deferred action

Obama Will Veto Homeland Security Funding

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama will veto funding for the Department of Homeland Security if Republicans curbs spending on the president’s award of work permits to roughly five million foreign migrants, according to a White House spokesman.

“We’ve made clear, dating back to last fall, that the president would oppose any legislative effort to undermine” the president’s Nov. 20 announcement, press secretary Josh Earnest said Jan. 12.

“Yes,” he responded when a reporter asked if he would veto a spending curb.

A veto would not close the agency.

Most DHS employees are law enforcement officials, and they would continue to work, although their would not receive paychecks until the Congress passes and the president signs an appropriations bill.

Within DHS, the department that would award the work permits to the illegals would continue to operate. That’s because it is funded by fees paid by legal immigrants, and the illegal immigrants who are being offered work permits.

The loss of appropriated funds might slow down Obama’s amnesty, but likely won’t stop it completely.

The amnesty may be blocked by a pending lawsuit in Texas.

In the House, Republican leaders are assembling a bill to curb Obama’s amnesty, following intense voter and base pressure in November, December and January.

That’s a difficult task because the GOP only has 54 seats in the Senate, which isn’t enough to overcome the Senate’s usual 60-vote threshold for action in the Senate.

However, several Democratic senators are facing election in two years, and numerous polls shows that many Democratic voters oppose Obama’s loose immigration policies. In Oregon, for example, 66 percent of voters voted for a ballot that denied drivers’ licenses to illegal immigrants.

 

House GOP takes broad aim at Obama immigration policies

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republicans plan to take broad aim at President Barack Obama's immigration policies next week, including votes to overturn protections for immigrants brought illegally to this country as kids.

The plan emerging Friday satisfies demands from the most conservative lawmakers ...

Conservatives in the GOP caucus pressed leadership to go further, and also shut down an earlier 2012 program that has granted work permits to more than 500,000 immigrants brought here illegally as kids. Other changes would undo Obama directives to immigration agents that had sought to limit deportations of people with no significant criminal record...

Obama's directives in November gave temporary relief from deportation to about 4 million immigrants in the country illegally, along with permits allowing them to work legally in the U.S. They applied mostly to immigrants who'd been in the country more than five years and have kids who are citizens or legal permanent residents....

The developments come in the first week that Congress was back in session under full Republican control. Yet there's no guarantee that the Senate, where minority Democrats still exercise considerable sway, would accept the House legislation. And Obama could very well threaten to veto it.

At the same time, Democrats say Republicans are courting electoral disaster in the 2016 presidential election by passing legislation that could alienate many Latino voters.

Many of the same House conservatives who voted against Boehner for speaker earlier this week in a failed overthrow attempt were declaring victory Friday at the shape the immigration legislation was taking.

"I liked what I heard," said Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, after a closed-door meeting of House Republicans to discuss the legislation.

"I really appreciate the process of allowing all of us to have some input," said Gohmert, a frequent critic of House Republican leaders. "One of the things that has really been lacking for the last eight years is having more input like we've finally gotten in this bill, so this is a good thing."

___

Associated Press writers Stephen Ohlemacher, Alan Fram and Charles Babington contributed to this report.

Contrary to Administration Claims, Surge Border-Jumpers Not Being Deported

WASHINGTON, DC - Only a tiny fraction of the families and children who crossed in the border surge of 2012-14 are being returned to their home countries, despite Obama administration claims that the cases are a priority, according to a Houston television station's investigative report. Only a few of the illegal family or child arrivals are qualified to stay in the United States, and the vast majority (91 percent) have simply absconded from their proceedings after release and joined the resident illegal population, where they are no longer a priority for enforcement under the new, expanded "prosecutorial discretion" policies.

The station’s report focuses on statistics from the immigration courts for the family unit cases that were completed between July 18 and October 28, 2014, which are a sub-set of more than 65,000 total family unit arrivals in 2014.

View the entire CIS article at: http://cis.org/vaughan/contrary-administration-claims-only-tiny-fraction-surge-border-jumpers-deported

From these numbers the Center for Immigration Studies has determined that:
 

  • The number of family units arriving illegally was larger than the number of UACs during this time period, although the administration, its allies, and the media typically described the surge as an influx of children.
  • At least 92 percent of the family arrivals in this sample of cases were released after apprehension rather than detained in the border area.
  • Nearly all of those released (5,575 out of 6,093 total families and UACs, or 91 percent) subsequently failed to appear at their immigration hearings and are now part of the illegal population.
  • According to these figures, 43 percent of those family members classified as "detained" (nine people) also failed to appear for their hearings, suggesting that they actually were released at some point.
  • Even under the current very generous interpretations of immigration law, only 3 percent of these illegal aliens were found qualified to stay in the United States (204 out of 6,093 completed cases).
  • Only 314 of the 6,093 cases completed (5 percent) were present for their hearing and could actually be removed by authorities after receiving the order from the judge.

