stood within view of the camera so Iraheta could see them. “Oh, God,” Iraheta said, wiping his eyes as they smiled and waved. “You came. Thank you.”

He had not seen all of them together for seven months, since he got into his car to drive to his sister’s house for a Sunday barbecue and was pulled over by police for drinking and driving, a mistake that threatened to undo the life he had built in the Manassas suburbs. He had crossed into the United States illegally in 2000, and Maria had followed a year later. He worked in construction; she walked two miles each evening to wash dishes at IHOP for $8 an hour. They paid taxes, joined a church and raised three kids, now 19, 15 and 9. Two months after Iraheta was apprehended and placed into deportation proceedings, his family celebrated the birth of his first granddaughter — “an honest-to-God second-generation American,” one cousin said.

For 14 years, Iraheta and Maria had shared the same bed in a small

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apartment, but now they could think of little to say. He motioned for his boys to come closer to the camera so he could study their haircuts. “You look nice,” he said. “Grown up.”

Maria wondered if she should tell him about the debts they were accumulating to the thriving deportation industry: the $300 she had paid a driver to take her to visit him in Farmville; the $25 they spent on 18-minute phone calls; the $5,000 and counting in legal fees to a succession of notaries and lawyers; the work shift she was missing now, to support him in court. He wondered if he should tell her about the nightmares he’d been having lately, in which he returned to El Salvador, got lost at the airport and was stabbed by a gang of men trying to steal his jeans.

“Today will be a new beginning for us,” he said instead. “You look beautiful. We are smiling. They will see we are a good family.”

“I hope so,” she said, now wiping her eyes, too.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “I love you.”

“I love you, too,” she said, but now the recess had ended, and Iraheta’s lawyer approached the bench.

Crimes or mistakes?

“Your Honor, we would request that you set a bond in this case,” said Ricky Malik, Iraheta’s lawyer. “My client is a longtime resident. He is not a flight risk. He would like the opportunity

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to be reunited with his family.”

“We would contend that he is a flight risk,” the prosecutor said. He reached into his case file and pulled out two court documents, criminal convictions for hit-and-runs.

Malik looked over the charges. Both were misdemeanors for property damage of less than $1,000, one from 2003 and the other from 2004. The first time, Iraheta had hit a car in a parking lot and driven away, scared that he would be deported because he didn’t have a driver’s license. The next time he had hit a car in the rain, fled, felt guilty and went to a police station a day later to fill out a report.

If Burman decided that the crimes indicated poor character — what the law refers to as “moral turpitude” — Iraheta would not only be ineligible for bond but also much more likely to be deported to El Salvador.

“These are small property incidents,” Malik said. “We would argue that these are not crimes of moral turpitude but unfortunate decisions.”

Malik knew that his argument was a long shot, but so was everything else about his job. He represented 300 undocumented immigrants from Manassas to Richmond, mostly working-class Mexicans and Central Americans who came to him after they had been apprehended and placed in deportation proceedings. His clients were not the perfect face of undocumented immigration but the complicated heart of it — not college graduates, or victims of violent crime, or active military members, or breast-feeding mothers, or “dreamers,” or members of any one of the small groups for which Obama has created patchwork immigration solutions. His clients were people like Iraheta, whose mistakes had been compounded by fear and bad luck, and whose paths to stay in the United States were as complex as they were uncertain.

“To be honest, these odds are not good,” Malik had told Iraheta’s family during an early meeting about his case. To stay in the United States, Iraheta needed to file for his case to be reopened, win bond, file for deportation relief and then win again at trial — and even that unlikely outcome would only return him back to where he started, free but undocumented. Nonetheless, Maria had borrowed money and cashed out her savings to pay Malik for a few months of work, and here he was five months later, providing representation for free, taking on what immigration lawyers called another “case of conscience.” Unlike criminal defendants, undocumented immigrants are not guaranteed a lawyer, and the 40 percent who appear in court without representation are several times more likely to be deported. Malik didn’t want a family broken apart because it couldn’t afford his billable hours.

“Your Honor, my client is not a perfect person, but he is a good person,” Malik said now, lifting his hands.

