Will immigration reform pass this year? Olympic medalist hopes so.

From the Restore Fairness blog.

It took courage for 18-year old Olympian bronze medalist Simon Cho to relate the inspirational story of his life as an immigrant in America. Born in Seoul, Simon came to the U.S. with his family at the age of four as an undocumented immigrant. Aspiring to give their children the American Dream, Simon’s parents worked tirelessly, day and night, to ensure that their children got the opportunities they deserved. While Simon’s parents worked hard in their seafood shop 365 days of the year, Simon devoted most of his time to speed skating, a sport he was exceptionally good at. Realizing their son’s talent, Simon’s parents sold their shop and everything they had in order to afford his full-time training with the Olympic team in Salt Lake City. Now a U.S. citizen (due to more relaxed immigration regulations at the time), Simon tried for and made the U.S. Olympic speed skating team as one its youngest athletes, returning from this year’s Vancouver games with a bronze medal for the U.S.

Like Simon, thousands of immigrant youth have the potential to realize the American Dream and make their country pride. Unfortunately, many of them never get the chance to do so, and instead, live in fear despite having lived in America most of their lives. 21-year old Jessica Colotl, a student of Political Science and French at Kennesaw State University in Georgia, is a case in point. A bright, diligent young woman, Jessica worked nights in order to pay her tuition and hopes to continue her education and become a lawyer after graduating in the fall. Sounds like someone you know?

A few days ago, as Jessica pulled into her University parking lot, a campus police officer pulled her over saying she was “impeding the flow of traffic.” She was honest about not having a license and being undocumented, and was immediately detained in Cobb Country, in accordance with their 287(g) program that gives local police the power to enforce federal domain immigration law. An immigration judge denied her bond and ordered that she be deported in 30 days. Is she a danger to society? No. Is she draining the resources of the State? No. Is she a hard-working young student who pays taxes and contributes to the economy and the state. Yes. As you read this, Jessica is sitting behind bars in a detention center in Gadsden, Alabama, awaiting deportation to Mexico, a country she hasn’t lived in for over ten years, a country she barely remembers.

Our country’s immigration system is broken and in dire need of reform so that instead of facing the unjust circumstances that Jessica finds herself in, more people can work towards its collective good, the way Olympian Simon Cho is doing. Yesterday, Senate Democrats Harry Reid, Charles Schumer, Richard Durbin, Dianne Feinstein and Robert Menendez introduced a conceptual framework for immigration reform in the hopes of getting immigration reform passed in 2010.

The enforcement heavy proposal calls for enhanced border security and stronger enforcement, continuing with the current 287(g) programs, and leaving in a biometric Social Security card that will serve as an employment verification card. The new legislative framework also includes provisions for more green cards for highly-skilled immigrants and a detailed process for the legalization of undocumented immigrants that would require them to get extensive background checks, pay fines, be fluent in English and undergo a long waiting period before they achieve complete legalization. Additionally, the framework aims to include much-needed pieces like the DREAM Act, AgJOBS and provisions for same sex partner immigration.

Since its introduction yesterday, the proposal has garnered mixed reactions across the board. While advocacy groups are relieved at a concrete plan to register undocumented immigrants and begin the process of legalization, as well as the proposal’s focus on family-based immigration, its prioritization on enforcement and border security has created discomfort. Groups have condemned the bill for calling for increasing border security and enforcement without undertaking any positive provisions. AILA has critiqued Schumer’s new proposal for the increased detention recommendations that do little to rectify all that is wrong with the existing detention and deportation system. The American Civil Liberties Union is deeply dissatisfied with the inclusion of the Biometric ID card program “Believe,” which they predict will be extremely expensive and inefficient, while “usher(ing) government into the very center of our lives.”

As debate over the proposal continues, one thing everyone agrees on is that we need to fix our broken immigration system. Tomorrow, 80 cities around the country will bring in May Day with rallies, protests and marches demanding just and humane immigration that supports civil rights and family values. Find a march near you and be one step closer to fixing the broken immigration system.

Photo courtesy of www.globalimmigrationcounsel.com

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The Return of MyDD

Hi folks!

As one of the Newly Renewed who can again speak his mind without fear or favor, I would like to call on everyone to celebrate with a MojoFest.  I will be spending some of today hunting down people and Mojoing them until my fingers bleed.

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Amnesty for telecoms is illusory

The following represents a first impression view; further elaboration would require legal research.  I believe that the amnesty provision tucked in the telecommunications bill is unconstitutional.  Depriving a cause of action (a transferable asset) without remedy represents a government "taking" and also represents ex post facto legislation.  Inmunity, unlike a pardon, is a temporary resolution that can easily be undone. The current bill may prevent a court from hearing a case based on jurisdictional federal law (power of the purse), nevertheless, constitutional issues  are not subject to such limitation.  The next president may, by fiat, allow criminal prosecutions that cannot be subjected to amnesty without the consent of the sovereign (the president). In other words, amnesty is no pardon which requires conviction and action by the executive. To be sure, the current lawsuits are civil lawsuits subject to regulation.  Now, I know this post scattershots the issue. The point is that the next president will have options concerning the issue despite current legislation. Congress's ability to meddle on jurisdictional/constitutional matters is overstated. Let's put it anothert way; if I burn my neighbor's house, a legislature cannot prevent me from pursuing redress.      

