Monday, October 11, 2010

U.S. Supreme Court Hears Two Immigration-Related Cases This 2010 Term ("Flores-Villar v. U.S." and "Chamber of Commerce of the U.S. v. Whiting")

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear two immigration-related cases this year.  The first case is Flores-Villar v. United States and it is scheduled to be heard on November 10, 2010.  The issue in that case is whether a gender and time differentiation of U.S. citizen parents before children born overseas can obtain U.S. citizenship violates the Equal Protection Clause.   The second case, scheduled to be heard on December 8, 2010, is Chamber of Commerce of the United States v. Whiting. The issue in that case is whether provisions of Arizona state law aimed at combating the hiring of undocumented workers are preempted by federal immigration laws.  You can review the Merit and Amicus briefs submitted for both of these cases, and all other cases for this 2010 Term, by visiting the American Bar Association's "Preview of U.S. Supreme Court Cases" page. 

Several months ago I posted an entry about my visit to the U.S. Supreme Court with my teenage son.  We had a good time and I encourage readers who have never visited the Court personally, to make it a goal to do so this year. You will find useful information about the U.S. Supreme Court and the cases it will hear this year on the U.S. Supreme Court's website, including their Visitor's Guide to Oral Argument and the U.S. Supreme Court Calendar.  You can also read the biographies of current Justices and a brief overview of the Supreme Court.  Plan your visit well and be there early - lines can get really long, really soon. 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Immigration Enforcement on Steroids. Precursor to Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR)?

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently announced unprecedented immigration enforcement statistics achieved under the Obama administration, including the removal of 392,000 noncitizens - 195,000 of which were convicted criminals. Also announced was the audit of more than 3,200 employers suspected of hiring illegal labor, and the approximately $50 million in financial sanctions imposed.  

“This administration has focused on enforcing our immigration laws in a smart, effective manner that prioritizes public safety and national security and holds employers accountable who knowingly and repeatedly break the law,” said Secretary Napolitano. “Our approach has yielded historic results, removing more convicted criminal aliens than ever before and issuing more financial sanctions on employers who knowingly and repeatedly violate immigration law than during the entire previous administration.”

Who would have thought that the Obama administration would be credited with a more than 70 percent increase in removal of criminal aliens from the Bush administration.  Could this be enough to convince skeptical Republicans to consider the viability of Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR)? 

The way that I see it, the argument of my skeptical Tea Party colleagues goes something like this: "Are you kidding? CIR? You're insane. Look, when President Reagan signed a sweeping immigration reform bill into law in 1986, the promise was that there would be a major crackdown to include tighter security at the Mexican border, that employers would face strict penalties for hiring undocumented workers, and that there wouldn't be a problem of illegal immigration anymore. 25 years later, we have 15 million more undocumented individuals here."  I see their point, somewhat.  These are fighting words after all, and that's why I enjoy talking to my Tea Party friends, over tea and crackers (no pun intended), and I avoid the issue of immigration altogether (most of the time).

Maybe President Obama is a genius after all (on the issue of immigration - mind you). If my conspiracy theory is right, President Obama is laying the groundwork to push CIR forward in the Spring of 2011. He'll bring all the skeptics together and say: "Now hold on, I know I'm not the father of the modern conservative movement, but you wanted troops on the border - and I gave it to you; You wanted more deportations, and I gave it to you - 70% more than your beloved President Bush; You wanted more work site enforcement, and I gave it to you; You wanted strict penalties for employers who hire undocumented workers, and I gave it to you; You wanted nothing to do with "amnesty", so I gave you "comprehensive immigration reform" or "earned legalization" - pick the term you like; WHAT ELSE DO YOU WANT?" Ok, maybe he won't be yelling at the end, but it sure would be nice to watch.