Musings on Immigration

Our Globally Recognized Team of Immigration Lawyers Sharing Knowledge and Providing Counsel on Immigration Issues that Affect You, Your Business and Your Family

Obama is to Blame for the Failure of Immigration Reform

There has been a lot of casting of blame for this last weekend's vote against a sensible and compassionate immigration bill that would have given hope and a future to hundreds of thousands of immigrant children. Most of the pointing fingers direct blame at the Republicans for their "filibuster" of the DREAM Act. Without dispute the Republicans have, in fact, adopted a virulent anti-immigration position that will ultimately lead to minority status for the party. But Republicans are not the reason the DREAM Act failed. Everyone knew that Republicans would not vote for the DREAM Act. The only three Republicans who did vote for the DREAM Act either are leaving Congress or do not have a concern about the right wing of the party. So, if the Republicans are not to blame, who is? President Obama and the Democrats. Really.

Here are 5 reasons why President Obama is to blame for the failure of immigration reform.

1. Five Democratic Senators abandoned the party and voted against the DREAM Act. One other Democratic Senator was attending a Christmas Party. There is no evidence whatsoever that the White House made a single call to these Senators to secure their votes. The DREAM Act was 5 votes short of breaking the "filibuster" and passing cloture. That math is simple enough, no? If these Senators did what their party wanted and needed them to do, the DREAM Act passes. It appears someone dropped the ball.

2. If Democrats were serious about the DREAM Act, why not MAKE the Republicans actually conduct a filibuster? Make than talk ad nausea until the end of the session or until the American public grows tired of the obstructionism?

3. How many speeches did President Obama give endorsing the DREAM Act? None as near as I can find. Yes, he mentioned the DREAM Act on a couple of occasions in other contexts and his Spokesman Robert Gibbs referred to it in press briefings. But, we all saw that when President Obama wants something passed he ADVOCATES for it. Take the Health Care bill for example. How many times did President Obama give speeches urging, demanding, cajoling for passage of the Health Care bill? Oh, about a jillion. Every day in the months leading up to the vote in the Congress there was President Obama on CNN, FoxNews, MSNBC, giving a speech surrounded by uninsured people in urgent need of health care. He was constantly meeting with wavering Senators. Don't you think that had something to do with the passage of the bill? Where was he on Immigration Reform in the fall? One speech! Where has he been for the last two months on the DREAM Act? Missing in action.

4. Enforcement priorities--President Obama has deported more people than President Bush. Period. The theory for the Obama Administration is that if we just enforce the law enough the Republicans will support comprehensive immigration reform. And, advocacy groups allowed President Obama to get away with this strange, irrational theory of enforcement. President Obama is bringing Secure Communities to a police station near you. President Obama is putting employers out of business for not properly dotting all their "i's" and crossing all their "t's " on the worlds most complicated form, the Form I-9. President Obama is opening more private prisons and putting non-criminal foreign nationals in detention centers far removed from their families, lawyers and the real world in an effort to get these folks to give up and not fight their removal. President Obama is unwilling to put forward a working plan for immigration reform, leaving it up to the anti-immigrant crowd to provide Congress draft legislation for doing so.

Had enough? Not yet? Okay

5. Adjudicatory Processes--President Obama is allowing USCIS to adopt crazy, unrealistic, anti-business, extra-regulatory requirements for visas which have long served America well, such as the H-1B, the L-1B, the E-2, and even the EB-5 Investor Visas! USCIS is ramping up the "FDNS" or the "fraud unit," in an attempt to FIND fraud where none exists. These fraud units, which operate without the ability to prosecute actual perpetrators of fraud, appear to trying to find work to do, rather than actually addressing a real need. Meanwhile, USCIS delays adjudication of cases such as the H-1B to force employers to pay the "premium processing" fee of $1,225, which is nothing short of extortion. USCIS raises fees without raising the quality of services, or shortening the adjudicatory process. USCIS continues to delay the processing of FOIA requests and continues to withhold relevant information in direct contradiction to President Obama's first executive order on government openness.

