Immigrants Bridge The Gap With Local Communities — “The Haters Are Always Wrong, And The Haters Will Eventually Lose.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/working-to-build-bridges-between-immigrants-and-their-new-communities/2017/06/23/03c1bb1a-4d2a-11e7-a186-60c031eab644_story.html?utm_term=.2bcde1762b2f

Steven V. Roberts writes in a WashPost op-ed:

“These are all good examples that will, hopefully, ease the “cultural anxiety” Noorani writes about. But he shies away from discussing a key dimension of Trump’s appeal: racism. “A significant portion of the American electorate felt their country had been taken away,” he writes, but he doesn’t complete the thought. Taken away by whom? Let’s be honest. Many of those voters believe that their country has been overrun by dark-skinned, foreign-language-speaking aliens.

While it is wildly unfair to call all Trump supporters racists, it is equally inaccurate to ignore that the president deliberately inflamed racist impulses to win the election.

 

Moreover, Noorani lacks a larger perspective. Trump is a very American figure. Anti-immigrant fears didn’t start with globalization and weren’t “triggered” by the election of Barack Obama. Throughout our history, spasms of nativist hostility have erupted against each new group arriving on our shores: Germans and Jews, Irish and Italians, Japanese and Chinese.

Hispanics and Muslims are now the objects of this animosity, and the language directed against them is the same that’s been used to demonize newcomers for more than two centuries: This group will degrade our culture and alter our identity. But today’s targets can take comfort from the clear lessons of history.

Immigrants do change our culture — for the better. They reenergize and revitalize our civic spirit. The haters are always wrong, and the haters will eventually lose. Tiwana and Noorani himself prove that truth.

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Read the entire op-ed at the link.

Trump and his supporters might be on the right side of the political equation at this point in time, but they are squarely on the wrong side of history. Before joining up with the Trump Team, folks ought to think about being remembered by their grandchildren and great grandchildren in the same way that we think about such notorious racists as Alabama Governor George Wallace, Georgia Governor Lester “Pickax” Maddox, and Arkansas Governor Orvil Faubis, or those who engineered and championed such abominations as the Chinese Exclusion Act.

Even iconic American historical figures like President Woodrow Wilson and Gen. Robert E. Lee have recently had their racism and support for racist causes eventually catch up with them and tarnish their reputations. In the long run, the cause of intolerance, fear, and bias promoted by Trump, Pence, and today’s GOP will look pretty bad. Yeah, we’ll all be gone by then. But, our descendants and history will remember where we stood.

PWS

06-25-17

Sessions Says DOJ Will Help Defend States (Like Texas) Seeking To Punish “Sanctuary Cities” — House GOP Pushes Bill Targeting Sanctuary Jurisdictions!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/trump-administration-backs-texas-in-lawsuit-over-harsh-sanctuary-city-law/2017/06/23/327ba290-581f-11e7-ba90-f5875b7d1876_story.html?utm_term=.4c47afa58d76

Maria Sacchetti reports in the Washington Post:

“Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Friday that the Trump administration “fully supports” Texas’s harsh new ban on sanctuary cities, and the Department of Justice will help defend it against a federal court challenge next week.

Lawyers for the tiny border city of El Cenizo, the League of United Latin American Citizens and major cities such as Dallas and Austin say the law requiring them to detain immigrants for federal deportation agents is “patently unconstitutional” for a number of reasons. On Monday, they will urge U.S. District Court Judge Orlando Garcia in San Antonio to block the law from taking effect Sept. 1.

The state of Texas argues that the government is within its rights to bar localities from interfering with immigration enforcement. Under the law, officials could lose their jobs, police chiefs could go to jail, and governments could face fines of up to $25,500 a day if they adopt or enforce policies that prevent law enforcement officers from asking about a person’s immigration status or complying with requests to detain immigrants, a job that has been chiefly the responsibility of federal agents.

 

“President Trump has made a commitment to keep America safe and to ensure cooperation with federal immigration laws,” Sessions said in a statement. “Texas has admirably followed his lead by mandating state-wide cooperation with federal immigration laws that require the removal of illegal aliens who have committed crimes.”

Luis Roberto Vera, Jr. the national general counsel for the League of United Latin American Citizens, which is a plaintiff in the case, said the Texas law is discriminatory because it primarily targets Hispanics, one of the state’s largest groups.

El Cenizo Mayor Raul Reyes. El Cenizo is the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit that will seek to temporarily halt Texas’ sanctuary cities ban before it takes effect Sept. 1. (Matthew Busch/Matthew Busch For The Washington Post)
“It’s a continuation of Donald Trump’s war on Mexicanos,” Vera said. “That’s the sad part about this.”

The faceoff comes amid rising tensions nationwide over the Trump administration’s crackdown on immigration and its relentless march forward despite a string of losses in federal courts.

