Author: Charles Kuck

Have We Really Come To This?

The headline in a report on KGUN9 (a Tucson, Arizona TV station) reads: Group of illegal immigrants shot at, 1 wounded near Rio Rico (AZ) Apparently a group of undocumented immigrants  were shot at while walking in the desert away from the border  on Friday.   The reports indicate that two men wearing camouflage used high-powered rifles to shoot at them.   One of the five immigrants was wounded in the attack and was treated by local authorities in the hospital.  This same group also told authorities that they had passed two bodies nearby during their trek. Another Headline in the Arizona Republic Reads: Phoenix murder of Latino man called hate crime   The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office has alleged that the May 6 fatal shooting of a Mexican-American man in south Phoenix by a neighbor shouting racial epithets was a hate crime. The allegation was filed June 9 as one of six aggravating factors that the office raised in the case of Gary Thomas Kelley. Aggravating factors allow judges to enhance prison sentences in the event of a conviction. Kelley, 50, is charged with second-degree murder in the killing of Juan Varela, 44. He also is accused of menacing Varela’s brother Antonio with a gun. According to initial police reports, Kelley shouted, “Hurry up and go back to Mexico or you’re gonna die.” Varela, in fact, was a third-generation, native-born U.S. citizen. George Santayana, a notable...

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I HAVE Read the Arizona Law. And, It Still Stinks

I was at church on Sunday when a fellow parishioner decided to engage me on the Arizona anti-immigration Law.  His main point was this:  “it is exactly like federal law.”  When I explained to him that it was not actually “exactly” like federal law and that in fact there is no federal law allowing for racial profiling and arresting people because they look “illegal,” he would not believe me (keep in mind, we are at church). I have heard repeatedly over the last month, from folks who may have read the Arizona law, but who have NOT read the federal law, that the Arizona law is somehow nothing more than an extension of what the Federal government already does.  Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the Arizona law is classic Kris Kobach.   When he worked in the Attorney General’s office under Ashcroft, he took Section 263 of the INA (written as part of the Alien Registration Act of 1940 — this law is how we put thousands of Japanese into internment camps), and turned it into “Special Registration” or NSEERS.  NSEERS was designed to have Muslim men who had come into the U.S. legally come and “register” with the then INS.   NSEERS did not require anyone who entered illegally come in and register (that is true).   The program is considered an failure, as it produced...

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The Arizona Law, Immigration Reform and Real Leadership

Much has been written and said about the new Arizona Law pertaining to immigrants (it pertains to everyone actually, and certainly is not limited to undocumented immigrants). From Eugene Robinson and Richard Cohen at the Washington Post, to John Stewart on The Daily Show, and even Tom Tancredo, everyone is up in arms about this law. We have heard from Megan McCain (John McCain’s daughter), President Obama, and even from Governor Jan “Show Me Your Papers” Brewer, all opine about the law and WHY the Arizona Legislature had to act on “illegal” immigration. The conventional wisdom now is that Congress will be “forced” to act on immigration reform. The caution to understand here, from pundits and politicians alike is that the prospect of immigration reform based upon a knee jerk reaction to an unconstitutional law does not change the inherent political dynamics in Congress. Immigration reform needs 60 votes to pass the Senate. The lone Republican who was supporting reform, Senator Lindsey Graham, has threatened to withdraw his support for moving the bill at this time if the Democrats do not move the climate legislation first; other Republican Senators likely to support the bill are not exactly popping out of the woodwork. The caution sign is up. There will be no reform until President Obama exercises real leadership here and relentlessly calls for legislation, and actually proposes workable solutions....

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Perception is Reality

One of my favorite movie lines is from “The Princess Bride.” Vizzini, the mastermind behind the kidnapping of Princess Buttercup, upon seeing the Man in Black pursuing them keeps repeating the word “inconceivable.” Finally, Inigo Montoya, one of of Vizzini’s then assistants says: “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” That simple statement applies to so much in the immigration law world that it is hard to even define situations where it does not apply. Much of what we deal with is really about our perception of what the law is, not about what the law actually says. This is true for legislation and for court decisions. Today, this statement seemed more true than ever. I received an email from the Center for Immigration Studies, the anti-immigration “think tank,” promoting a new web program it is hosting on “Local Law Enforcement Authority to Check Immigration Status.” This email comes with this teaser: This program . . . “discusses a recent court decision affirming that local law enforcement officers may question suspected illegal aliens encounter [sic] about their immigration status and then contact immigration authorities (ICE). Known as Estrada v. Rhode Island, this important decision should reassure local officers that they are not obligated to look the other way when they discover immigration law violations and provide guidance on reasonable actions...

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Immigration, By The Numbers

Yesterday the USCIS released its FY 2009 immigrant visa numbers. More than a million people legally immigrated to the United States in FY 2009. Almost 60% of those folks did so through the adjustment of status process, meaning they were already in the U.S. when their place in line was reached. While not disclosed by USCIS, the supposition is that a number of those folks were actually out of status or, even undocumented, and were able to adjust status using INA 245(i), thePublish Postpenalty law still available to anyone who was a direct or derivative beneficiary of an immigrant visa petition or labor certification filed before April 30, 2001. The most telling part of this report was the tiny portion used by employment based immigrants. The top three employer-based preferences in terms of green cards issued to the “principal” immigrant (not including their family members) remained the same in 2009 as the prior year—professionals with advanced degrees and aliens of exceptional ability (22,098), skilled workers, professionals, and needed unskilled workers (18,359), and multinational executives and managers and other priority workers (16,806). This led me to think about the nasty positions taken by USCIS as it attempts to restrict the number of people immigrating to the U.S. through the severely limited number of employment based visas. The “Neufeld” memo continues to spill over form the H-1B categories into other nonimmigrant...

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