“What if it was your car that he hit?” Burman said.

“For all we know this could have been a dent, $150 in damages,” Malik said.

“Or it could have been $850,” Burman said.

He turned away from Malik and looked at Iraheta on the monitor, studying him, searching for some impression of the man on the screen.

“I have gone back and forth on this issue,” he said. “Are these crimes of moral turpitude? This is tough.”

‘Impossibly stressful’

Tough: That was his job. Tough was hearing 1,500 cases per year while federal judges decided 440. It was sharing one law clerk with other immigration judges while each federal judge had four clerks of his own. It was being scheduled to sit on the bench for 36 hours a week and listen to asylum cases that detailed people’s escapes from gangs, rapes, beheadings, human trafficking and torture; and then having to objectively ask those people for the documents, for the scars, for the proof; and then making a judgment about the character of those people, first through a video feed and then through an interpreter; and then judging the merits of their cases in the shifting landscape of

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immigration law; and finally taking a deep breath, synthesizing so much information, and rendering a lawful, smart, artful, confident decision on the spot, because the schedule allowed little time for reflection or written decisions before the next case began.

“Like doing death-penalty cases in a traffic-court setting,” one immigration judge said in testimony before Congress about the job.

Burman was known as one of the country’s best: an immigration judge since 1998, working in Los Angeles, Memphis and now Virginia, mastering the changing nuances of the law even as his caseload continued to grow. Like all immigration judges, it was his responsibility to act in some ways as a de facto lawyer for unrepresented immigrants, notifying them of possible forms of deportation relief. He was funny, kind and sometimes sarcastic. He called the rotating cast of interpreters and court security guards by their first names. Lawyers on both sides considered him fair and empathetic — a small miracle given the pressure he was under.

A group of psychiatrists surveyed immigration judges about their work in 2008 and concluded that the job was “impossibly stressful,” with burnout rates exceeding those of prison guards or physicians in busy hospitals, and since then the courtroom conditions had only worsened. The law becomes more complex each time widespread reform defaults to more piecemeal solutions. A hiring freeze has reduced 272 judges to 249, and a congressional proposal to hire 225 more stalled last year in the House. Nearly half of the

judges who are left will be eligible for retirement in the next year, which means caseloads are again expected to rise.

“The volume is constant and unrelenting,” one immigration judge wrote in a survey about job satisfaction.

“Similar to a factory assembly line,” wrote another.

“The drip-drip-drip of Chinese water torture.”

“Not enough time to think.”

“I can’t take this place anymore.”

“This job is supposed to be about doing justice. The conditions under which we work make it more and more challenging to ensure that justice is done.”

Now Burman looked beyond Malik into the courtroom benches, where Iraheta’s wife was praying, clasping her hands on her lap. What would constitute justice in this case? To grant bond and return a family to its life in the United States? Or to detain and eventually deport a man

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who had snuck into the country and then broken its laws?

Nearly 12 million undocumented immigrants in the country, and here came the same murky decision every seven minutes: Who would be allowed to stay, and who would be forced to go?

“I feel badly for the family,” Burman said, but he had made up his mind. On this day, in this court, the two car accidents counted as crimes of moral turpitude. He turned back to Malik. “Do you want to set aside a right to appeal?”

“So no bond?” Malik said.

“Yes. That is my ruling.”

‘We are out of time’

Malik looked down at his desk. The prosecutor reached for the next case file. The judge began to fill out his paperwork.

“Your Honor, I would like to simply ask for your kindness,” Iraheta said, speaking on the video screen. He had been silent until this moment, a forgotten member of his own proceeding, but now he leaned toward the camera and begged. “I need to be there to take care of my family,” he said. “Please. I know I made terrible errors and horrible mistakes. I would like to ask for your kindness.”

“I’m sorry,” Burman said. “I’ve made my ruling.”

“I promise if given the opportunity I will do everything I can and try to change in every manner possible.”

“I think it is too late for that. I’m sorry. We are out of time.”

