Lazy Saturday Reads: Immigration Facts and Ferguson FearsPosted: November 22, 2014
President Obama’s executive action on immigration tops the news today. Ferguson is a close second. I’ll be focusing mostly on those two stories in this post.
Before I get started, I want to point you to a new post by Darren Hutchinson of Dissenting Justice. It will give you some reality-based ammunition to deal with crazy wingnut friends, relatives, and Facebook and Twitter followers.
ATTENTION: Before you can argue that the government has violated a law, you must actually READ the law.
FACT: Congress has the exclusive power to pass laws regarding immigration (U.S. Const. Article I, Section 8, Cl. 4).FACT: Executive Power of the US is vested in the President, which means the President, not Congress, executes the immigration laws (U.S. Const. Article II, Sect. 1, Cl. 1)….
FACT: Consistent with the Constitution, the INA gives the Executive Branch (President, Homeland Security, Attorney General, and Secretary of State) the power to enforce immigration laws (8 U.S.C. Sect. 1103-1104)….
FACT: The Executive Can “Cancel” the Removal of Certain Deportable Individuals.
The INA allows the Attorney General to cancel removal (deportation) or adjust the status of certain categories of undocumented individuals. The statute explicitly spells out the criteria for doing so. Thus, the statute provides an “intelligible criteria” for the Attorney General to follow. (8 U.S.C. Section 1229b(a)-(b))….
The Executive Can Give Temporary Protected Status to Certain Deportable Individuals. The INA also allows the Attorney General to grant “Temporary Protected Status” (TPS) to deportable individuals from certain countries that the Attorney General has placed on a TPS list. As required by Supreme Court doctrine, the INA gives SPECIFIC guidelines – or an intelligible principle – for the Attorney General to follow when determining whether to give TPS designation to a country. The statutory factors include serious conditions in the individual’s home country, like armed conflict; natural disasters; a request for temporary protected status by the country; or “extraordinary and temporary conditions” that preclude the safe return of the individual, so long as TPS does not conflict with the interests of the US.
(8 U.S.C. Sections 1254a-i)
Those are the highlights. There’s more at the link. I plan to save Hutchinson’s post for future reference. I’m thinking of printing it out in case I get in a political argument with my brother over Thanksgiving dinner.
Obama has been vilified from day one by people who obviously have never read the Constitution or any U.S. laws dealing with their various political hobby horses, and I’m sick and tired of it.
You all know I not a fan of Obama when he ran for president in 2008, and I still think he’s a conservative technocrat who is far to willing to support privatization of public services. But he is the President of the United States now. I support his efforts to reform immigration laws. He’s only taking executive action because Congress is full of stupid and irrational people who are too lazy or stubborn to cooperate with him. Sadly, the DC media is largely made up of wealthy, privileged people who got their jobs because through nepotism and/or because they attended elite universities and are too lazy or stupid to provide accurate information to the public. Therefore, people who don’t focus on politics like we do get false information from TV news or “journalists” who do not understand what journalism is.
A few more links on the immigration story:
Washington Post Wonkblog, Flow chart: Who qualifies for Obama’s immigration offer?
The president’s executive action would delay deportation for the undocumented mother of a child born in the U.S. on Thursday — but not an undocumented mother who gave birth here one day later. Similarly, the president has offered deferrals to children brought to this country by their parents before their 16th birthday — but not a few weeks after.
Such deadlines serve a purpose: They’re meant to discourage new immigrants from coming in the future, or to dissuade women already here from giving birth with the goal of securing deferrals. But they also show that the president’s action falls far short of a comprehensive solution. It offers, instead, a fragmented answer that will leave many immigrants disappointed.
Check out the flow chart at the link for details.
Greg Sargent at The Washington Post, Bringing perspective to Obama’s move on deportations.
Now that President Obama has announced his executive action to temporarily shield millions from deportation, confirming the administration’s view that this move is well within his authority, the battle now shifts to a political fight over the policy itself, and over whether it violates “political norms.” Is this action so provocative an affront to Congress that it sets a precedent for future GOP presidents to use discretion to selectively enforce laws liberals like?
Embedded in the legal opinion that the Office of Legal Counsel released to justify the move is an important nugget that should, in theory, help take the steam out of the idea that this move is a flagrant violation of political norms.