I could go on, but why? President Obama and his administration has shown no desire to actually fix the immigration system America suffers under at this time. He has shown no leadership on the immigration issue. President Obama has not lived up to his campaign promises to immigrants, and Latinos specifically. And yet, President Obama and the Democrats keep coming back to the immigrant well asking for their support in the next election with the promise that if they get reelected they will finally "fix" the broken immigration system.

The reality is it is time for voters who want the immigration system fixed to better serve America, make legality the norm, create greater national security, and reduce illegal immigration to either hold the Democrats and President Obama directly responsible for their failures to date, or somehow get the Republicans to withdraw from their current anti-immigration position. Otherwise, Hispanic, Asian, African and other new immigrant voters may have no one to carry their views on immigration to successful legislation for many years to come.

The Lies of DREAM Act Opponents

I just ran across this blog by James Sinclair detailing the lies of the opponents of the DREAM Act. It is well worth your time reading it.

Is the Dream Act really about race?

Gabe Gonzales of the Huffington Post posted some interesting thoughts about race and the Dream Act. On December 13th he stated:

"I want to thank and applaud the candor of Rep. Dana Rohrabacher from California and Glenn Beck of Fox News. They finally had the courage and audacity to say what so many of us knew to be true but would never admit.

The immigration debate is not about law, not about fairness, not about justice. It's about race. Plain and simple. It's about the fear of more brown people coming into our society, our culture.

When debating the DREAM act, Rohrabacher said, "This legislation not only increases the burden on our hard-pressed government programs and services, but will give foreigners who are here illegally preference over non-minority citizens." Non-minority citizens. Hmmm. That's an interesting phrase. Whatever do you mean Rep. Rohrabacher?

We all know what he means. "Non-minority citizens" means "white people." He doesn't even try to disguise who he's most interested in protecting. It's not American citizens, only "non-minority citizens." The rest of us are out of luck.

Beck was even more straight forward. He announced that the DREAM Act would mean, "...if you're white or you're an American citizen or a white American citizen, you're pretty much toast. "

Just like the Arizona law. Just like Sharron Angle putting Latino gang bangers in her political ads. Just like the manufactured debate about the 14th Amendment. What they all meant was very plain. We don't want brown people here. They aren't welcome. This country is for white people. This is about race. Nothing else. Race.

You will know this to be true by the howls of protest that will come from the right when they read this post. How dare we speak of race? How dare we impugn the character of the non-minority Rep. Rohrabacher? How dare we speak the truth? Watch. It will happen. And you will know them by how much they protest. For Rohrabacher and people like him: Opposing immigration reform is about race.

Take the debate on the 14th Amendment. Why are all these right wing ideologues, strict defenders of the Constitution, suddenly willing to throw out an amendment that has been part of our countries legacy for over a hundred years? Why attack the 14th Amendment? Why do it now?

We know the answer. It's about race.

The 14th Amendment says that anyone born in this country is considered a U.S. citizen. It is our birthright. Since 1868, it has been the law of the land. But now, a number of non-minority representatives, people like Rohrabacher, Rep. Steve King (Iowa), and Rep. Lamar Smith (Texas), want to do away with it. Why? Why now?

We know the answer, it's about race.

Thank god we live in America. It's true that as a country we have a long way to go in solving our race problems. Injustices remain, there are still things to fix, battles to be won, and it will take all of us working together to win them. But one thing is clear, we as a country don't like racists, no matter how much they cover their thoughts up with pretty language and seemingly rational arguments. We just don't like them, and they can't win.

I know there are lots of people who have genuine concerns about immigration policy in the U.S. Questions about security can be genuine. Worries about integrating the undocumented into our society can be genuine. But I for one am convinced that when we have a rational discussion about this, the vast majority of Americans will come solidly down on the side of legalizing the undocumented, and creating a rational, workable way for those who want to join this country to do so. I am equally convinced that those who shout the loudest, drowning out any chance for real discussion, are not concerned about immigration policy, border security or even fairness.