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Jon Kyl: Pro Amnesty

Yesterday, the Arizona Republic ran a story discussing Jon Kyl's support for the 1986 amnesty bill.   [http://www.azcentral.com/...].  The source for the article was a Scottsdale Progress article from 1986 that paraphrased Kyl calling the amnesty bill "an important step in stemming the flow of illegal aliens into the country."

According to a Pederson campaign press release, in April 1988, Kyl (then in the House) voted to extend the amnesty application deadline by several months.  The sponsor of the legislation, Congressman Gekas called it "a wonderful opportunity...to gain the best of both worlds; that is to give the bona fide applicant that extra chance to get amnesty..."

Meanwhile, on the airwaves, Jon Kyl's campaign is running an ad that spreads lies about Jim Pederson by characterizing his immigration plan as amnesty.  Kyl's claims are simply not true.  Even third parties like the East Valley Tribune Reporter Paul Giblin agree.  When discussing a prior Republican attack on Pederson's immigration policy, Giblin called a claim that Pederson supports amnesty an "out-and-out lie." 

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    As many as 500,000 people turned out in Dallas, Texas today.  They wore white to symbolize peace and were smart enough to leave their Mexican flags at home this time and wave the stars and stripes.  
    They are demanding citizenship and unrestricted access to the United States in spite of the law.  A familiar refrain is heard "I am a citizen, I was born here, but they are trying to make my parents into criminals."  The problem with that of course is that according to current law, without HR4437 which by the way has not passed and is no where close to becoming law, they are criminals.  Admittedly they are misdemeanor criminals not felons as the house bill would make them.  
    What goes unchallenged though is the claim to American citizenship.  These protestors assume that they are automatically entitled to American citizenship because they were born on American soil.  
    If we look more closely though that claim may not be as solid as it may seem.   For a look at an example of true birthright citizenship we don't have to go far.  Look at article 30 from the Mexican constitution.
A.    Mexicans by birth are:
I.    Those born in the territory of the Republic, regardless of the nationality of their parents:
That could not be more unequivocal.  However, look at the relevant section of the fourteenth amendment to the United States Constitution:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

So the devil is in the details.  What exactly does "subject to the jurisdiction thereof" mean?  To date that question has not been answered definitively.  Let's look to the political climate of the times for answers.
In January 1863 President Lincoln issued the emancipation proclamation which freed all slaves.  This of course had little practical effect.  In fact in Dallas, Texas where thousands are marching for citizenship for illegal aliens, black slaves did not find out about this proclamation until June 19th.  For many years in the black community "Juneteenth" was celebrated as a holiday.
It was into this breech that Lyman Trumbull, senator from Illinois and committed abolitionist stepped.  Knowing that the proclamation while dramatic had no practical effect, he crafted the 13th amendment to the constitution of the United States  which unequivocally freed all slaves.  
However, as with the proclamation, slave owners and southern states' righters were no more willing to grant rights and freedom to former slaves.  Spending their political capital gained from winning the war the United States of America proffered the 14th amendment.  The critical issues were ensuring that former slaves were not three-fifths of a person as originally decreed in the United States Constitution but full citizens if born in the United States.  Even more importantly it forbade any state or other entity from tampering with those rights.
During debates before the senate Senator Trumbull answered the question as to what "subject to the jurisdiction thereof" meant"

`What do we mean by 'complete jurisdiction thereof?' Not owing allegiance to anybody else. That is what it means.

Senator Jacob Howard concurred:

[I] concur entirely with the honorable Senator from Illinois [Trumbull], in holding that the word "jurisdiction," as here employed, ought to be construed so as to imply a full and complete jurisdiction on the part of the United States

Senator Howard also said:

[T]his amendment which I have offered is simply declaratory of what I regard as the law of the land already, that every person born within the limits of the United States, and subject to their jurisdiction, is by virtue of natural law and national law a citizen of the United States. This will not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers accredited to the Government of the United States, but will include every other class of persons.

That is senate speak at its finest.  John Bingham, the original author of the 14th amendment harrumphed and eventually got around to saying this:

[I] find no fault with the introductory clause [S 61 Bill], which is simply declaratory of what is written in the Constitution, that every human being born within the jurisdiction of the United States of parents not owing allegiance to any foreign sovereignty is, in the language of your Constitution itself, a natural born citizen...

We should teach John Kerry to speak so clearly.  It is clear that our congress, emboldened by victory in the civil war were determined through legislation and constitutional amendment to grant full citizenship and civil rights to freed slaves.  Illegal immigration and anchor babies were not at issue.   These three patriots would be appalled at the claims of citizenship of these marchers.

However, as with the proclamation, slave owners and southern states' righters were no more willing to grant rights and freedom to former slaves.  Spending their political capital gained from winning the war the United States of America proffered the 14th amendment.  The critical issues were ensuring that former slaves were not three-fifths of a person as originally decreed in the United States Constitution but full citizens of the United States of America.  Even more importantly it forbade any state or other entity from tampering with those rights.

The Mexican constitution weighs in on the issue of jurisdiction again in article 30 , this time section 2:

II.    Those born in foreign territory, sons or daughters of Mexican parents born in national territory, a Mexican father born in national territory, or a Mexican mother born in national territory

So then, illegal immigrants, those from Mexico, that is,  are actually under the jurisdiction of and are citizens of Mexico.  And, as such, their offspring can not be United States citizens.  
I understand that law changes and evolves.  For example, We have evolved from Dread Scott, and Plessy v. Ferguson to Brown v. Board of Education.  But the intent of the framers of the 13th and 14th amendment are clear.  Birthright citizenship to the children of illegal aliens is not permitted.

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