Obama’s action temporarily shields from deportation the parents of children who are U.S. citizens and legal residents, and also expands the program (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) to protect people brought here illegally as children. But it excludes parents of DACA recipients.
The reason for this offered by the OLC memo is that protecting parents of legal residents is in line with Congressional intent, as expressed in statute, while protecting DACA parents isn’t:
[T]he parents of DACA recipients are differently situated from the parents of U.S. citizens and LPRs [Legal Permanent Residents] under the family-related provisions of the immigration law. Many provisions of the INA [Immigration and Nationality Act] reflect Congress’ general concern about separating individuals who are legally entitled to live in the United States and their immediate family members….But the immigration laws do not express comparable concern for uniting persons who lack lawful status (or prospective lawful status in the United States with their families…Extending deferred action to the parents of DACA recipients would therefore expand family-based immigration relief in a manner that deviates in important respects from the immigration system Congress has enacted.
This legal opinion probably precludes any future expansion of this program to cover parents of DACA recipients. And it underscores two things: First, that the proposal is heavily focused on providing relief from humanitarian hardship endured by U.S. citizens and permanent residents, a longtime intention of Congress, as expressed in statute. Second, it shows that the proposal’s legal rationale is tightly circumscribed to reflect that Congressional intent.
Follow me below the fold for much more . . .
Immigrant rights groups across the U.S., cheering PresidentBarack Obama’s move to halt deportations, are already busy advising undocumented people how to take advantage of the changes.
Gathering documents such as birth certificates and rent receipts to prove eligibility is a necessary first step, according toCommunity Legal Services in East Palo Alto, California. The nonprofit organization is also warning that scam artists may try to profit from excitement before the application system is up and running, which could take months.
Another group called Michigan United plans informational sessions for immigrants in Detroit next month. And in Texas, a new hotline from the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services will soon provide as much as 45 minutes of guidance on how to navigate the process without an attorney.
Obama’s executive order, the biggest reprieve for undocumented immigrants in a generation, has people who have lived clandestinely for years weighing whether to apply for protection from deportation that may not much outlast the president’s time in office. The program’s impact hinges on people like Carolina Rivera, who moved to Chicago from Mexico 22 years ago and has worked illegally ever since.
Much more at the link.
The Daily Beast, The Immigrants Obama Left Out.
By the time people started flooding Make the Road’s office in Queens Thursday evening, the gist of Obama’s plan was pretty widely understood. Parents of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents (a population of approximately 4.1 immigrants) would become eligible for work permits and temporary relief from deportation. The action would open up relief under the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to around 300,000 more immigrants, eliminating the previous limit and extending the final date by which kids 15 and under must have arrived in the U.S. from 2007 to January 2010.
In all, the executive action would provide temporary relief for just under 5 million undocumented immigrants—less than half of the country’s undocumented population. And while the lives of a large portion of those gathered in Queens on Thursday night would not be immediately changed, the excitement was palpable, and not exclusive.
Francisco is one of the people whose life will likely change. The 22-year-old college student has lived in New York since he was 15, coming here from Mexico City with his younger sister five years after their mother immigrated alone to make money for her children. Francisco actually made his journey to the U.S. in 2007, but arrived just a few months after the previous cutoff date to apply for DACA. Thursday night’s announcement trudged up a mix of emotions for Francisco, as the excitement of knowing he might now be able to apply for temporary relief from deportation was met with sadness at the realization that many others in his life would not—including his mother.
“She’s been working her entire life,” Francisco said, as a group of teenagers gathered in a huddle nearby, watching the president’s speech on an smartphone. “She pretty much sacrificed her life for us, my little sister and me. She’s just the best, she’s the one who should benefit.”
Congress could help Francisco’s mother and millions of other long-time US residents if so many Congresspeople weren’t so stupid, lazy, and cruel.
Local and state officials in Missouri have done their very best to stoke the fears of white people and paint black activists and protesters as thugs and potential rioters. The corporate media has helped by changing the popular narrative about the mostly peaceful protests in Ferguson this summer and fall as “rioting and looting” while rewriting history about the police riot that actually took place in Ferguson, in which even journalists and new photographers were attacked and arrested by rogue police officers. Dire predictions of scary black people going crazy have been front and center in the media for weeks. How will it all turn out? I don’t know, but I expect it won’t be pretty.
