state legislation

California becomes ‘sanctuary state’ as governor signs bill

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California Gov. Jerry Brown signed “sanctuary state” legislation Thursday that extends protections for immigrants living in the United States illegally — a move that gives the nation’s most populous state another tool to fight President Donald Trump.

Brown’s signature means that police will be barred from asking people about their immigration status...

California is home to an estimated 2.3 million immigrations without legal authorization.

“These are uncertain times for undocumented Californians and their families... bringing a measure of comfort to those families who are now living in fear every day,” Brown said in statement.

The Trump administration said the bill will make California more dangerous.

The state “has now codified a commitment to returning criminal aliens back onto our streets, which undermines public safety, national security, and law enforcement,” Devin O’Malley, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Justice, said in a statement.

The measure came in response to widespread fear in immigrant communities following Trump’s election...

Democrats hope blocking police from cooperating will limit the reach of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers...

De Leon’s bill cleared the Legislature with support only from Democrats. Republicans said it will protect criminals and make it harder for law enforcement to keep people safe.

The bill, SB54, originally would have severely restricted the authority of police officers to cooperate with federal immigration authorities. At Brown’s insistence, it was scaled back to allow cooperation in jails.

Police and sheriff’s officials, including jail officers, will still be able to work with federal immigration authorities if a person has been convicted of one of about 800 crimes, mostly felonies and misdemeanors that can be charged as felonies. But they will be barred from transferring immigrants to federal authorities if their rap sheet includes only minor offenses.

The changes convinced the California police chiefs association to drop its opposition, while sheriffs — elected officials who run jails — remained opposed. ICE Acting Director Thomas Homan has condemned the measure, saying California is prioritizing politics over public safety....

The measure was dubbed a “sanctuary state” bill because it sought to expand so-called sanctuary city policies that have long been in place in some of California’s biggest cities, including Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Brown and de Leon have said the bill does not give safe harbor to immigrants, particularly after the concessions Brown demanded.

 

Oregon's Emergency Clause initiative captures attention outside the state

Once again, Oregon attracts attention from outside the state, this time for the Legislature's misuse and abuse of the Emergency Clause on new legislation passed in the Oregon Legislature.

Efforts are underway to stop the shenanigans via an initiative petition circulating throughout the state.

Read the full article by Montana resident Paul Nachman and then be certain you, your friends, neighbors and co-workers have all signed the petition and mailed it in before June  26, so the paperwork can be processed before the deadline.

 

 

 

Opposition To ‘Illegal Aliens’ Is Opposition To Borders

Those who are driving the effort to control and contort language in the immigration debate are not truly motivated by the notion that the term “illegal alien” is a pejorative. This is a distraction. The real goal of those demanding that media outlets, courts, and now the Library of Congress supplant accurate legal terminology with activist-created terms is to eradicate the distinction between citizen and non-citizen, between legal activity and illegal activity, between “us” and “them” so that the concept of borders and the nation state slowly slip away. Any official heading an organization or governmental agency who thinks they are being sensitive by bowing to demands to alter their use of language is being played by the open-border crowd.

The most vivid and honest example of the motivations of those demanding a change to language in the immigration debate happened last year after the Santa Barbara News-Press used the term “illegals” in a headline: “Illegals Line Up For Driver’s Licenses.” If there is any legitimate critique of this headline, it’s that the term “illegals” rings slightly crude. Using a legal term like “illegal aliens” would be preferable.

But a more accurate legal term would not have appeased the illegal aliens and their supporters who protested outside the newspaper’s headquarters. Their response revealed the true nature of this debate over language. In the middle of the night, the News-Press building was vandalized with paintball splatters and graffiti. The bold, red, spray-painted message that was left on the building is key to understanding this debate: “THE BORDER IS ILLEGAL NOT THE PEOPLE WHO CROSS IT”

No terms, adjectives, or descriptors that separate law-breaking foreigners from citizens are acceptable to the open-border crowd and they will push until the media and the courts refer to illegal aliens as simply “Americans.” This is not hyperbole — one California newspaper has done just that, while two others have referred to illegal aliens as Californians.

