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After much debate in the press about what’s happening in California, I decided to go to the actual source of the debate and read SB54. The bill, now signed by the Governor, explicitly directs and funds efforts to not only reduce cooperation with Federal counterparts, but also to research ways in which the state can limit information for immigration enforcement. Now, depending on who you are and how you see policies affecting immigration, you’ve probably already made up your mind as to if this is a good or bad thing. This is an information black hole that California is creating which is uniquely Californian. This state has a population of 39.54 million (about 12 percent of the overall population) and a land and sea boundary vulnerable to international penetration. Many states disagree with the policies of the Federal government over the course of our nation’s history. Many will enact laws on a state level to alter what happens inside the state based on the power that the Constitution reserves to the states (namely the police powers). While this is a valid exercise of Constitutional authority, our history has shown and the Supreme Court has confirmed that the state’s authority must yield where the Federal authority already holds the field. Arizona and Alabama (and many others) tried their hand at enacting laws to criminalize immigration citing the Federal government’s failure to enforce existing Federal Immigration law. As usual, a legal challenge ensued and they won in part and lost in part. California is no different. There is a US Supreme Court decision (Plyler v Doe) that guarantees the right to education for children under the equal protection clause even if they are undocumented. The court was doubtful that people were coming to America in order to educate their children. Since then, although the law stands, policy makers and legislators have tried to understand if this is happening and if so in what numbers. Alabama passed a law (which was later struck down) requiring the collection of a student’s status, California seeks to prevent the Federal government from learning this data. California takes it even father and seeks to prevent Federal authorities from learning about immigration status from hospitals, libraries, health facilities and courthouses. Does anybody see a problem with a mandate NOT to share information with Federal authorities? (**hint** read what this report has to say about “the wall”. Spoiler alert, it’s not a wall on our southern border. https://www.9-11commission.gov/report/911Report.pdf)
Civics in action my friends. For anyone that had to take the naturalization exam to become a US citizen, you’re aware that there are both rights and duties of citizenship. Lawmakers are currently holding debates in order to inform and persuade each other, but we have access to these debates in the form of the freedom of the press (and there’s always C-SPAN). Informing ourselves on these issues takes more than a 30 second sounds bite or a presentation from a reporter on any single day. There are pros and cons, effects and unintended consequences to any bill that becomes a law. Watch, learn, question and inform your Senator and Representative of what your opinions are and why.
On Monday afternoon, the Senate will begin a novel legislative adventure. Lawmakers will try to assemble immigration legislation that can garner 60 votes.
For over a decade now, we in the industry and those affected by law changes, have waited for a big piece of legislative change. After President Obama was elected, Congress couldn’t agree on bi-partisan and comprehensive immigration reform. What was even more stunning was that the piece of legislation drafted was the result of the gang of 8, 4 Republican and 4 Democratic lawmakers. One very prominent lawmaker, who is the son of Cuban immigrants went so far as to participate in helping to write the reform bill and appear on Sunday morning news shows educating the people and lawmakers about what was in it and why they should support it. Then a few weeks into his media blitz, he suddenly stopped supporting it and walked away from the whole thing. In fact, he appeared on the news right after the President made his State of the Union address as the Republican resistance to the policies of the President’s agenda. I would not be surprised to see something tonight almost exactly like what we saw all those years ago. A President laying out policies he’d like to see Congress pass and a minority party disagreeing. The real question here is will we get action? All the marketing and politics and positioning in the world doesn’t mean a thing if we can’t get Congress to function. Congress shut down the government for 3 days this month because they couldn’t agree on how to fund the government and how spending and debt should be dealt with. Although its nothing compared to the government shut down in 2013, it still affected the entire US.
All 435 members of Congress are not going to agree all the time. There will need to be compromises made in order to keep passing laws and funding the government. I can’t wait to see what this group comes up with after tonight’s address and before the government runs out of money again on February 8.
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In 2018, Trump officials will make it more perilous for refugees, high-skilled and family immigrants to enter or remain in America.
In short, I think we can see unprecedented change to immigration laws and policies. I think that the Federal Government will take note of what has been happening in the individual states with respect to their state level immigration laws that states have passed in the last 5-6 years. A lot of ink has been spilled both in the federal courts and at the supreme court level. We have gotten used to a status quo in decades past that has been reversed since the Trump administration took office. Whether it’s rescinding TPS, no longer giving deference to previously adjudicated applications at USCIS or the plan to reduce immigration court backlogs by half by the year 2020, you can be sure that there will be continued changes to what was once thought of as a status quo.
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I’ve had so many clients talk about this show. It isn’t every day that clients come to be with specific knowledge about what they’d like to apply for. I haven’t watched episodes yet, but it seems I’ll have to watch a few, just so I can advise clients of what may be different and what is the same!
The number of non-criminal immigrants arrested in 2017 increased by 250 percent.
So what’s the difference between arrests and lower deportations? Expedited removal. Re-instatement of prior order of removal. Could be lots of things, but the end result is the same. That person is no longer in the US.