On Friday, congressional aides said House Republicans are advancing a bill that would withhold some federal grant money from so-called sanctuary cities; give greater legal weight to immigration detainers, which are requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement to local jails to hold immigrants who are being targeted for deportation; and shield local governments from lawsuits related to detainers. A second bill would increase penalties against deported immigrants who return illegally.”

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Yup, full employment for lawyers, on all sides.

Bad time to be an immigrant, refugee, or minority in America. Great time to be a lawyer!

PWS

06-24-17

FALLOUT FROM TEXAS SB4: AILA Moves 2018 Annual Conference (3,000 Attendees) Out Of “Unwelcoming” State! — Other Groups Likely To Follow Suit! SB 4 Could Cost Texas Businesses Millions In Lost Revenues!

http://www.aila.org/advo-media/press-releases/2017/sb-4-makes-texas-unwelcoming-for-annual-conference??utm_source=aila.org&utm_medium=Carousel%20-%20P

SB 4 Makes Texas Unwelcoming for AILA Annual Conference in 2018

CONTACTS:
George Tzamaras
202-507-7649
gtzamaras@aila.org
Belle Woods
202-507-7675
bwoods@aila.org

 

WASHINGTON, DC – The Board of Governors of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) has voted to move the Association’s 2018 annual conference from Grapevine, Texas, to another state. The AILA Annual Conference takes place over the course of three and a half days and is the largest yearly gathering of immigration lawyers and legal professionals in the United States.

AILA President William Stock explained, “It is no small matter to cancel the venue for a professional conference with more than 3,000 attendees. In the end, our Board decided it could not ask AILA members, and in many cases their families, to attend a conference in the state which has passed SB-4 into law. SB-4 serves no legitimate purpose and undermines our country’s principles of fairness, due process, and equal treatment under the law. By championing this bill and signing it into law, Governor Abbott has continued the scapegoating of immigrants and the communities that welcome them, rather than acknowledging the immense benefits that immigrants bring to our nation and the shared prosperity which follows.”

AILA Executive Director Ben Johnson added, “I am very proud to serve an organization and a community that is willing to stand up for its values and mission. For more than 70 years, AILA’s mission has been to promote justice and to advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy. That’s not something to which we simply pay lip service, it’s what we and our 15,000 members do, day in and day out. SB-4 is unjust, unfair, and unreasonable and under these extraordinary circumstances, AILA has made the decision that it cannot bring its premier event to the state of Texas.”

###

 

The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.

Cite as AILA Doc. No. 17060700.

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At some point, Texas voters are going to have to ask themselves what price they are willing to pay to promote the “Gonzo-Apocalypto Restrictionist White Nationalist” Agenda being pushed by Abbott and the GOP. Sounds like something Democrats could “work with” at all levels. Economic issues often are a way to get traction. And, the lost business revenues doen’t even to begin to figure in all the money taxpayers are going to have to lay out to defend the inevitable lawsuits.

PWS

06-12-17

Critics Blast Tex. Gov. Abbott’s Statements On Sanctuary Cities!

https://www.texasobserver.org/two-blatant-lies-governor-greg-abbotts-sanctuary-cities-op-ed/

Gus Bova writes in the Texas Observer:

“Governor Greg Abbott published an editorial in the San Antonio Express-News Friday defending Senate Bill 4 — the anti-“sanctuary cities” law that critics say will encourage racial profiling, undermine local policing efforts and tear immigrant families apart.

In the piece, titled “SB 4 will make Texas communities safer,” Abbott spreads at least two major lies: One, that only criminals need to worry about being asked for their papers under SB 4, and two, that the bill only requires jails to honor immigration detainers when a person is charged with a violent crime.

Abbott, who made “sanctuary cities” a legislative emergency this session, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The governor writes: “Regardless of your immigration status, if you have not committed a crime and you are not subject to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement [ICE] detainer, you have nothing to fear about the change in Texas law.”

That isn’t true. Thanks to a hotly contested amendment, the bill specifically permits police to request proof of citizenship from someone who’s merely been detained, not arrested. Put simply, being stopped by a cop does not mean you’ve committed a crime. Abbott seems to have forgotten about “innocent until proven guilty.”

Second, Abbott writes: “SB 4 requires law enforcement agencies to honor ICE detainers issued for violent criminals.”

In fact, the law requires jails to honor all ICE detainers. Detainers are voluntary requests from ICE to local jails to keep someone locked up beyond when they would normally be released, so that federal agents may arrive and potentially deport them.”

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Thanks to Dan Kowalski over at LexisNexis for forwarding this item!