In 2012, the Los Angeles Times and the San Jose Mercury News described illegal aliens as “undocumented Californians” in articles about driver’s licenses. Of course, these individuals aren’t Californians any more than a citizen of Nevada who crosses the state line to visit Disneyland. Responses from the newspapers to my inquiries about why they felt foreigners who don’t even belong in the country deserve a title indicating state citizenship were lackluster.

A year later, the San Francisco Chronicle referred to an illegal alien from South Korea as “one of an estimated 2.1 million American youths” who might benefit from President Obama’s controversial Deferred Action (DACA) program. The paper never responded to my inquiry about why they consider illegal aliens registering for DACA to be “American.”

This transition didn’t happen overnight. The open-border crowd had its first success when the Associated Press decided to appease illegal aliens and their advocates by dropping “illegal alien” and warning against it in their stylebook. In 2012, the AP declared that it would use “illegal immigrant” but would not go as far as the advocates wanted, noting that terms like “undocumented” were problematic because they “can make a person’s illegal presence in the country appear to be a matter of minor paperwork.” The AP also noted that “many illegal immigrants aren’t undocumented at all,” on account of having many documents in their possession.

The AP also declared that it would not buy into the claim that the term “illegal immigrant” is offensive, noting that the AP’s writers “refer routinely to illegal loggers, illegal miners, illegal vendors” and that the language “simply means that a person is logging, mining, selling, etc., in violation of the law — just as illegal immigrants have immigrated in violation of the law.”Taking a cue from the AP, journalists with other news outlets around the country declared that they would also stop using “illegal alien” and instead use “illegal immigrant.” The reporters thought they were being righteous, not understanding that this change was but a stepping stone in the minds of open border advocates.

As soon as these journalists agreed to drop “illegal alien” the advocates moved to their next demand. Less than six months after the AP’s decision to stick with “illegal immigrant,” the AP caved, once again. This time the AP dropped “illegal immigrant” altogether, claiming that it was dropping use of labels noting that AP would use “illegal only to refer to an action, not a person: illegal immigration, but not illegal immigrant.” The AP did not acknowledge the ongoing “Drop the I-Word Campaign” by open-border advocates that clearly played a role.

Taking a cue from the AP, journalists with other news outlets around the country declared that they would also stop using “illegal alien” and instead use “illegal immigrant.” The reporters thought they were being righteous, not understanding that this change was but a stepping stone in the minds of open border advocates.

The AP now recommends journalists use “a person living in the country illegally” or “without legal permission.” Of course, one of the top rules in journalism is “be concise.” That rule is tossed out the window for illegal aliens. Why do so many journalists think foreigners who evade our Border Patrol or lie to the State Department and overstay a visa are deserving of special treatment? Is it that they’re worried their offices might be attacked by an angry mob?

Many media outlets have blindly followed the AP’s lead, marching the journalism world to a place where there is no such thing as illegal immigration. It has gotten so bad that news outlets seeking free content from people like myself feel the need to put disclaimers at the top of opinion pieces that use legally-accurate terminology, for fear that some people (read: open-border fanatics) might be offended.

The media’s bowing to illegal aliens and their supporters shows up in other areas as well. Not too long ago, everyone referred to mass legalizations of illegal aliens as amnesty. Today, the media has embraced the language of advocacy groups and regularly uses “pathway to citizenship” or “regularization of status” or “comprehensive immigration reform.” But the media still refers to tax amnesties as amnesty. It’s just another example of the media’s special treatment of illegal aliens.

The term “alien” is not, nor has it never been a pejorative. It’s a concise, legal term that helps with straightforward communication in a very complex area of law and policy. A foreigner can be a legal alien (e.g. a tourist) or an illegal alien (e.g. a visa-overstayer). The word “alien” was recently used 26 times in the Supreme Court during oral argument for United States v. Texas, most often by the Obama administration’s solicitor general, but also by Sotomayor, Kegan, Roberts, and Ginsburg.

Use of “alien” indicates a writer supports clean writing devoid of any value judgement, something journalists should aspire to. Use of “undocumented immigrant” or some similar euphemism suggests a lack of impartiality on the part of a writer, something journalists should avoid.

Furthermore, referring to every foreigner as an “immigrant” muddies the debate and makes it difficult to draw the line between “us” and “them” — this is a goal of the open-border crowd. If we’re all immigrants (aka “a nation of immigrants”), what right do you have to tell someone else they cannot come and live here?