No one seems to know if Grand Jury is still meeting today, but the announcement of their decision on whether to indict Darren Wilson, the Ferguson police officer who shot and killed unarmed black teenager Michael Brown is expected to come tomorrow.
A few brief excerpts from current stories–click on the links for more details.
According to CNN, Wilson has “told associates he would resign as a way to help ease pressure and protect his fellow officers,” but does not want to leave before the grand jury reaches a decision “for fear it would appear he was admitting fault.”
Wilson and city officials are in final stages of negotiating his departure, CNN reported late Thursday, citing “people close to the talks.”
In a similar report, The New York Times, citing an official with knowledge of the discussions, reported Friday that the talks have stalled on how or when Wilson should leave.City officials have urged him to quit “on several occasions” but he has balked.
An official told the newspaper that the city would not offer Wilson any severance pay or other compensation in return for his resignation.
Wall Street Journal, Officials Detail Rules for Police Handling of Ferguson Protests.
CLAYTON, Mo.—Officials announced ground rules police will use when interacting with crowds during protests expected in the St. Louis area in the coming days, as a grand jury appeared close to announcing whether to indict a white police officer for the killing of an unarmed black teenager this summer.
The “rules of conduct” released by city, state and county officials are based on requests from protesters and agreed upon by law enforcement after weeks of discussions aimed at building a relationship between protest leaders and police….
Officials said police would use only minimal equipment required for their safety and that clear lines of communication would be established between police and protesters. Police didn’t agree to a pledge not to use tear gas.
…according to a law enforcement source, two men described as reputed members of a militant group called the New Black Panther Party, were arrested in the St. Louis area in an FBI sting operation.
As initially reported by CBS News, the men were suspected of acquiring explosives for pipe bombs that they planned to set off during protests in Ferguson, according to the official, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to publicly discuss the case.
The official said the two men are the same pair named in a newly unsealed federal indictment returned on Nov. 19 charging Brandon Orlando Baldwin and Olajuwon Davis with purchasing two pistols from a firearms dealer under false pretenses.
Both men were arraigned on Friday in federal court, the law enforcement source said.
[Attorney General Eric] Holder…expressed concerns privately about Gov. Jay Nixon’s decision this week to declare a state of emergency at a news conference and activate the National Guard. The grand jury decision in the Ferguson shooting is expected to be announced in the next few days….
A top aide to Holder called the governor’s office earlier this week to express Holder’s displeasure and “frustration,” according to a Justice Department official.
“Instead of de-escalating the situation, the governor escalated it,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the subject. “He sent the wrong message. The tone of the press conference was counterproductive.”
Vincent Bzdek at The Fix, Why Barack Obama should go to Ferguson
In an unnerving intelligence bulletin issued this week, the FBI warned that the expected news this weekend that Officer Darren Wilsonwon’t be indicted in the death of black teenager Michael Brown could set off violence across the country. A source told one of our reporters that some law enforcement officials fear that the reaction could be as bad as the deadly Watts riots of the 1960s.
“The announcement of the grand jury’s decision … will likely be exploited by some individuals to justify threats and attacks against law enforcement and critical infrastructure,” the FBI warned. “This also poses a threat to those civilians engaged in lawful or otherwise constitutionally protected activities.” ….
President Obama could go to Ferguson on Sunday, the day the announcement is expected, and by his presence, his outreach and perhaps his eloquent words, he and he alone might be able to prevent an eruption of polarizing race riots.
You might say he was made for this moment. The son of a white mother and a black father, he has always preached the gospel of reconciliation — there are not two Americas, there is only a United States of America, he has told us. The country elected him in part because he appealed to the better angels of our natures with his call to move past the battles we’ve been waging for a generation. A large part of his success was due to his both-sides message — that we all have more common ground than uncommon, that we can best solve our troubles by pulling together as one human, post-racial family.
I’m not so sure that would be a good idea. It might be better if Eric Holder went to Ferguson. Can you just imagine all the security that would be required for a presidential visit at the same time police and protesters are on edge and there’s danger of violence on both sides? And what if something happened to Obama in the chaos?
Just a reminder that today is the 51st anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, November 22, 1963. I never want to live through another tragedy like what happened on that dark day in Dallas.
So what else is happening? Please post your thoughts and links in the comment thread, and have a terrific weekend!