Category Archive immigration reform

ByPhillip Kim

Summary of Executive Action Obama Announced Today, 11/20/2014.

Today, 11/20/2014, President Barack Obama announced broad executive action to offer temporary relief from deportation to millions of undocumented immigrants.

“If you’ve been in America for more than five years; if you have children who are American citizens or legal residents; if you register, pass a criminal background check, and you’re willing to pay your fair share of taxes – you’ll be able to apply to stay in this country temporarily, without fear of deportation,”

The most controversial aspect of the president’s executive order allows as many as five million undocumented immigrants to stay in the U.S., including the undocumented parents of children born here. Those parents will be able to request deportation relief and work permits for three years at a time, provided that they register, pass background checks, pay fees, and prove that their legal resident or citizen child was born before the date of the executive order.

The plan also protects more so-called “DREAMers” — young immigrants brought to the United States illegally as children. Previously, individuals were eligible for deferred action if they were born after 1981 and entered the country before 2007. That date is expected to change to January 1, 2010, with no age limit.

Obama noted that the move would not grant undocumented immigrants citizenship or the right to remain in the country permanently. And he said that he will still push for a legislative solution

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ByPhillip Kim

Unauthorized Immigrants Today: A Demographic Profile

Data from the U.S. Census Bureau and other sources provide some much-needed social context to the immigration debate.

(1) Three-fifths of unauthorized immigrants have been here for over a decade.

(2) One out of every 20 U.S. workers is an unauthorized immigrant.

(3) While unauthorized immigrants are concentrated in California, Texas, Florida, and New York, there are sizeable populations of unauthorized immigrants in other states across the country.

(4) Three-fifths of unauthorized immigrants come from Mexico, but significant numbers also come from Central America and the Philippines.

(5) Nearly half of all adult unauthorized immigrants have children under the age of 18, and roughly 4.5 million native-born U.S.-citizen children have at least one parent who is an unauthorized immigrant.

(6) More than half of unauthorized immigrant adults have a high-school diploma or more education.

(7) Nearly half of longtime unauthorized households are homeowners.

(8) Approximately two-fifths of unauthorized immigrant adults attend religious services every week.

(9) The size of the unauthorized population stands at just under 12 million.

(10) The Pew Research Center estimates that there were 11.7 million unauthorized immigrants in the country as of 2012; virtually the same as in 2008. This was down from a high of 12.2 million in 2007, but up from 8.6 million in 2000

*** As you can see above, most unauthorized immigrants are already integrating into U.S. society not only through their jobs, but through their families and communities as well.


ByPhillip Kim

Obama Wants to Issue Work Permits to Undocumented Immigrants before November Mid-Term Elections

Even as they grapple with an immigration crisis at the border, White House officials are making plans to act before November’s mid-term elections to grant work permits to potentially millions of immigrants who are in this country illegally, allowing them to stay in the United States without threat of deportation, according to advocates and lawmakers in touch with the administration.

Such a large-scale move on immigration could scramble election-year politics and lead some conservative Republicans to push for impeachment proceedings against President Barack Obama, a prospect White House officials have openly discussed.

Yet there’s little sign that the urgent humanitarian situation in South Texas, where unaccompanied minors have been showing up by the tens of thousands from Central America, has impeded Obama from making plans to address some portion of the 11.5 million immigrants now in this country illegally. Obama announced late last month that congressional efforts to remake the nation’s dysfunctional immigration system were dead and he would proceed on his own authority to fix the system where he could.

Since then he’s asked Congress for $3.7 billion to deal with the crisis of unaccompanied youths, a request that’s gone unmet even as the House and the Senate scramble to see if they can vote on some solution to the crisis this week before adjourning for their annual August recess.

Meanwhile, White House officials led by Domestic Policy Council Director Cecilia Munoz and White House Counsel Neil Eggleston, along with Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, have been working to chart a plan on executive actions Obama could take, hosting frequent meetings with interest groups and listening to recommendations from immigration advocates, law enforcement officials, religious leaders, Hispanic lawmakers and others.

Advocates and lawmakers who were in separate meetings Friday said that administration officials are weighing a range of options including reforms to the deportation system and ways to grant relief from deportation to targeted populations in the country, likely by expanding Obama’s two-year-old directive that granted work permits to certain immigrants brought here illegally as youths. That program, called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, has been extended to more than 500,000 immigrants so far.

Advocates would like to see deferred action made available to anyone who would have been eligible for eventual citizenship under a comprehensive immigration bill the Senate passed last year, which would be around 9 million people. But Obama told them in a meeting a month ago to “right-size” expectations, even as he pledged to be aggressive in steps he does take.

