American Legion shoots down idea to tie immigration to military service

April 16, 2014

Hundreds of thousands of immigrants 2 participate in march for Immigrants and Mexicans protesting against Illegal Immigration reform by U.S. Congress, Los Angeles, CA, May 1, 2006The Washington Times, 4/15/14

The American Legion says it is opposed to trying to tie immigration into the annual defense policy debate, calling it an unacceptable “amnesty” and dealing a serious blow to Republicans desperate to pass some sort of legalization of illegal immigrants ahead of November’s elections.

Several Republicans say they want to attach a small legalization that would grant an explicit chance at citizenship to young illegal immigrants willing to join the military.

But immigration is so combustible as an issue that some defense advocates fear that adding a legalization provision to the National Defense Authorization Act could imperil the rest of the critical work in the defense bill, which sets troop and equipment levels, oversees detainee policy and settles hundreds of other important military issues.

“The NDAA needs to stand alone, and I think attaching an issue as contentious and complex as immigration and recruitment policy would only stall the NDAA,” said John Stovall, director of the American Legion’s national security division. “Immigration policy needs to be debated on its own outside the debate of NDAA.”

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House Democrats need 27 signatures to force vote on comprehensive immigration reform bill

April 16, 2014

shutterstock_93480406The Washington Post, 5/15/14

House Democrats are renewing their push for a vote on a proposed comprehensive immigration reform package, vowing Tuesday to refocus efforts on pressuring Republicans to sign onto a discharge petition that would force a vote on the legislation.

The immigration reform push is the third recent attempt by Republicans to leverage a discharge petition — a procedural tactic that allows the majority of House members to supersede the will of the House leadership and bring a bill to the floor — in an attempt to force a vote on a piece of legislation that they support.

House Democrats say they currently have 191 signatures — all Democrats — on the petition, and that they will recommit to pressure Republican lawmakers who have said previously that they would support comprehensive immigration reform. The petition must get 218 signatures to force a vote on the legislation.

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Should Obama use the power of his pen to turn the tide on immigration reform?

April 16, 2014

Barack_Obama_being_briefed_on_swine_flu_oubreak_4-29CNN, 4/15/14

Immigration champion Rep. Luis Gutierrez feels confident that President Barack Obama will use his executive powers to push through reform. House Speaker John Boehner feels confident that doing so will tank what little support the President has among Republicans on immigration reform.

They’re both right, immigration law experts say. After pushback from immigration activists and some members of his party, the President has directed his administration to reexamine its deportation policy. The administration could shift noncriminals and minor offenders to the lowest deportation priorities.

“I think the President has a difficult decision to make here,” said Stephen Yale-Loehr, a professor at Cornell University Law School. “The courts have upheld wide discretion on immigration matters. He could make noncriminals the lowest deportation priorities. … But there is a penalty he could pay through using executive action rather than waiting for Congress to act on immigration reform.”

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Democrat Says Immigration Reform Has Stalled Because Of GOP ‘Racism’

April 15, 2014

Obama-immigration-reformFox News Latino, 4/14/14

A lawmaker who heads a House committee to elect Democrats blamed the country’s failure to pass immigration reform on Republican “racism.” Rep. Steve Israel’s comments are in line with those from House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi earlier this week, in which she blamed racial issues for the GOP’s failure to act on comprehensive immigration legislation. Asked about Pelosi’s comments, New York’s Israel said he agreed with her assessment.

“To a significant extent, the Republican base does have elements that are animated by racism. And that’s unfortunate,” said Israel, who heads the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Frustration is mounting among the House’s Democratic minority and immigration activists about Republicans’ refusal to act on a far-reaching immigration bill passed by the Senate last year. The Senate bill would provide a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million immigrants living in the country illegally and tighten border security.

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Why Rand Paul didn’t really blast Jeb Bush on immigration

April 15, 2014

Photo by Flickr user jcolman

The Christian Science Monitor, 4/13/134

When potential presidential hopeful Jeb Bush said last weekend that illegal immigration was not a felony, but instead often an “act of love,” he was surely braced for the blowback from conservatives. And it has come. But on Sunday, the latest rebuke was among the gentlest, and that could suggest that the entire tone of the conversation will change next year.

Speaking to ABC News on Sunday, Sen. Rand Paul (R) of Kentucky said Mr. Bush “might have been more artful, maybe, in the way he presented this,” adding that the problem with Bush’s views are that “we can’t invite the whole world.”

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Massachusetts’ clever immigration reform workaround

April 14, 2014

people waiting - out of focusFortune, 4/14/14

In America’s battle to keep the foreign entrepreneurs it trains, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has thrown down a massive gauntlet.