Iraheta tried to speak faster, and then louder, but the courtroom had already returned to motion. Lawyers huddled with their clients. More families streamed in through the crowded entrance. Malik consoled Iraheta’s family in the hallway outside, explaining that he would stay detained until another hearing unless he chose to be quickly deported. Burman stretched his back and looked back down at his docket. So many cases still to decide. Seven minutes each.

“Okay,” he said. “Next.”

 

Source

As Obama returns, advocates look for executive action

Expectations are high that President Obama can move ahead with controversial executive actions now that he has returned from his vacation.

Obama’s two weeks on Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., were plagued by dual crises, in Iraq

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and in Ferguson, Mo. But his break was also something of a blackout period for news about actions the White House is weighing on immigration reform and so-called corporate “inversions,” a business maneuver companies use to reduce their tax burdens.

Obama will be in Washington for just one full week before departing on a trip to Estonia and Wales in early September to reassure NATO allies amid conflict with Russia.

Obama announced in June that he would take action on immigration “before the end of summer.”

Kamal Essaheb, an attorney at the National Immigration Law Center, pointed to Obama’s June remarks, saying the president promised to make policy consistent with American values, and “we expect him to do that when he’s back from vacation.”

“People are waiting every day to see if the president’s going to make an announcement,” he said.

Asked in a briefing if the president had received recommendations from the relevant Cabinet officials yet, White House spokesman Eric Schultz said Friday that he had no announcements and, “I’m not sure of the status of the recommendations incoming to the White House.”

 

Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), said in an interview on Friday that he expects that, now Obama is back from vacation, “there’ll be some additional consultation with members of Congress, specifically CHC, [about] what we’re looking at.”

He said nothing had been scheduled, however, adding that since Congress left for the August recess, he’s had “really no indication” of what the administration is thinking.

Another congressional proponent of immigration reform action, Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.), said before a meeting with Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson in July that the administration’s actions could affect 4 or 5 million people, a number that Schultz on Friday declined to comment on.

Gutiérrez made his prediction again on Friday, listing not only an expansion of Obama’s 2012 deferred deportation program, but measures easing restrictions that businesses and farmers say are hurting their workers.

“I think the president’s going to take action on all those levels,” Gutiérrez said. “He’s going to take broad, expansive action that the law allows him to take.”

In his district in Chicago, he

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said, “I am organizing and preparing already.”

Businesses have been pushing proposals such as giving work permits to spouses of pharmacy postgraduate study in canada workers with high-skilled job visas and freeing up green cards by not counting dependents under the cap.

Peter Muller, director of immigration policy for Intel, said the company’s lawyers had been meeting with administration lawyers.

“They’ve definitely given us signs that they are interested in

all the options that are out there in the realm of high-skilled immigration,” he said.

The issue of corporate inversions might not be so dramatic as immigration reform, but Obama could also bring the tool of executive action to bear on it.

The administration wants to discourage U.S. corporations from “inverting.” In that move, an American company merges with a foreign one based in a low-tax jurisdiction in an effort to reduce

its tax bill.

Obama said earlier this month, before leaving for vacation, that the administration is “reviewing all of our options” and wants to move “as quickly as possible.”

Frank Clemente, executive director of Americans for Tax Fairness, a group that opposes inversions, said one option is to limit a practice known as “earnings stripping,” where the U.S. company takes on debt to its new foreign parent in order to be able to deduct more in taxes.

“I pharmacy university canada am confident that the White House is looking carefully at that measure,” Clemente said.

The president is scheduled to attend an American Legion viva viagra convention on Tuesday and fundraisers on Friday but otherwise will be at the White House for meetings.

Whether any of those meetings will be about executive actions is unknown.

Read more: http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/215808-as-obama-returns-advocates-look-for-executive-action#ixzz3BS0peDIN

President Obama sounds good on immigration reform, but advocates say he seldom delivers on his promises

Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill), a fierce champion of immigration reform, is without a doubt an optimist. What is not so certain is if his optimism is based on reality.

“I believe he is going to liberate from deportation millions of undocumented who live in the U.S.,” Gutiérrez recently said in an interview with Hoy, a Spanish language Chicago newspaper, talking about the eagerly awaited announcement by President Obama on what executive actions he will take with regard to immigration.