That’s led advocates to focus on other populations Obama might address, including parents or legal guardians of U.S. citizen children (around 3.8 million people as of 2009, according to an analysis by Pew Research’s Hispanic Trends Project) and parents or legal guardians of DACA recipients (perhaps 500,000 to 1 million people, according to the Fair Immigration Reform Movement).

“Our parents deserve to live without the fear of deportation,” Maria Praeli, a 21-year-old who came to the United States from Peru 16 years ago, said at a protest outside the White House on Monday. “It is time for the president to go big and to go bold.”

Another focus could be the potentially hundreds of thousands of people who might be eligible for green cards today if current law didn’t require them to leave the country for 10 years before applying for one.

At the same time, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce says it is actively working to determine whether there are steps Obama could take by executive action that could help the business community.

For Obama, the political repercussions of broad executive action on immigration could be unpredictable, and extreme.

Republicans are warning he could provoke a constitutional crisis.

“It would be an affront to the people of this country which they will never forgive, it would be a permanent stain on your presidency,” Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., said on the Senate floor Monday, while urging language to block such executive action be made part of any legislation to address the border crisis.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., announced plans to use an oversight hearing on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency Tuesday to raise questions about Obama’s plans, which he warned could “worsen the border crisis and encourage many more to come.”

On the other side, some Democrats have debated the best timing for Obama to take executive action, raising questions as to whether acting before the midterms could hurt vulnerable Senate Democrats in close races while boosting turnout among the GOP base.

But liberal advocates noted that Obama’s move on deferred action two years ago gave him a boost heading into his re-election and could help this year with Latino voters discouraged over the failure of immigration reform legislation and record-high deportations on Obama’s watch. Republicans would be in a position of deciding whether to come out in favor of deporting sympathetic groups, such as parents, and many liberals say impeachment talk would only shore up Democratic base voters.

“Most Democrats will be thrilled” if Obama acts boldly on immigration, said Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice, a leading advocacy group. “And Republicans will keep lurching to the right and cementing their reputation as the anti-immigrant party.”

(From AP and Yahoo News)

ByPhillip Kim

California Will Allow Driver’s Licenses For Undocumented Immigrants Under AB 60

New DMV locations are currently being set up throughout California to accommodate the increase in driver’s license applications due to AB 60. Fresno is amongst one of the cities which will have a new DMV building to accomodate such increase. The new DMV office will replace the current existing DMV office on Olive and Weber Avenue and will be triple the size of the Olive office.

AB 60 was signed into law by California Governor Jerry Brown last year. AB 60 would provide undocumented immigrants the opportunity to apply for a driver’s license in California. This law will be effective January 1, 2015.

The DMV Chief Deputy Director Jean Shiomoto commented in a press release that “This law will improve public safety for all Californians by helping ensure that undocumented persons pass a written and driving test and obtain proof of insurance and license before driving their vehicles in California. Thanks to AB 60, we believe more drivers will be safer on California roads.”

DMV expects to receive about 1.4 million more applications for licenses over the next three years beginning in 2015 when the AB 60 law takes effect.

Governor Brown has proposed a state budget of $64.7 million to the DMV which will include hiring approximately 900 more employees statewide and for expansion of facilities.

ByPhillip Kim

House Will Consider Immigration Reform

The House has recently added the issue of immigration reform on their agenda for this month and next month. To read more about the updates of immigration reform, read Laura Matthew’s article below:

2013 Immigration Reform Makes Cantor’s Legislative Agenda, But Uncertainty Remains Over Undocumented

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., indicated in a recent memo to Republicans that a vote on 2013 immigration reform bills may come this fall, as the topic was added to the legislative agenda for this month and the next.

Cantor noted that the House “may begin considering” this fall the five bills passed in various committees. No one in the majority leader’s office was available for a comment Wednesday evening on when exactly the bills will be brought to the floor. “Before we consider any other reforms, it is important that we pass legislation securing our borders and providing enforcement mechanisms to our law enforcement officials,” the memo read.

This should be a good sign for immigration reform advocates: Unlike in previous memos from Cantor, this one did not mention immigration reform as an afterthought — even though thorny issues like appropriations, debt limit, Syria, nutrition (food stamps) and Obamacare all came before it on the agenda, in that particular order.

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ByPhillip Kim

Lawmakers’ Support for Immigration Reform

As the debate over immigration reform continues, lawmakers share their support for the bill. To read more the immigration reform bill, read Huffington Post’s article below:

Family Struggles Drive Lawmakers’ Support For Immigration Reform

There are a number of phrases that are repeated over and over in the immigration debate. Politicians talk about securing the border and bringing talent into the country. Some call for a fair path to citizenship, others stoke fears about “amnesty.” But there’s one line that’s arguably the most popular: “The U.S. is a nation of laws, but it’s also a nation of immigrants.”