In reality, we’re a nation of citizens. And as citizens, we have a right to decide who gets to immigrate here, how many people get to immigrate here, and also set the conditions they must abide by if they want to stay. Anything less than that destroys the concept of citizenship and sovereignty. Media shouldn’t help the open-border crowd achieve its goal.

Jon Feere is the Legal Policy Analyst at the Center for Immigration Studies.

Supreme Court denies bid to block Texas voter ID law

Texas' controversial voter identification law will remain in effect, possibly through November's elections, after the Supreme Court on Friday denied an emergency request from a coalition of Latino advocacy groups and Democratic lawmakers who say the measure is discriminatory.

...While it is a temporary decision, it could affect enforcement of similar laws in other states during a hotly contested presidential election year...

One of the strictest such laws in the country, it requires voters to provide certain government-issued photo ID in order to cast a ballot...

Opponents say a disproportionate number are poor Hispanic and black voters.

But state officials claim there have been no problems such as large numbers of eligible voters being turned away.

A federal appeals court ruled the 2011 law had a "discriminatory effect" in violation of the landmark Voting Rights Act. But the Supreme Court two years later struck down the VRA's key enforcement provision, muting much of the federal government's ability to monitor and block state laws that may deny voters fair, unfettered access to the polls.

Against that backdrop is the Texas voter ID law, affecting more than 14 million voters this election cycle. The 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals is poised to take another look at the issue in coming months, but both sides are at odds over its continuing enforcement. The ID requirements were used during the Texas primary last month, as well as the 2014 elections.

The high court case is Veasey v. Abbott (15A999).

Indiana Bill: Hire undocumented immigrants, lose your business license

Employers who repeatedly hire undocumented immigrants could lose their right to do business in Indiana under legislation introduced Thursday in the General Assembly.

The proposal would make Indiana’s penalties among the toughest in the nation.

Senate Bill 285 would allow a judge to strip employers of their business license if they “knowingly” hire undocumented immigrants three times.

State Sen. Mike Delph, R-Carmel, says he introduced the measure to “take away the jobs magnet and remove the financial incentive of unscrupulous business people who profit off of illegal immigration.”

Two other Republican lawmakers have already signed onto the bill, including Senate Pensions and Labor Committee Chairman Phil Boots, R-Crawfordsville. His support is key because the measure must make it through his committee before it can move to the full Senate for a vote.

But the proposal is facing opposition from the business community, including the powerful Indiana Chamber of Commerce, which has helped beat back similar efforts in past years.

“We vehemently oppose it,” said Chamber President Kevin Brinegar. “We think the punishment is too stringent for the crime.”

Indiana is home to about 93,000 undocumented immigrants, according to the Migration Policy Institute. About 53,000 are estimated to be in the state’s workforce.

Delph’s bill would authorize the Indiana attorney general’s office to investigate complaints that employers are using undocumented workers. The AG’s office estimates the workload would require the hiring of three additional employees at a cost of about $250,000 a year.

A spokesman for Attorney General Greg Zoeller said the office doesn't typically take a public position on pending legislation.

Only seven other states revoke the business licenses of employers that hire undocumented workers, according to NumbersUSA, a national advocacy group that promotes reduced immigration.

Chris Chmielenski, a spokesman for the group, said the federal government’s inaction on illegal immigration has driven states to take action. A similar law in Arizona was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Frustration over illegal immigration and concerns about terrorism have spilled into the U.S. presidential race, where leading Republican contender Donald Trump has promised to build a wall along the border with Mexico and has proposed banning foreign Muslims from entering the United States.

Concerns about illegal immigration are understandable, said Mark Fisher of the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce. But he said Delph’s proposal is misguided.

“We encourage and expect every business to abide by all applicable laws,” he said. “However, we find this measure overly punitive and (it) risks jeopardizing the jobs of law abiding Hoosiers working to support themselves and their families.”

Employers that knowingly hire undocumented immigrants in Indiana can already be denied tax breaks — a penalty few other states have. Companies that hire those in the country illegally can also face fines under federal law.

But Delph said those penalties don't go far enough. Businesses that exploit undocumented immigrants to save money on labor costs can build those penalties into their budgets and still come out ahead financially, he said. Not so if they have to stop doing business altogether, he said.