Obama, Gutiérrez added, “will be generous,” and his actions will benefit parents of citizens, people with approved green card applications, immigrants who have lived in the U.S. many years and do not have a criminal record, and others.

Sounds good.

The problem is that, as with many other issues, Obama always sounds good but seldom acts according to his words.

Right now, while everyone is waiting for his executive actions that supposedly will provide relief to millions of immigrants, his administration has established new procedures to rush deportation hearings for the border children.

The administration’s idea is for the kids to appear before a judge within 21 days after being put into deportation proceedings. Even though the administration says the accelerated procedures will not harm legal standards, advocates think otherwise.

“We have to provide the children an opportunity to be heard and to present their claims for protection under domestic and international law,” said Lonni Benson, director of the Safe Passage Project, a New York legal services provider. But she expressed concern that the rush to process the children will make it much more difficult for them to find legal representation.

In practical terms not having legal help means the great majority of the children, even those with valid claims to refugee status, will be deported.

According to a Syracuse University report, about 90% of unaccompanied children seeking asylum without an attorney were deported. Yet, of those with legal assistance 47% were able to stay in the country.

It is, if you ask me, a strange way to help alleviate the immigration crisis.

It is also difficult, if not impossible, to know what Obama is really thinking about Cuba. Although he has insisted he would like to change the 50-year-old failed embargo policy, his actions contradict his words.

“We have to update our policy. Don’t forget that when

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Castro came to power I had just been born,” Obama said in Miami in

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November 2013.

Then, last May 12, when Uruguayan President José Mujica met in Washington with him, it was widely reported that Obama had told the South American leader that he intended to go ahead with a policy change on Cuba.

“I have two years left. This is the moment,” Obama reportedly told Mujica. However, once again, what Obama says resembles little what he does.

You all remember the “zunzuneo” disaster — also known as the Cuban twitter — a laughable, failed U.S. Agency for International Development project that, as the Associated Press revealed in April, was created to provoke dissent on the island and had, as its ultimate goal, overthrowing the Cuban government.

But amateur hour did not end there. Last week the AP also made public another dumb act in Washington’s comedy of errors also concocted by USAID. This time the idea was to change the Havana regime by secretly sending Costa Rican, Venezuelan and Peruvian young people to the island to provoke rebellion. Some of them were paid $5.40 an hour for their undercover services, which must have made them the cheapest mercenaries in the world.

A strange way to improve relations, don’t you think?

Something is clear: Taking Obama at his word is a risky business. That’s why, even though I wish Gutiérrez is right about the President’s generosity to immigrants, I wouldn’t hold my breath, just in case.

albor.ruiz@aol.com

 

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In immigration news: Reform and the primaries, the unaccompanied minors crisis, Supreme Court rules on ‘aging out,’ more

Immigration’s Primary Effect Muted – Wall Street Journal While many Republican lawmakers still shy away from embracing immigration reform, “primary season is showing that support isn’t necessarily a career-ending move, nor is opposition a clear path to the nomination. That could factor into the decision by House GOP leaders on whether to move broad immigration legislation this year.”

More undocumented children arrive in Arizona in DHS bid to relieve crowding – CNN From the story: “More than 100 undocumented children without families were expected to arrive in Arizona from south Texas on Sunday as part of

a federal transport of underage immigrants to the state by the Department of Homeland Security…Last week, nearly 1,000 ‘unaccompanied alien children’ had already arrived in Tucson and Phoenix from places like McAllen and El Paso.” Many are being held in a makeshift facility in Nogales, Arizona.

Illegal immigration: how ‘humanitarian crisis’ on border could hurt Obama

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More on the growing number of unaccompanied minors arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border, the majority of them fleeing violence and poverty in Central America. In addition to a makeshift shelter in Arizona, the federal government has opened two emergency shelters at military bases, one in Texas and

the other in Ventura County, California.

Supreme Court Rules Some Kids Must Restart Immigration Process At Age 21 – NPR The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that some immigrant children who “age out” of their parents’ pending immigration petition once they turn 21 must start the process over on their own.