For them, it's about race.

I think the Republican Party has a choice to make. It can allow people like Rohrabacher Angle and Jan Brewer to dominate their politics, or it can chart a new course. It can stand with those flirt with overt racism, or stand against them. There is no middle ground here. There is no ducking.

If you believe like I do that hate and racism have no place in our politics and that only by finding common ground can we solve our problems, then remember the words of Rohrabacher. Remember what Glenn Beck's concerns really are. Remember those words and the words of those who would defend them, and remember that for those who shout loudest,

It's about race."


An Open Letter to Senator Isakson

Lino Rodriguez, an attorney at Kuck Immigration Partners, responds to Senator Isakson's Mean spirited response to a request that he be a DREAM Act Sponsor

Dear Senator Isakson,

First off let me say that I hope, and pray, that the DREAM Act succeeds, as it is both fiscally and humanely a step in the right direction. As a constituent I am deeply disappointed in your stance on the matter. In your e-mail you write:

• “I believe the DREAM Act would reward those who have obtained an education in a system in which they have not contributed.”

With all due respect, this is simply not the truth. These children and their parents pay into our system daily through sales taxes, property taxes, and even income taxes (through the use a Tax ID number). Moreover, these families boost our economy through their day to day spending. To say that they have not contributed to the system is a gross overstatement.

Many of these young adults have taken it upon themselves to continue their education while paying out of state tuition to simply be met with a dead end. This money is, again, a large contribution to the “system” you mention.

To punish these children for their parents’ illegal entry when they were just minors is truly unconscionable. Can you honestly tell me that these minors should have looked up at their mother or father at the border and said, “This is not a good idea, we should probably turn around.” That is, simply, absurd. We should be encouraging these individuals to become productive members of our society; which is exactly what the DREAM Act would create.

What we are creating for these kids, “Americans” for all intents and purposes, is a situation where they have nothing for which to strive. The DREAM Act would strengthen our country by creating a more educated populace, strengthen our military by opening up a pool of would be applicant, and create a sense of hope in an entire generation of immigrant children.

Those that would seek the protection of the DREAM Act are not here by choice, yet we are treating them as if they made the choice to come to the United States illegally. They are stuck through no fault of their own. Instead of punishing them for something they had no control over; let’s reward them for their good character and drive to become productive, educated, members of our society.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,



Lino R. Rodriguez, Jr., Esq.

Here is the email Lino received from Senator Isakson:
Dear Mr. Rodriguez:

As someone who has contacted me in the past about immigration issues, I thought you would find the following update interesting. If you do not want to receive this type of update in the future, please fill out the webform on my website and choose "DO NOT SEND ISSUE UPDATES" from the drop down topic list.

On Tuesday, November 30th, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) filed a new version of the so-called DREAM Act, which would create a path to conditional legal status for some undocumented children of illegal immigrants who go to college or join the military. Senator Reid is expected to seek a procedural vote to allow the measure to proceed on Thursday.

While I understand the complex details of students who are seeking financial assistance for educational purposes who were brought to this country by their parents without a choice, I will not support programs that reward illegal activity. I believe the DREAM Act would reward those who have obtained an education in a system in which they have not contributed.

I have always stood firm on pushing the Senate to secure our borders and have always drawn a clear distinction between legal and illegal immigration. Those individuals who come to our country legally and obey our laws should be welcomed. But at the same time we must secure our borders and end the opportunity of illegal entry. I will therefore vote against the procedural motion to allow debate on the DREAM Act to proceed.

I further believe that this is the wrong time to be considering such legislation and the Senate's first priority during this lame duck session should be to extend the expiring tax cuts immediately. It would be unconscionable to raise taxes on any American during these tough economic times.

Thank you again for contacting me. If I can be of any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me again.

Sincerely,
Johnny Isakson
United States Senator