“It’s a much more severe consequence, and it’s the right consequence,” he said. "We need to root out this shadow world that exists where people think they’re coming into American freedom but really live in modern day American slavery.”

Similar immigration proposals from Delph have received serious consideration from state lawmakers in the past, In 2008, a measure passed in both the House and the Senate, but in different forms that the two chambers were unable to reconcile. In 2011, a more sweeping measure passed, but not before the business license revocation penalty was removed and replaced with a denial of tax benefits.

Early versions of those past measures stirred fears among Hispanic Hoosiers that complaints against businesses would be based on racial profiling.

Delph says that’s why his proposal would make it a misdemeanor crime to file a false or frivolous complaint.

“We’re certainly not trying to target any specific group,” he said. “We’re trying to go after those that financially benefit from intentionally breaking the law.”

About SB 285

What it does: Prohibits employers from knowingly hiring undocumented workers.

Penalties: Violators would initially be required to terminate all undocumented workers and file reports on new hires with the Indiana attorney general for three years. That would increase to 10 years for second-time violators. Employers who violate the law three times could lose their business license.

How it would work: The Indiana attorney general would be responsible for investigating complaints against businesses. County prosecutors would use the AG’s findings to file a civil complaint against the employer.

Immunity: Businesses that verify employment authorization through the federal E-Verify program would be immune.

Protections for businesses: Those who file false or frivolous complaints against an employer could be charged with a Class B misdemeanor.

Call IndyStar reporter Tony Cook at (317) 444-6081. Follow him on Twitter: @indystartony.

New Mexico House Votes to Repeal Illegal Alien Driver's License Law

On Friday, the New Mexico House of Representatives passed House Bill ("H.B.") 32, which repeals New Mexico's 2003 law that grants driver's licenses to illegal aliens. Currently, ten states grant driving privileges to illegal aliens. (CBS, Feb. 13, 2015) However, New Mexico is one of only two states that grant regular driver's licenses, as opposed to "driving privilege cards," to illegal aliens, in violation of the federal REAL ID Act. Washington is the second.

Originally, H.B. 32 was drafted to allow illegal aliens in the state to receive "driving privilege cards" in lieu of driver's licenses, in order to come into compliance with the federal law. (H.B. 32 Introduced Version) Last Wednesday, however, the House Judiciary Committee voted to amend H.B. 32 to create just one driver's license for both citizens and legal aliens, and to rescind driving privileges for illegal aliens all together. (H.B. 32 Amendment) Under the revision, illegal aliens with New Mexico driver's licenses will simply see them expire. (Id.)

The movement to repeal illegal alien driver's licenses in New Mexico has seen wide support amongst state officials and constituents. A 2014 Albuquerque Journal poll revealed that 75 percent of New Mexicans support repealing the state's current driver's license law. (Albuquerque Journal, Feb. 11, 2015) Greg Fouratt, the Secretary of the Department of Public Safety, explained his support for repealing the current law, stating "New Mexico driver's licenses have become a commodity for criminal rings across the country." (Id.) Rep. Paul Pacheco, the sponsor of H.B. 32, stated, "This bill is attempting to secure New Mexico's driver's licenses and bring us into compliance with the (federal) Real ID Act." (CBS, Feb. 13, 2015)

Proponents of the bill argue that granting driver's licenses to illegal aliens resulted in an increase in fraud and human trafficking to the state. (Albuquerque Journal, Feb. 11, 2015) Indeed, New Mexico has experienced high instances of fraud as a result of granting driver's licenses to illegal aliens. During an audit between August 2010 and April 2011, investigators found that as much as 75 percent of foreign national license applications were phonies. (KRQE) Between that same period, investigators also uncovered 37 percent of foreign national requests for appointments came from out-of-state, most from Arizona, Georgia, and Texas. (Fox News, Jan. 25, 2012)

H.B. 32 will next be sent to the Senate for consideration. The full Senate must vote on the bill before it can be sent to the governor for signature. Governor Susana Martinez has been pushing for repeal of the current driver's license law since she took office in 2010, and is likely to sign the bill if it makes it to her desk. (Albuquerque Journal, Feb. 11, 2015)

No worries - just walk in and make yourself at home!

