The Week in Immigration News
Every Friday, TWI will highlight the week’s top immigration news, focusing on the issues that affect immigration policy debates in Washington. Here is the first weekly roundup:
-Mexican federal police officers and the U.S. Border Patrol are working together for the first time to crack down on cross-border violence, drug trafficking and immigration. While the operation will be working on enforcement in the Arizona-Mexico region, the initiative is likely to expand to other regions. Both the U.S. and Mexican governments hope the initiative will lead to the creation of a Mexican border patrol.
-Passed by the Arizona Senate on Monday, a new bill could drastically change immigration law in the state. The bill would allow illegal immigrants to be charged with trespassing and prohibit state and local governments from adopting policies that restrict the enforcement of immigration laws. It targets day laborers by making it illegal for someone to enter a vehicle stopped on the street and penalizing drivers attempting to hire day laborers if they impede traffic. It would also require police to make a “reasonable attempt” to determine someone’s immigration status. Read more about the bill here.
-Private prison companies and a growing pool of attorneys and marshals are profiting — via taxpayer money — from the detention of undocumented immigrants in the same prisons where mistreatment and death have been known to occur.
-A recent legal settlement has exposed the realities of many of the federal guest workers in a program known as H2B. Superior Forestry Services, which hired workers from Mexico and Central America to plant pine trees in the Southeast, agreed to pay $2.75 million for unpaid wages and pledged compliance with the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act and Fair Labor Standards Act. H2B workers, aside from wage theft, have experienced mistreatment, exploitation and lack of proper working gear.
-Another lawsuit has hit “America’s Toughest Sheriff” Joe Arpaio and the Maricopa County’s Sheriff’s Office, this time by a former undocumented worker detained in a raid. She accuses the sheriff’s office of mistreatment and negligence while she was being detained and during her three-month detention. The lawsuit is just one of the many already facing Arpaio, who is under a criminal grand jury investigation for abuse of power, but just last week, he announced his plans to train 881 of his deputies to enforce immigration laws.
-Yesterday, Idaho’s House State Affairs Committee killed Republican state Rep. Phil Hart’s anti-immigration bill, which focused on punishing employers for knowingly hiring illegal immigrants. The bill had already been met with opposition by farmers, businesses and other groups.
-As of November 2009, 3,369,455 family-based applicants — people who have a relative who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident — were on the waiting list for immigrant visas. The number of employment-seeking applicants was 130,509. Because the United States will issue no more than 226,000 family-based visas and about 150,000 employment-based visas in 2010, the wait could be years long for most applicants. Mexico, the Philippines, China, India and Vietnam lead with the highest number of applicants.