The prospects for an immigration overhaul effort that could reshape the contours of American society appeared grim Wednesday after a closed door meeting of House Republicans.
A majority of the fractious House Republican Conference lined up in opposition to (barely) bipartisan legislation already approved by the Democratic-controlled Senate, despite the urging of leaders to do something on the issue.
NPR’s Tamara Keith tells us that after the meeting, Colorado Rep. Doug Lamborn said “there’s almost unanimous agreement among the Republicans that the Senate bill is fatally flawed.”
The Senate bill includes a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, a provision that’s anathema to the majority of House Republicans, most of whom reside in electorally safe, predominantly white districts.
The conservative rank-and-file have a loud and clear message for Republican officials: Support citizenship for illegal immigrants at your own peril.
A sizable plurality of registered GOP voters say they will be less likely to support their incumbent lawmaker if he or she votes for immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship for those currently living illegally in the United States, according to the latest United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll. The findings show that even as national Republican leaders tout the Senate’s reform measure as a political necessity for the party, it remains a risky vote for individual GOP lawmakers wary of a primary challenger.
Nine owners and managers of 7-Eleven stores across Long Island and in Virginia were charged on Monday in a scheme to exploit immigrants from Pakistan and the Philippines, in part by paying them using the stolen Social Security numbers of a child and three dead people.
Most of the defendants were arrested early Monday as federal authorities raided 14 franchise stores. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents were executing search warrants at about 30 other stores across the country suspected of similar infractions, authorities said at a news conference in Brooklyn.
Federal indictments naming eight men and one woman allege that since 2000 they employed more than 50 immigrants who didn’t have permission to be in the U.S. They tried to conceal the immigrants’ employment by stealing the identities of about two dozen people — including those of the child, the dead and a Coast Guard cadet — and submitting the information to the 7-Eleven payroll department.
When 7-Eleven’s headquarters sent the wages for distribution, the employers stole “significant portions” of the workers’ pay, authorities said. The defendants also forced the workers to live in houses they owned and pay them rent in cash, they added.
“The defendants not only systematically employed illegal immigrants, but concealed their crimes by raiding the cradle and the grave to steal the identities of children and even the dead,” U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch said in a statement. “Finally, these defendants ruthlessly exploited their immigrant employees, stealing their wages and requiring them to live in unregulated boarding houses, in effect creating a modern day plantation system.”
Days after they were badly hurt in a car accident, Jacinto Cruz and Jose Rodriguez-Saldana lay unconscious in an Iowa hospital while the American health care system weighed what to do with the two immigrants from Mexico.
The men had health insurance from jobs at one of the nation’s largest pork producers. But neither had legal permission to live in the U.S., nor was it clear whether their insurance would pay for the long-term rehabilitation they needed.
So Iowa Methodist Medical Center in Des Moines took matters into its own hands: After consulting with the patients’ families, it quietly loaded the two comatose men onto a private jet that flew them back to Mexico, effectively deporting them without consulting any court or federal agency.
When the men awoke, they were more than 1,800 miles away in a hospital in Veracruz, on the Mexican Gulf Coast.
Hundreds of immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally have taken similar journeys through a little-known removal system run not by the federal government trying to enforce laws but by hospitals seeking to curb high costs. A recent report compiled by immigrant advocacy groups made a rare attempt to determine how many people are sent home, concluding that at least 600 immigrants were removed over a five-year period, though there were likely many more.
In interviews with immigrants, their families, attorneys and advocates, The Associated Press reviewed the obscure process known formally as “medical repatriation,” which allows hospitals to put patients on chartered international flights, often while they are still unconscious. Hospitals typically pay for the flights.
“The problem is it’s all taking place in this unregulated sort of a black hole … and there is no tracking,” said law professor Lori Nessel, director of the Center for Social Justice at Seton Hall Law School, which offers free legal representation to immigrants.
I highly recommend reading the whole thing.
As an immigrant myself, this disturbs me. I understand that someone has to pay the bills and that Hospitals cannot be expected to care for the uninsured indefinitely but to go from that point to being shipped back to your home country as a result seems almost inhumane.