DHS year-end enforcement statistics show a continued steep drop in deportations, in direct contradiction to administration claims. Jessica Vaughan, the Center’s Director of Policy Studies, writes, “It's not clear to me what is smart or effective about a massive and costly catch-and-release scheme that has resulted in the illegal resettlement of tens of thousands of illegal aliens, with taxpayers now picking up the tab for schooling, health care, housing, public safety, and other expenses, and which has only increased the incentives for more people to try to enter illegally.”

District court declares Obama immigration action unconstitutional

Earlier Tuesday, a federal court in Pennsylvania declared aspects of President Obama’s executive actions on immigration policy unconstitutional.

According to the opinion by Judge Arthur Schwab, the president’s policy goes “beyond prosecutorial discretion” in that it provides a relatively rigid framework for considering applications for deferred action, thus obviating any meaningful case-by-case determination as prosecutorial discretion requires, and provides substantive rights to applicable individuals. As a consequence, Schwab concluded, the action exceeds the scope of executive authority.

This is the first judicial opinion to address Obama’s decision to expand deferred action for some individuals unlawfully present in the United States. [I've now posted the opinion here.]

The procedural background of the case is somewhat unusual. The case involves an individual who was deported and then reentered the country unlawfully...

This isn’t the only case...two-dozen states have filed suit challenging Obama’s recent immigration policy reforms. Led by Texas, these states claim that the president as exceeded the scope of executive authority in this area.... even if the states don’t have standing, the legality of the president’s actions could nonetheless be decided in federal court.

UPDATE: Here are some additional thoughts on the ruling.

It is quite unusual for a district court to reach this sort of constitutional issue in this sort of case. Indeed, Judge Schwab appears to have reached out quite aggressively to engage the lawfulness of the President’s actions...

On the merits, I understand the concerns that motivate Judge Schwab’s reasoning, but I am not persuaded... President Obama’s actions are broader in scope, but not clearly different in kind from what his predecessors have done and to which Congress has acquiesced.

It is true, as Judge Schwab notes, that the President’s announced policy identifies broad criteria for deferring removal of individuals unlawfully in the country. This would appear to make the action somewhat legislative, but I don’t think it’s enough to make the action unlawful. The new policy does not preclude the executive branch from revoking deferred action in individual cases and does not create any enforceable rights against future executive action...

President Obama’s action may be broader than many are comfortable with, and it is understandably hard to stomach given all the President’s prior statements disclaiming authority to take these steps — but such concerns are rooted in customary political norms, not judicially enforceable constitutional rules.

Half of Oregon's undocumented immigrants eligible for deportation relief, Pew data show

About half of Oregon's unauthorized immigrants will be eligible for deportation relief under President Barack Obama's executive order, announced yesterday.

Using 2012 data, the Pew Research Center calculated that of the 120,000 undocumented immigrants in Oregon, about 50,000 will be newly eligible for relief. Only Idaho and Nebraska have higher percentages of newly eligible immigrants....

Though the president's executive order was welcomed by immigration activists, some felt that more needs to be done for the approximately 6 million who will be be unaffected by the order....

To qualify, immigrants must have children who are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents and must have lived in the U.S. at least five years.

Read the full report at the Pew Research Center.

Undocumented workers, day laborers and activists staged a rally Friday at the Portland Federal Building in response to President Barack Obama's planned changes to immigration policy. (Kristyna Wentz-Graff/The Oregonian)

Source: Pew Research Center estimates based on augmented 2012 American Community Survey data from Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS)
 

House GOP Panel: Defunding Immigration Order ‘Impossible’

It would be “impossible" to defund President Obama’s executive actions on immigration through a government spending bill, the House Appropriations Committee said Thursday.

In a statement released by Committee Chairman Hal Rogers's (R-Ky.) office hours before Obama's scheduled national address, the committee said the primary agency responsible for implementing Obama's actions is funded entirely by user fees.

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As a result, the committee said the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) agency would be able to continue to collect fees and carry out its operations even if the government shut down.

“This agency is entirely self-funded through the fees it collects on various immigration applications," the committee said in a statement. "Congress does not appropriate funds for any of its operations, including the issuance of immigration status or work permits, with the exception of the ‘E-Verify’ program. Therefore, the appropriations process cannot be used to 'defund' the agency."