Alert date: 
2015-01-09
Alert body: 

Next week all Legislators will be at the Capitol building and conducting meetings Monday (12th), Tuesday (13th) and Wednesday (14th) and new Legislators will be sworn in, too.  They're gearing up for the upcoming 2015 Legislative session beginning February 2, 2015.

OFIR encourages you to visit your Capitol Building if you have not yet done so.  Walk the halls, sit in on a posted hearing, drop by your Legislators office and introduce yourself.  If they are newly elected, welcome them!

Always be respectful to everyone in the Capitol building.  Often Legislators are hurrying to meetings and don't have the time to chat.  Say hello to their office staff.

The Capitol building is yours and the people inside work for you.  You should feel comfortable in the building you own!

Remember to bring quarters for the meter.  Meters are strictly enforced!

Get involved, speak up and get busy!

If not you - then who?

If not now - when?

I'll see you at the Capitol!

Cynthia Kendoll - OFIR President

 

Thousands pack California DMV offices as undocumented immigrants get first licenses

STANTON, Calif. (AP) — ....Thousands of people crammed into DMV offices and waited in hours-long lines to apply for a license as California became the 10th state to authorize immigrants in the country illegally to drive.

The DMV expects to field 1.4 million applications in the first three years of a program aimed at boosting road safety and making immigrants' lives easier...

Only four DMV offices were taking walk-in applicants. Hundreds of immigrants donning scarves and gloves and clutching driver handbooks braved near-freezing temperatures in the Orange County city of Stanton to try to get a place in line before dawn...

Immigrant advocates have cheered the licenses as a way to integrate immigrants who must drive to work and shuttle children to school, though the cards will include a distinctive marking and are not considered valid federal identification. Critics have questioned state officials' ability to verify the identity of foreign applicants, citing security concerns.

Applicants must submit proof of identity and state residency and pass a written test to get a driving permit. Those who don't possess foreign government-issued identification on a list of approved documents can be interviewed by a DMV investigator to see if they qualify.

Immigrants must come back at a later date and pass a road test to get the license, which will be marked with the words "federal limits apply." Those who have licenses from other states are not required to take the road test again, Gonzalez said....

Some immigrants who waited in line for hours Friday failed the required written test and vowed to make an appointment to return on another date to try again. About half of new driver's license applicants fail the written exam, Gonzalez said....


 

CA Illegal Immigrant at DMV: ‘Nobody’s Passing’ Written Test

Many illegal immigrants at a Northern California DMV reportedly were failing the written exam when applying for driver’s licenses on Friday.

Under the AB 60 law that Governor Jerry Brown (D) signed in 2013 and took effect at the start of 2015, illegal immigrants were able to apply for driver’s licenses on Friday. And nearly 1.4 illegal immigrants are expected to apply for licenses in California in the next three years.

At a DMV in south Sacramento, Veronica Oropeza, a 28-year-old illegal immigrant who has reportedly been driving without a license for six years, reportedly failed her written exam twice.

“Nobody’s passing,” she told the Sacramento Bee in Spanish.

As the Bee noted, “those who passed the written exam were given a driver’s permit and required to return another day to take the road test.”

When Nevada allowed illegal immigrants to apply for licenses last year, 71% of illegal immigrants in the state reportedly failed the written exam...

Oropeza had “already spent more than three hours at the DMV,” and “she couldn’t stay to take the exam a third time, she said, because she had to get to work.”


 

Idaho sees rise in unauthorized immigrants

SPOKANE, Wash. — Idaho was among seven states, most concentrated in the eastern U.S., where the number of unauthorized immigrants increased between 2009 and 2012, according to a report released Tuesday by the Pew Research Center.

The report found unauthorized immigrants decreased in 14 states, including Oregon, in that time period. The number stayed relatively stable in the remaining states, including Washington.

Nationally, the number of unauthorized immigrants remained stable at 11.2 million between 2009 and 2012, the report found....

The report showed the long-term growth in unauthorized immigrants in each state.

Idaho grew from 10,000 unauthorized immigrants in 1990 to 50,000 in 2012; Oregon grew from 25,000 in 1990 to 120,000 in 2012; and Washington grew from 40,000 in 1990 to 230,000 in 2012.
 

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