This practice is shadier than you might even think. Although the excerpt above indicates the hospital sought the permission of the families before sending the two men back, further down it mentions that many hospitals merely only tell immigrants contact with their family has been made when it really hasn’t or, even worse, the families are almost coerced to take the immigrant back.
Also, as mentioned above, this is an unregulated area of immigration. The Department of Homeland Security and ICE have no control, oversight or say in any of the decisions or actions the hospitals take.
That must change. I’m not necessarily advocating this practice stop altogether, but if it is to continue there must be controls, accountability and oversight. You can’t just do these kind of underground deportations with no involvement from government whatsoever.
Senior pastor Kenton Beshore said the first sermons on the plight of illegal immigrants didn’t go over well with many members of his evangelical church, which sits on a 50-acre campus in Orange County and has a 3,400-seat sanctuary, sports facilities, restaurant and a man-made lake.
“We took a hit on it,” said Mr. Beshore. “We had people who walked out and whose giving went away.” It was part of the reason the church ended 2012 with a $500,000 budget shortfall, he said.
But much has changed in the two years since—both at Mr. Beshore’s 14,000-member Mariners Church and at conservative evangelical congregations around the U.S.
After decades of sitting on the sidelines of the debate, evangelical Christians are prodding Republican lawmakers to support a path to U.S. citizenship for the nation’s illegal immigrants, based on their reading of Bible teachings. Evangelical pastors from pulpits across the U.S. cite Scriptures about welcoming strangers. Some compare illegal immigrants with modern-day lepers, who should be treated with compassion by Christians.
An estimated 300 evangelical leaders, including Mr. Beshore, plan to convene in Washington next week to lobby lawmakers of both parties for an immigration policy overhaul, an issue that has divided voters, lawmakers and church congregations.
Arizona’s law aimed at preventing illegal immigrants from registering to vote — which critics say disadvantages the young, elderly, minorities and naturalized citizens — goes before the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday.
The case, which has wound through the courts for years, is the second election-law case recently before the high court that Arizona has a stake in. Alabama’s challenge last month to the landmark Voting Rights Act, which could free Arizona and other states from scrutiny by the Department of Justice over potential racial discrimination in elections procedures, drew more national attention.
But experts and parties to the lawsuit say the case over Arizona’s proof-of-citizenship requirement for voter registrations too could set precedent in how elections are conducted across the country.
The case spotlights the tension between protecting election integrity — which Arizona argues its law does by requiring citizenship documents to register to vote — and encouraging wider voter registration — which Congress sought to do with a simple, nationwide voter-registration form that requires only a signature under penalty of perjury to confirm citizenship.
“This is about a state imposing restrictions that make voter registration more difficult. Whether it’s justified or not, it puts an additional hurdle in the way of the process,” said Justin Levitt, an elections-law professor at Yale and Loyola law schools. “This case is about how smooth voter registration can be.”
AZ Gov. Jan Brewer has just uncovered a SHOCKING new conspiracy theory:
Mess with President Obama and he’ll unleash a horde of dangerous illegal aliens into your state as “payback.” At least that’s Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer’s (R) take, the latest in a growing body of GOP conspiracy theories surrounding the federal government’s decision to release hundreds of immigration detainees ahead of sequester cuts.
Brewer suggested on Fox News Friday that the move, which officials from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency say was a matter of simple budget math, was retaliation for the state’s law cracking down on undocumented immigrants, which has been a major flashpoint in the national immigration debate.
“Well, you know, I personally believe it could be payback,” Brewer said. “It could be to punish Arizona, to make them squirm. They’re pushing back on what we’re pushing on because we want our border secure and we’re strong about it.”
Asked whether Washington was “picking on you,” she replied: “I think it’s pretty obvious that they’re doing everything in their power.”
I are SKARED now!
Pulling Ann Coulter’s teeth.
When I first had this letter from Ann Coulter brought to my attention I wasn’t quite sure how to approach it. I knew I wanted to make a comment about it but felt sure most people who pay any attention to her already know she’s a bigot if not an outright racist and that she feeds people with similar mindsets some very tainted information.
What may be less well known, and what makes her so effective with both her ardent sycophantic followers and ignorant fence sitters is statistical misdirection. As with most of her media savvy friends - those ‘race realists’ firmly camped out within the right wing big tent - she denies the very existence of systemic racism but embraces the concept of reverse racism. If we fall for this obvious DARVO it makes it virtually impossible for us to say anything about her racism unless it can be shown her claims are obviously false.