A spokesman for Rogers and the panel elaborated on the point in a discussion with reporters.

“We cannot, literally cannot, defund that agency in an appropriations bill because we don’t appropriate that agency. That agency is entirely fee-funded,” spokeswoman Jennifer Hing said.

“As of right now, our understanding is the primary agency responsible for implementing any type of executive order is CIS and we don’t fund CIS. There are no appropriated dollars,” she added.

Rogers has been outspoken in arguing that Congress should pass an omnibus spending bill in the lame-duck Congress that would keep the government funded through September 2015.

He and GOP leaders have come under pressure from conservative Republicans to use a funding bill to prevent Obama's administration from carrying out executive actions on immigration that could give legal status to millions of immigrants.

Those conservatives have called for a spending measure to defund certain agencies that would carry out the order.

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), who wants to defund the order, said he didn’t buy the argument from appropriators.

“I just don't believe that,” he told reporters.

"They're contriving red herring arguments to get to the point that enough members will walk out of this Congress and go home for Thanksgiving saying, 'Well, there's nothing we can do.' "

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) also dismissed the argument and said lawmakers could attach language to an appropriations bill that would result in defunding the order.

“The American people’s Congress has the power and every right to deny funding for unworthy activities,” he said. “It is a routine and constitutional application of congressional power. There is no question that Congress has the power to block this expenditure and no doubt that it can be done.”

Sen. Richard Shelby (Ala.), the ranking Republican on the Senate Appropriations panel, acknowledged the procedural difficulties in defunding Obama’s order, but said there are ways around them.

"That's one of the challenges we've always had, but to say you can't do something, maybe we need to explore more options," he said.

"You can put a rider on a lot of things. There are a lot of ways to skin a cat."

Budget expert Stan Collender, executive vice president at Qorvis MSLGROUP, agreed that Republicans have options.

“Congress can, if it wishes, use an appropriations bill to include authorization language,” he said. “There’s no constitutional prohibition against that.”

But while Collender warned to take Rogers’ words about defunding with a “grain of salt,” he said defunding the order would face major hurdles.

Even if a bill defunding Obama's actions made it to the Senate floor, there would likely be a point of order that would require 60 votes to waive, Collender said.

On top of that, President Obama would almost certainly veto the bill, and Congress likely wouldn’t have the two-thirds majority needed to override it.

The House Appropriations Committee has communicated issues with defunding to GOP leaders, but Hing declined to describe their reaction.

Another idea Rogers had advanced for dealing with Obama's order was for Congress to pass a funding bill for the entire government this year, and then look to rescind funds related to the executive order in January, when Republicans will have control of both the House and the Senate.

Asked if a rescission bill would be irrelevant now, Hing said, “right,” but then added that this could change based on the executive order’s provisions.

“Later on, if we find out down the road that ... other agencies have some piece of it, then we can go back and specifically look at those agencies,” she said.

Congress could also pass an authorization bill to shift the funding authority for CIS to lawmakers.

But Rogers argued that couldn’t be part of an appropriations bill.

“To alter or change the fee matter, it would take a change of law — an authorization — to change an immigration act. It would take an act of Congress,” Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) said.

The Appropriations panel, meanwhile, is moving forward with a 12-bill omnibus spending package.

“We’re making good progress on negotiations and we expect to have the bill on the floor the week of December 8,” Hing said.

Congress must pass a new spending bill by Dec. 12 or the government will shut down.

— Peter Schroeder, Bernie Becker and Cristina Marcos contributed

 

What Obama's immigration reform means for Oregon

President Barack Obama laid out his plan Thursday night to provide relief to about 5 million people in the United States who have moved here without legal permission, most notably issuing an executive order allowing undocumented immigrants who are parents of U.S. citizens and legal residents to be granted legal status as well.

"All of us take offense to those who reap the rewards of living in America without embracing its responsibilities," he said. However, "undocumented immigrants who desperately want to embrace those responsibilities see little option but to remain in the shadows."

It was unclear what the changes would mean in Oregon. They were well received among political leaders, but the agricultural industry was less enthusiastic, arguing that the reforms failed on many counts.

Everyone agreed, however, that the responsibility lies with Congress to pass comprehensive reforms that will address all the problems related to American's undocumented immigrant population.

This has become an increasingly thorny issue in Oregon.

Migrant labor has become a cornerstone of the state's agricultural industry, and there are about 120,000 undocumented immigrants living here. It is one of a handful of states where the number of illegal immigrants has grown fastest over the past twenty years, and immigration policy is rising to the forefront of public discussion.