Announcing a broad economic growth package last week, Deval introduced what he’s dubbed the Global Entrepreneur in Residence (GER) Program. The proposal: foreign students who attended colleges and universities in Massachusetts and are interested in staying in the state as entrepreneurs can apply to enroll in the GER program that will be administered by the Massachusetts Tech Collaborative, an independent state agency aimed at developing technology in Massachusetts. Mass Tech will then place selected individuals at participating public and private universities in the state, where they will work part-time and apply for visas that will be sponsored by their new employers.

The GER program is one way Massachusetts can “accelerate [its] job and wealth creation,” Patrick, a Democrat, said in a statement. Greg Bialecki, Patrick’s secretary of housing and economic development, told Fortune on Friday that “the drive behind this idea was international students who’ve come to Massachusetts; they’ve spent their school years here and want to stay here.” At present, there are 46,000 foreign college students enrolled at institutions in Massachusetts, he says.

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Hoping for Asylum, Migrants Strain U.S. Border

April 14, 2014

Photo by Flickr user °Florian

NY Times, 4/10/14

After six years of steep declines across the Southwest, illegal crossings have soared in South Texas while remaining low elsewhere. The Border Patrol made more than 90,700 apprehensions in the Rio Grande Valley in the past six months, a 69 percent increase over last year.

The migrants are no longer primarily Mexican laborers. Instead they are Central Americans, including many families with small children and youngsters without their parents, who risk a danger-filled journey across Mexico. Driven out by deepening poverty but also by rampant gang violence, increasing numbers of migrants caught here seek asylum, setting off lengthy legal procedures to determine whether they qualify.

The new migrant flow, largely from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, is straining resources and confounding Obama administration security strategies that work effectively in other regions. It is further complicating President Obama’s uphill push on immigration, fueling Republican arguments for more border security before any overhaul.

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Last chance for US immigration reform

April 14, 2014

shutterstock_52513291The Financial Times, 4/13/14

Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida, hit the right note earlier this month by stating that it was an “act of love” to move to the US – even if done so illegally. Given the depth of Tea Party hostility to providing “amnesty” to America’s 11m undocumented immigrants, it was also a brave thing to say. Mr Bush’s presidential ambitions will almost certainly suffer. Tea Party Republicans oppose immigration reform because they want to deny President Barack Obama any legislative victory, even if it means inflicting harm on their own party.

Mr Bush sees the bigger picture. It is not too late for Republicans to take his cue. There are perhaps two months left before Congress goes into full campaign mode for November’s midterm polls. It is time enough for Republicans to enact an overhaul. The credit would be widely shared by both parties.

The biggest stumbling block is the notion of “amnesty”, which is neither fair nor accurate. Under the bill passed in the US Senate, with some Republican support, the best that illegal immigrants could hope for is citizenship within 13 years. Even then, they would have to admit culpability, pay back taxes, learn English and join the back of the queue for citizenship. This is not amnesty. It is a stringent “pathway to citizenship” that would uphold the rule of law.

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Majority of migrants deported from US young Mexican men, figures show

April 11, 2014

mexican immigrantThe Guardian, 04/11/14

Most of the undocumented people deported from the United States last year were young Mexican men, according to a new study. Mexican nationals comprised 65.5% of the 368,644 deportees, and of them the vast majority were men in their twenties and thirties, said the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, a data research organisation at Syracuse University. The figure, based on data obtained from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, showed a more detailed picture than government numbers and shined a fresh light on the Obama administration’s deportation policies. Almost all of the deportees, 93%, were male. Almost four in five, 279,270, were aged between 20 and 39.

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Hillary Clinton Confronts Silicon Valley On Income Disparity, Immigration Reform

April 9, 2014

Hillary ClintonThe Huffington Post, 4/8/14

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is pressing Silicon Valley technology leaders to take a stand on income inequality and immigration reform, calling on companies to invest in training programs and look at public and private solutions to the area’s growing wealth gap.

Clinton, on a swing of West Coast speaking engagements, spoke Tuesday at theMarketing Nation Summit, an annual conference hosted in downtown San Francisco by Marketo, a company that develops cloud-based marketing software.

Following a keynote address that covered topics that included the Ukraine crisis and the power of social media, Clinton sat down for a question and answer session with Marketo CEO Phil Fernandez. Fernandez, who lives in Palo Alto, noted the growing gap in his town: Newly-minted tech billionaires are thriving, while middle-class and working-class families are getting pushed out by skyrocketing housing prices and the elevated cost of living.

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