Disappointed Immigration Applicants Sue Canada – New York Times More than 1,400 Chinese plaintiffs are suing the Canadian government, asking to be compensated for what they allege is a failure by Canadian authorities to process their immigrant investor applications “within the promised time frame.” The immigrant investor program was canceled

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Four Kenyan Nationals Sentenced in Marriage Fraud Conspiracy

HOUSTON – Four Kenyan nationals residing in Houston were sentenced today for marriage fraud, visa fraud and conspiracy to commit marriage fraud, . Herman Ogoti, 53, Alfonso Ongaga, 36, Andrew

Mokoro, 36, and Rebmann

Ongaga, 33, were convicted following a seven-day trial on Nov. 14, 2013. Ogoti and Alfonso Ongaga were also convicted of unlawful procurement of naturalization.

The case

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Alfonso Ongaga and Andrew Mokoro were sentenced to 16 months in federal prison, while Ogoti and Rebmann Ongaga each viagra received six-month terms. The judge also revoked the naturalization of Ogoti and generic cialis online Alfonso Ongaga, thereby stripping them of their fraudulently acquired U.S. citizenship.

According to evidence presented during the trial, the defendants conspired to recruit and pay U.S citizens to enter into fraudulent pharmacy online marriages for the purpose of receiving lawful permanent resident status or citizenship. Each of the defendants applied for student visas to enter the United States. All but Rebmann Ongaga’s was granted. After how long does it take for viagra to work his student visa was denied, Rebmann Ongaga, working with his other co-conspirators, flew a recruited U.S. citizen to Kenya to conduct a sham wedding ceremony. Several months later, Rebmann Ongaga entered the United States with a visa as the spouse of a U.S. citizen.

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Justice Trial Attorney Ashlee McFarlane prosecuted this case.

 

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Mexican immigrant fought deportation and won

SMYRNA, Tenn. — Three times, Fani Gonzalez packed a suitcase, clutched her daughters in a tearful goodbye and begged the Virgin of Guadalupe for a miracle — anything, just anything, that could keep her from being deported back to her violent home city in Mexico.

And three times, she traveled back from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Nashville to her home in Smyrna, an emotional return to her all-American life as wife, mom and top Mary Kay cosmetics sales director.

Gonzalez was coloring signs for a rally to stop her deportation in a room packed with other immigrant women doing the same when her cellphone rang. The call came from ICE headquarters in Washington. Using the director’s prosecutorial discretion, the agency would allow her to stay in the country indefinitely.

Sometimes, when the Virgin answers a prayer, it’s with a flair for the dramatic.

Gonzalez’s goal was to stay in the United States long enough for immigration reform to catch up with her status. She came here in 2009, slipping

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across the Rio Grande with no immigration paperwork, determined to improve life for her four children. Now, for the first time in four years, she believes real reform is on the way for the nation’s estimated 11.7 million undocumented immigrants — 6 million of those from Mexico, according to the Pew Research Hispanic Trends Project.

Last week, President Barack Obama urged the House of Representatives to take up a reform bill that passed the Senate in June. It would strengthen security along the nation’s borders while providing a lengthy legal path to citizenship for some undocumented immigrants already here.

Both of Tennessee’s Republican senators voted in favor of it. Rep. Jim Cooper, a Nashville Democrat, said he will support reform in the House. But it faces a tough road there.

The Senate bill goes for it all, said Brookings Institution analyst Jill Wilson. It has suffered by being compared to the Affordable Care Act, which is off to a troubled start and was nearly derailed by

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the Republicans’ tea party wing. The bill is huge, Wilson said, because voices on all sides were heard for the first time.

“The number and different types of coalitions that support it this time around is the difference, as well as the lack of strong and numerous voices against it,” she said.

“It will not go away. Worst-case scenario, immigrants just keep waiting.”

The push is empowering undocumented immigrants nationwide to announce their status in an effort to draw public support. In the past, even a name was hard to come

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by — most hid from public view and, if they were caught, slipped out of the country without drawing attention.

Gonzalez did just the opposite, bringing fellow immigrant women and sometimes a television camera to her meetings with ICE.