Jeff Stone, executive director for the Oregon Association of Nurseries, said the plan will do little to help the state's agricultural industry, and he said it does not make up for the missed opportunity for real reform in Congress.

"(Obama's proposal) is not a replacement for resolving the immigration problem that is facing the country," he said. "It promotes everybody's narrative, positive and negative, but it doesn't solve the problem."

Comprehensive reform would include a true guest-worker program that provides a steady, reliable workforce and a new visa system to allow people who have been here for years to gain legal status in a manageable way, Stone said.

He's not alone. Farm workers across the country will largely fall outside the scope of the proposed reforms, and the national agricultural industry is skeptical that anything short of a new set of laws will stabilize their workforce.

Estimates of how many people in the country illegally are working in agriculture vary, ranging from about 500,000 to as many as 1.75 million individuals.

Obama's proposal is expected to apply to about 250,000 of them, a tiny fraction.

"For what appears to be a small subset of current agricultural workers, the president's actions will alleviate some pressure in the short term but does not offer these workers, their families, their communities or their employers the long-term assurance they deserve," said Charles Conner, head of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives.

Craig Regelbrugge of the Agriculture Coalition for Immigration Reform said his group never expected administrative action could provide a broad solution to the farmworker issue.

"We've seen an inexorable growth in food imports, including fruits and vegetables," Regelbrugge said. "Imports are displacing domestic production."

STATESMANJOURNAL

Full text: Obama's immigration speech

He said a combination of factors, including tighter border enforcement, have contributed to a worsening of the farm labor shortage.

"The workforce situation has gotten worse and worse and worse and worse," Regelbrugge said. "I think we would have had a disaster in California this year had we not had a drought disaster" that reduced crops.

For Stone, the situation in Oregon is similar. There are not enough workers and not enough certainty for the farmers.

Oregon lost one-third of its nursery growers during the recession, and it is just now building itself back up, Stone said. It relies on migrant workers, and there is a labor shortage under the current system. There are simply not enough people to work these jobs who can prove they're allowed to be here. The president's ideas don't solve that problem.

"There aren't enough visas for the work that needs to be done," Stone said. True immigration reform "is needed for the long-term survival of this country economically."

Some disagree with the idea that Obama's reforms are needed at all.

Jim Ludwick, former president of Oregonians for Immigration Reform, said he does not support the plan. It isn't needed, he said. Rather, the president ought to focus on enforcing the laws we already have.

He said Obama's speech was disingenuous, conflating facts and suggesting law-abiding citizens are frequently deported when they are not, Ludwick said. The speech was meant as a political maneuver, he said, and was designed to tug at heart strings and manipulate emotions rather than set policy.

"He knows all these things he put out will never come to fruition," Ludwick said.

Immigration policy has come increasingly to the forefront in Oregon. Two weeks ago, Oregon voters shot down a ballot measure that would have allowed undocumented immigrants to hold state-issued driver cards. The Oregon Legislature had already approved the law, but voters disagreed and defeated the proposal by an overwhelming margin.

Stone said it was a shame the law hadn't passed and would have benefited the agricultural industry a great deal, but Ludwick said it was a true referendum on what Oregonians really think about immigration policy.

Political leaders were clearly more in line with Stone than Ludwick on Obama's speech, as they had been on driver's cards last year.

"I applaud President Obama's announcement this evening. His leadership will help innumerable families across the country. In our state, his action will mean that thousands of Oregonians have the ability to safely pursue aspects of daily life that many of us take for granted," said Speaker of the House Tina Kotek.

Gov. John Kitzhaber offered his support as well and, like Stone, said the needed work is not done.

"As Oregonians, we believe in a fair shot for everyone... It remains to be seen whether Congress will step up, do what's right, and pass meaningful immigration reform, or whether it will continue to play politics with the lives of millions who have been living, working, and contributing to our communities for years."

Obama called on Congress to pass a comprehensive reform package, and he insisted the temporary measures he has proposed are in keeping with American values.

"We are and always will be a nation of immigrants. We were strangers once too," he said. "What makes us Americans is our shared commitment to an ideal, that all of us are created equal, and all of us have the chance to make of our lives what we will."

Judge tosses lawsuit over driver’s licenses for Dreamers in Nebraska

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit challenging the state of Nebraska for denying driver’s licenses to Dreamers who have received temporary authorization to stay and work in the United States.

The plaintiff suing the state is Mayra Saldana, a 24-year-old Dreamer born in Mexico who has been residing in Nebraska since she was 2 years old. Last years, she was authorized by the U.S. government to remain in the U.S. for a renewable two-year period under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. She was also granted a work permit and a Social Security number.