PWS

05-23-17

 

THE HILL: N. Rappaport Says Trump May Be “Step Ahead” Of Texas On Sanctions For Sanctuary Cities!

http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/immigration/332771-texas-bans-sanctuary-cities-but-trump-may-be-a-step-ahead

Nolan writes:

“State action was needed to deal with noncriminal illegal immigration in the interior of the country when Barack Obama was the president.  He focused his immigration enforcement efforts on aliens who had been convicted of serious crimes or who had been caught near the border after making an illegal entry.

In addition to leaving interior immigration problems up to the States, this created what I call a “home free magnet.”  Aliens wanting to enter the United States illegally knew that they would be safe from deportation once they had reached the interior of the country, unless they were convicted of a serious crime.

President Donald Trump destroyed this magnet with his Executive Order, Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States, which greatly expanded enforcement priorities and the scope of expedited removal proceedings.

The expanded expedited removal proceedings will make it possible to deport millions of undocumented aliens without a hearing before an immigration judge.  And no deportable alien is safe under his enforcement policies.

President Trump has attempted to put an end to sanctuary cities by withholding federal funding, but that program has been tied up in litigation.  I expect that meat-cleaver approach to fail.

His next step might be to prosecute officials under the harboring provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act who go too far with sanctuary policies.  These provisions make it a capital offense to conceal, harbor, or shield undocumented aliens from detection if the violation results in the death of any person.

It does not specify what actions constitute “harboring,” and the courts have not settled on one uniform definition.  But the most frequent characteristic the courts have used is that “harboring” makes it easier for aliens to live in the United States without lawful status, which is one of the main objectives of sanctuary cities.

Ironically, although a sanctuary city is supposed to make undocumented aliens safer, it makes them more vulnerable because so many of them live in the sanctuary cities.  When the Trump administration launches its expedited removal proceedings round-up, it almost certainly will start with the sanctuary cities.”

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Read Nolan’s complete article over on The Hill at the link.

The point of so-called “sanctuary cities” (an amorphous, undefined term to be sure) is to resist the “climate of fear” being promoted by the Trump Administration and to continue to encourage cooperation between local law enforcement authorities and ethnic communities that has been successful in reducing crime. In fact, by all reports, immigrant communities are some of the most “low crime” around.

I haven’t seen specific stats, but anecdotally it seems that many law enforcement officials in cities were perfectly content with the “pre-Trump” level of cooperation with the DHS and believe that the Trump/ Sessions plan will actually make their jurisdictions less safe.  Additionally, I have yet to see a statement by any state or local official saying that they would refuse to turn a serious criminal over to DHS if a legally sufficient detainer were filed.

In my view, the concept that Trump, Sessions, Kelly, and company  have any genuine concern about reducing crime is almost preposterous. They have no interest whatsoever in working with responsible state and local officials on programs that actually could succeed in further reducing crime (already at historically low levels in most parts of the country).

Nope! It’s all about whipping up xenophobia and appealing to white nationalism. In other words, satisfying the “Trump base.” Certainly this is a political strategy that has proven fairly effective, at least in the short run, but which has very little, if anything, to do with actually combating crime.

PWS

05-10-17

 

Tex. Gov. Declares War On Local Police — Inks Bill Banning “Sanctuary Cities” — Critics Call Facebook Ceremony “Cowardly!”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/05/08/texas-gov-abbott-springs-surprise-on-critics-signing-sanctuary-cities-ban-unannounced-on-facebook-live/?hpid=hp_hp-more-top-stories_sanctuary-920pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.cbc2f01134b8

The Washington Post reports:

“Texas Gov. Greg Abbott made an unannounced appearance on Facebook live Sunday evening to sign a tough bill banning “sanctuary cities” in the state, thereby avoiding demonstrations opponents planned for later in the week when they thought he was going to put his signature on the legislation.

While Abbott’s spokesman said he was just trying to reach a wide audience, critics called Abbott “cowardly” for springing the signing without notice.

Though the bill, which cleared the Republican-controlled legislature last week, was opposed by most major police chiefs in Texas, Abbott said in a statement that the law was a blow against “those that seek to promote lawlessness in Texas.”

Abbott also blasted the one law enforcement officer in Texas who appears to have adopted any sort of policy resembling the amorphous concept of a sanctuary city, Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez, who said she would not cooperate with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement requests to hold immigrants while federal authorities investigate their status.

“This law cracks down on policies like the Travis County sheriff who declared she would not detain known criminals accused of violent crimes,” Abbott said.

In fact, Hernandez does honor detainer requests from federal immigration authorities for inmates accused of serious offenses.”

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The lies just keep on flowing from folks like Abbott who are working tirelessly to make our cities and our nation less safe!

But my question is: Where is Jeff Sessions, that staunch defender of the right of local police to do anything they want, when we need him? Surely, he will come to the aid of local police who are trying to resist overreach by the Feds (in this case, the DHS)!

PWS

05-08-17