The Week in Immigration News
Friday, March 26, 2010 at 3:00 pm
- The Obama administration is working toward immigration reform, according to Janet Napolitano, secretary of Department of Homeland Security. Napolitano told an audience yesterday at Arizona State University: “We’re going to keep pushing this until we get it over the finish line,” according to The Arizona Republic. The paper wrote: “Napolitano emphasized that the United States has a sovereign right to secure its borders, and she touted a nearly 20 percent increase in the deportation rate of criminal illegal immigrants since President Barack Obama took office. She added, however, that America also needs an immigration system that upholds ideals of fairness and openness. ‘What I cannot tell you is the when,’ Napolitano said.”
- Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-Calif.) staff said she supports immigration reform and would be happy to meet with organizers of the pro-reform rally held in front of her office Wednesday night. “Sen. Feinstein is well on the record as saying she supports comprehensive immigration reform,” Gil Duran, her spokesman, told The San Francisco Chronicle. Duran also had this direct message to the organizers of Wednesday’s rally: “We appreciate them keeping it at the forefront.”
- More than 200,000 demonstrators gathered on the National Mall Sunday to advocate for comprehensive immigration reform. “March for America” drew organizations and activists from around the country, as well as lawmakers, to gather and show their support for immigration legislation.
- The Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, an Arizona-based group which follows the national Minuteman movement, dissolved earlier this week after group president Carmen Mercer said she feared the group’s “call to action” would threaten its existence. Last week, Mercer e-mailed their members asking them to go to the border “locked, loaded and ready.” The Arizona Daily Star reports: “Mercer said she received a more feverish response than she expected — 350 personal e-mails she said — and decided the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps couldn’t shoulder the responsibility and liability of what could occur, she said. ‘People are ready to come lock and loaded and that’s not what we are all about,’ Mercer said. ‘It only takes one bad apple to destroy everything we’ve done for the last eight years.’” The Minuteman Civil Defense Corps PAC, the political arm of the organization, will continue its operations.
- A federal judge ruled Wednesday that the city of Farmers Branch, Texas violated the constitution with an ordinance banning illegal immigrants from renting housing. U.S. District Judge Jane Boyle, of Dallas, ruled that Ordinance 2952 was an attempt to enforce U.S. immigration laws, something under the federal government’s jurisdiction. Tim O’Hare, the city’s mayor, said the City Council would have to decide whether to continue the fight — it has already cost Farmers Branch about $3.2 million since 2006. In the past four years, the city has proposed a series of ordinances that would make it illegal for landlords to rent to illegal immigrants. Read more here.
- A Justice Department immigration board ruled that a Mexican national and former federal drug informant cannot be deported to Mexico because he would be not be safe. They concluded that he would be tortured either by government agents or by those involved in the cartel. Guillermo “Lalo” Ramirez Peyro had informed the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement of homicides by a cartel he witnessed and recorded in Ciudad Juarez. Peyro had been a police officer before the 2004 homicides. The ruling, though, could be overturned if the Mexican government shows improvement controlling drug and cartel violence.
- The Federation of American Immigration Reform (FAIR), an anti-illegal immigration organization, released a report this week outlining how illegal immigration and amnesty has hurt the American working class. According to the study, the 1986 immigration reform cost the U.S. $78.7 billion over 10 years and promoted an “unprecedented” rise in illegal immigration,” that hurt working class Americans — with whom illegal immigrants compete for jobs. The report states: “The influx of uneducated, unskilled illegal alien workers has created a massive labor surplus at the lower end of the labor market…There are many out-of-work Americans who want and need the jobs now being held by illegal aliens. Illegal aliens are doing work not just that American[s] will do but that Americans are doing.” Immigration Impact refutes much of the study here.
- Mary Rose Wilcox, Maricopa County (Ariz.) supervisor, called for Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s indictment when about 20 people protested outside of the Department of Justice on Monday to demand that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder stop ignoring criticisms and lawsuits against Arpaio. Here’s a video of Wilcox’s speech (h/t Phoenix Business Journal). Arpaio critic and activist Salvador Reza and the Arizona Puente Human Rights Caravan attended the immigration rally Sunday and asked to speak with Holder. Arpaio told AZ/DC that “he hopes Reza returns to Arizona soon because he said he misses Reza demonstrating outside his office building in downtown Phoenix. ‘While he’s out there protesting, I’m enforcing the law,’ Arpaio said of Reza.”
- This week, HBO aired the premiere of a documentary on the 2007 fight for immigration reform in the Senate, focusing on the now late Sen. Ted Kennedy’s struggle to find Republican and Democratic support for comprehensive immigration reform. The documentary, “The Senator’s Bargain,” is “the centerpiece of a decade-long project undertaken by [the filmmakers] to delve methodically into the legislative process,” reports New American Media.
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