The immigrant experience is closer to some members of Congress than it is to others. There are some, such as Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), who are immigrants themselves; others are children or grandchildren of immigrants. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) often talks about his parents leaving Cuba for Florida, where they worked in low-wage jobs so their son could go to school and eventually work his way to the upper chamber. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), in touting his support for comprehensive immigration reform, tells stories about his mother moving from Lithuania to the U.S. as a child.

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ByPhillip Kim

Immigration Reform Lives Through August

Although many thought anti-immigration reformers were going to use August in their favor, it turns out that many more Republicans have become interested in allowing the pathway to citizenship instead. To read more about immigration reform, Jennifer Rubin’s article below:

Immigration reform survives August

One by one, House Republicans are coming forward to say they’d be interested in citizenship via a step-by-step process, even if it is done through a series of bills.

As I have noted several times, evangelical leaders are speaking out and have made an ad buy. Now Catholics are joining in, the New York Times reports:

Catholic bishops and priests from major dioceses across the country will preach a coordinated message next month backing changes in immigration policy, with some using Sunday Masses on Sept. 8 to urge Congressional passage of a legislative overhaul that includes a path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants.

The decision to embrace political action from the pulpit is part of a broader effort by the Roman Catholic Church and other faith groups that support President Obama’s call for new immigration laws. It includes advertising and phone calls directed at 60 Catholic Republican lawmakers and “prayerful marches” in Congressional districts where the issue has become a divisive topic.

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ByPhillip Kim

Evangelicals Support Immigration Reform


As representatives are on their August recess, Evangelical advocates for immigration reform are making their voices heard. To read more about immigration reform, read Erin Kelly’s article below:

Evangelical group to back immigration reform

A coalition of evangelical Christians will spend more than $400,000 on radio ads urging members of Congress to support immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship for most of the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States.

The ads, which will run mainly on Christian radio stations this month, are aimed at spurring evangelicals to lobby their lawmakers to support reform. The ad buy is the largest to date by the Evangelical Immigration Table, which has spent nearly $1 million since its founding 14 months ago

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ByPhillip Kim

McCain Backs Immigration Reform

Senator John McCain shows his support for immigration reform and says the U.S. must act to finally move past this issue. To read more about how McCain is advocating for immigration reform, read Dan Nowicki’s article below:

McCain: Backing immigration reform sends right message

Arizona’s Capitol Hill delegation could send an “important” message that the state has moved past immigration controversies by unanimously backing a comprehensive border-reform package, Sen. John McCain said Monday.

Speaking at an Arizona Chamber of Commerce roundtable meeting, McCain, R-Ariz., sought to rally allies in the business community to get involved and “in a respectful fashion” emphasize to the state’s Republican U.S. House members how important immigration reform is to the economy. With Congress currently home from Washington on a five-week break, the time to make the case for immigration reform is now, he said.

“We need to get this issue done, and behind us,” McCain said. “And especially, I might say, in the state of Arizona, which has faced so much controversy and so much publicity, that it would be great if we saw the entire Arizona delegation support this comprehensive immigration reform.”

McCain, the primary Republican negotiator of a sweeping bipartisan immigration system overhaul that the Senate passed in late June, met with several groups Monday as part of a one-man push to motivate Arizona business and religious leaders to help persuade the state’s U.S. House delegation to support the effort, which would include a pathway to citizenship for many of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants already settled in the country as well as a massive border-security investment, workplace-enforcement measures and new visa programs for foreign workers.

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ByPhillip Kim

Activist Luis Gutierrez for Immigration Reform

Republican Luis Gutierrez transcends national Spanish TV to advocate for immigration reform. His influence is felt by the cheering crowds as he partakes in rallies.To read more about how Luis Gutierrez is advocating for immigration reform, read Ed O’Keefe’s article below:

Luis Gutierrez: Immigration reform activist and Spanish TV star

All summer long, Rep. Luis Gutierrez has been drawing sizable and enthusiastic crowds at immigration rallies nationwide. From California to Nevada to Florida, the congressman from Chicago is received like a rock star: People cheer when he enters the room; they pump their fists and stomp their feet. And when he’s finished speaking, they press forward to get close to him, tugging at his shirt and refusing to leave until he agrees to have his photo taken with them.

The contentious immigration reform debate in Washington has produced a steady stream of familiar faces — Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) or President Obama and House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) — making familiar arguments. But among a huge segment of Latinos who get their news from Spanish-language media, Gutierrez (D-Ill.) is the face, the voice and the political force behind immigration reform, and has been for years.

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