But in the quiet hours with family, when her home city of Monterrey is just a setting in the soap opera on the flat screen — “Porque El Amor Manda,” Because Love Rules — damage from Gonzalez’s yearlong fight is evident on the face of her youngest daughter, Ingrid Aimee, 12.

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she can answer a question about the constant threat of losing her mother. Instead, she collapses into tears.

Stopped for speeding

The Gonzalez children are protected under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. A presidential order signed by Obama last year, it allows children who had no say in being brought to the U.S. illegally to stay here.

They left Monterrey, Fani Gonzalez says, because it wasn’t realistic to believe one could safely raise children there. She’d been in the U.S. before but went home voluntarily to be closer to family.

Fani Gonzalez hugs her daughters Ingrid and Jaqueline at their home in Smyrna, Tenn.(Photo: John Partipilo, The Tennessean)

“We drove back in a truck, and when we got there, people told me, ‘Don’t drive that truck,’” she said. “I was wondering why that would be. They said, ‘You don’t know what the situation is. How the violence is. They will rob you and kill you.’ “

Her brother was kidnapped. Gangs robbed busloads of people, then lit the buses on fire. Murders on a corner near her house weren’t rare.

It became clear to Gonzalez that to make a better life for the kids, they’d have to be in America — in American schools, with American opportunities.

Her husband picked Tennessee because jobs seemed plentiful here. And so they settled in Smyrna, but then it all unraveled in a December traffic stop.

Driving home one day, Gonzalez was caught speeding. Her Mexican driver’s license had expired, said Smyrna Police Chief Kevin Arnold, and she was turned over to the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office.

Gonzalez sat for four days in the Rutherford County jail on an immigration hold, frantic about who was caring for her children. She had to wait that long for ICE officials to show up and say what to do with her. When they arrived, it was with a document to sign.

“I was thinking I would have to talk to a lawyer and all that, but when the officer told me I was going to be able to see my family, I just had to sign this document,” she said. “I thought it was something that said I had been there and I was being released.”

Instead, they told her she had a month to buy her own bus ticket back to Monterrey. She consulted with the Nashville-based Immigrant Women’s Committee at the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, who told her to go back and say she couldn’t afford a ticket right now.

ICE gave her 30 more days, but instead of bringing a ticket, she came back with a stack of letters of recommendation from people at her church — St. Ignatius of Antioch Catholic Community — and a request for prosecutorial discretion. They gave her 30 more days. She asked for an appeal. They gave her six months.

Asking for help

The women’s group never stopped helping.

Forced to keep opinions to herself in her job as a professional interpreter, Mayra Yu, the women’s committee’s co-founder, was darned if she’d sit by and watch someone get deported if she could do something to stop it. Too many times, she said, she watched friends separated from their children by deportation. Too many times she saw women become victims of domestic violence or sexual harassment, only to be asked by authorities, “What did you do?” Too many times, she wanted to yell, “Don’t sign that!” but couldn’t.

“It’s hard when you see how they suffer,” Yu said.

So she celebrated with Gonzalez when the miracle phone call came from Washington.

ICE issued a statement about it last week, couching its reasoning in official language. A thorough review of Gonzalez’s case led to the prosecutorial discretion, it said. The agency is most interested in deporting criminals, recent arrivals and those who have final deportation orders but slipped away

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from authorities.

Gonzalez’s daughters have a simpler but more heartfelt explanation.

“When my mom was gone, I missed her a lot,” Jaqueline, 14, said. “I love her a lot. I’m happy they stopped the deportation so she can stay with us.”

Fani Gonzalez said she told her story to get people to unite behind the cause of immigration reform.

“If it’s just one person, nobody notices,” she said. “If it’s 10, a few will notice. If it’s a large group, people will notice we are productive members of society. We are working here, united.”

Ingrid wants to teach math when she grows up. Jaqueline wants to teach English to those who struggle with it. Their mother wants to be here long enough to see a change in the law that would allow the whole family to achieve its American dreams.