The latest government statistics show 2,250 Dreamers living in Nebraska have been approved for the DACA program. A total of 521,815 Dreamers have been approved nationwide.

Saldana sued the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles Director Rhonda Lahm in June after the agency denied her a driver’s license even though she had a Social Security number and was authorized to live and work in the U.S. She argued that the DMV policy denying her a driver’s license violates the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution.

But on Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Laurie Smith Camp ruled that the state had not violated Saldana’s equal-protection rights in denying her a driver’s license.

Smith Camp wrote in her ruling that there was “uncontroverted evidence” that the Nebraska DMV was following the state’s statute and issuing driver’s licenses and state identification cards only to people with a lawful status, as determined by the federal government and verified through the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) program.

“Saldana is not similarly situated to persons having lawful status in the United States with respect to her qualification for a Nebraska driver’s license, and Lahm has not denied Saldana equal protection of the law,” Smith Camp wrote.

The Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning, who defended the state’s denial of driver’s licenses to Dreamers who’ve been approved for the DACA program, praised Wednesday’s ruling.

“We’re pleased the court dismissed the case and recognized illegal immigrants don’t qualify for Nebraska driver’s licenses,” Bruning said Wednesday. “Today’s ruling validates the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicle’s denial of applications from those without lawful status.”

The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund represented Saldana in the lawsuit. Thomas A. Saenz, MALDEF’s president and general counsel, once referred to the Nebraska DMV’s policy denying driver’s licenses to DACA recipients as a “blatantly discriminatory policy.”

Alonzo Rivas, an attorney for MALDEF in Chicago, is not ready to give up on the case. He is considering other options in response to the judge’s ruling on Wednesday, according to the Omaha World-Herald.

Nebraska and Arizona are the only two states denying driver’s licenses to Dreamers who’ve been approved for the DACA program. Like in Nebraska, Dreamers in Arizona also filed a lawsuit last year, challenging the state for denying driver’s licenses to DACA recipients. That case is still pending in court.


 

Redmond Patriots to welcome OFIR President

Alert date: 
2014-08-10
Alert body: 
For all our OFIR and PODL friends in the Bend and Redmond area - please plan to attend the upcoming Redmond Patriots meeting.  OFIR President and Authorized Agent of the Protect Oregon Driver Licenses citizens veto referendum Cynthia Kendoll will be the featured speaker of the evening.

Date: Monday, August 11  Time: 6pm

Location: Highland Baptist Church, 3100 SW Highland Ave., Redmond OR            
 

 

Undocumented youths face deportation if DACA status expires

A Catholic social advocacy group based in Southeast Portland is advising undocumented youths to take steps to renew their Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status before it expires or face the threat of deportation.

Alexandra Blodget, an advocate for Catholic Charities, who is professionally trained in immigration law, said, “It’s important for anyone who knows their DACA is expiring in the coming months to understand that renewal is essential.”

“Without it, people will no longer have authorization to work in the U.S. and will not be lawfully present, which does carry the risk of detention and/or deportation,” she said.

DACA is a set of administrative procedures initiated by the Obama administration in 2012. It offers two years of protection against the threat of deportation to undocumented young people who met certain criteria.

A DACA Renewal Screening Night will take place from 5-8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 6, at Catholic Charities, 2740 S.E. Powell Blvd. in Portland.

There will be $20 consultations provided with immigration attorneys and BIA (Board of Immigration Appeals) accredited representatives.

No appointments are necessary, and consultations will be available in English and Spanish.

Alice Lundell, a spokeswoman for Catholic Charities, said those who have been granted DACA and a work permit will see them expire after two years if they are not renewed.

People who received DACA in late 2012 or even 2013 need to be thinking now about renewal, she said.

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services is recommending that applicants should apply four to five months in advance of their status and work permit expiration, Lundell said.

In response to a demand for high-quality, low-cost legal advice about DACA renewal, a group of immigration law organizations has come together to offer help.

The screening night is a joint initiative of Immigrant Law Group, ICS, Catholic Charities, SOAR and Causa.

Renewal applicants should bring with them their work permits and copies of their original DACA applications if they have them.

Blodget said seeking advice from a qualified person is important.

“We would strongly encourage anyone planning for DACA renewal to get advice before they submit their application if they have any concerns, particularly if they’ve been arrested or convicted of an offense or had other involvement with law enforcement since first receiving DACA,” Blodget said.

“Anyone with questions can come to our event to get help,” she said.

For more information, contact Alice Lundell, Catholic Charities’ marketing and communications manager, at 503.688.2662 or alundell@catholiccharitiesoregon.org.

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