 

Source

California Republicans Stress Immigration Support

By KEVIN FREKING Associated Press

Republican Rep. David Valadao says he’s not worried that Congress’ failure to pass immigration legislation will hurt his prospects for re-election to a district in California’s agricultural heartland. Same goes for GOP Rep. Jeff Denham, who represents a neighboring district in the state’s San Joaquin Valley.

Still, the California congressmen are making sure voters know they support an immigration overhaul. They’re aware that Democrats will try to turn the congressional gridlock into an advantage during this year’s midterm elections.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce spent $300,000 on television ads in Valadao’s district, noting that he is the son of immigrants. Denham highlights an award he received from the nation’s largest Latino advocacy group for “putting sound immigration policy over party politics.” He was the first Republican co-sponsor of a sweeping immigration bill now stalled in the House.

“People have seen I’ve shown real leadership in driving this issue forward,” Denham said.

Sounding a lot like Democrats, some Republican members of California’s congressional delegation are making the case that changing the law is necessary to help farmers and businesses and to keep families together. But they also are members of a

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party that has stifled immigration-overhaul efforts, providing a political opening for Democrats in a state where immigrants are a crucial underpinning of the economy.

A recent national survey conducted by the Pew Research Center found that about 7 in 10 Hispanics say it’s important that new immigration legislation pass this year. And a California Field Poll last year found that 9 in 10 California voters support allowing immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally to stay and become citizens if they work, learn English and pay back taxes.

Valadao, Denham and about a dozen other Republican lawmakers nationally are in districts that have a sizeable and growing Latino population. Latinos make up more than half of the registered voters in Valadao’s district and about a quarter in Denham’s.

Immigration also could play a role in a handful of open seats around the country, including those in Southern California now held by outgoing Republican Reps. Gary Miller and Buck McKeon. Latino voters make up a third of the electorate in Miller’s district, and 1 in 5 voters in McKeon’s. Democrats have made both seats a priority.

Valadao and Denham are in competitive districts and are targets for Democrats, who need to win 17 seats to win control of the House.

“My constituents understand I’ve been in the middle of it,” Valadao said. “I’ve been vocal. I’ve signed onto legislation. I continue to put pressure on the leadership.”

Democrats are questioning just how dedicated Valadao and Denham are, noting they declined to sign a petition that would have forced House

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Speaker John Boehner to schedule a vote on an immigration bill. No Republican joined the effort.

“They pay lip service to comprehensive immigration reform, but they refuse to lift a pen to sign the discharge petition to force a vote,” said Rep. Steve Israel, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Valadao’s opponents also cite his 2011 vote while he served in the state Assembly that opposed the California Dream Act, which allows immigrants in California without legal permission to get privately funded scholarships to attend the state’s public universities. Another provision allows immigrants to qualify for state financial aid to attend college.

“If there’s anything that affects the kids in the Central Valley, the undocumented dreamers in the Central Valley, it’s the California Dream Act that he opposed,” said Amanda Renteria, Valadao’s chief Democratic opponent.

Valadao spokeswoman Anna Vetter said the congressman voted against the legislation because he believes immigration is a federal issue. Further, he supports a path to citizenship for the so-called dreamers, she said.

Next week, Denham plans to introduce an amendment that would allow people to enlist in the armed forces as a way to become legal permanent residents, a move House Majority Leader Eric Cantor promises to block.

“There are those

of us who have to do a greater job of championing and being vocal on the issue,” Denham said. “My concern is that there is a very vocal minority in our conference that likes to say crazy and outlandish things that get picked up by the media.”

Denham’s leading Democratic opponent, almond farmer Michael Eggman, said it would be better for Democrats to control the House if voters want immigration reform. He said the GOP leadership will not bring up an overhaul bill unless it’s forced to, as the failed petition would have done.

“If you don’t sign the petition, you’re really not committed to immigration reform,” Eggman said.

Denham said he wants to work through the committee process while Valadao

calls the petition a stunt.

Even if the California Republicans say they support changes to immigration law, Israel said it signals a lack of effectiveness that they can’t get more Republicans to join them. Denham and Valadao counter that an immigration overhaul didn’t happen even when Democrats controlled the White House and both chambers of Congress in 2008-09.

 

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