Most people, while likely fairly literate, are less likely to be knowledgeable about how statistics are used and abused, so will accept official sounding numbers as being accurate and informative. It becomes a simple matter for someone intending to obfuscate the real information to mix and match samples with different focuses or by using unrelated samples that sound related.
“Even under Rubio’s scheme, all the children born to the 11 million newly legalized illegals will be instant citizens, able to collect welfare for their whole families and vote as soon as they are old enough.
Which won’t be long: The vast majority of illegal aliens are Hispanic, and Hispanics have a higher teen birthrate than any other ethnic group. In California, a majority of all Hispanic births are illegitimate. That’s a lot of Democratic voters coming.”
Even a quick look at the quote tells us she knows her intended audience quite well. She knows that with a little leading they will link illegal immigrants to unwed and teenage mothers, unwed mothers to disadvantaged unemployable or lazy children, lazy children to the use of welfare and welfare recipients to voting for the Democratic party. To validate the danger of legalizing illegal immigrants, Coulter throws a few statistical tidbits into the mix.
Her first statistic is the number of illegal immigrants currently living in the US, 11 million. That number is scary but accurate:
In summary, an estimated 11.5 million unauthorized immigrants were living in the United States in January 2011 compared to a revised 2010 estimate of 11.6 million.
She then goes on to tell us that most of those illegals are Hispanic, a vague comment designed to narrow the sample to a specific subset while still keeping it scary. Even if we grant that all the immigrants from specific countries are likely to be Hispanic the actual number is reduced significantly to 8.57 million.
Here comes the reason she wanted to specify Hispanics, their relatively high teenage birth rate of 49.4 per 1000. As Coulter states, it is indeed the highest of all. Of course the birth rate does not give us an idea of actual births without knowing the populations. To get an idea of the population we need to make a few calculations related to Coulter’s comments.
The number of female illegal immigrants less than 19 is around 12% of the total number. You’ll note I didn’t include 19 year old but I did include girls under 15. This is a limitation of the information source I’m using. The number of teenage female illegal immigrants of childbearing age should be around 1,028,400. That needs to be further reduced to just Hispanic females. 8,570,000/11,600,000*100=73.9% so there would be about 760,000 teenage female Hispanic illegal immigrants. At 49.4 per 1000 per year, the number of pregnant teenage Hispanic illegal immigrants would be around 37,544
All of the numbers Coulter uses up til this point are national numbers. She switches to a smaller more specific sample, that of California teenage single mothers, which may or may not reflect that of the larger national sample, in order to set up the welfare connection.
The number of illegal immigrants matching the criteria set by Coulter is tiny in comparison to the scary big number she originally mentioned, yet the way it is presented increases rather than decreases the apocalyptic image Coulter is trying to leave.
The number 37,544 is even less scary when compared to the number of Americans of voting age - 234,564,000. The number of new Hispanic welfare bums voting for the Democrats, even if we assume all children born to unwed teenage mothers end up on welfare and vote Democratic, is less than .016% of the voting public.
The best way to pull Coulter’s teeth is to work the numbers.
Republicans won’t gain a large part of the Hispanic vote anytime soon, but they can chip away at the bloc by wooing elderly Catholic Hispanics, and that’s likely to be their strategy. Since the GOP has only one worn playbook leftover from the ‘80’s there will soon be Pro GOP but Hispanic versions of Tony Perkins, Glenn Beck, and Rush Limbaugh hitting the Latino airwaves if they aren’t there already. The only hard part will be orchestrating the dance at the national level so that the newly minted conservative Latino stars don’t bump shoulders with the Paleo Libertarian/ Nationalist stripe anti immigrant types that the SW GOP is rife with.
Republicans keen on winning back the surging Latino vote will need to get behind the far-reaching immigration reform set out by a group of bipartisan senators yesterday — or risk being pummeled again at the national polls, political observers said.
“We have this demographics time bomb ticking, and we have to stop being the party of the angry white guy,” Alex Patton, a GOP consultant in Florida, told the Herald yesterday, adding that a Republican shift on the issue is “critical” if the GOP is going to compete in the 2016 White House race. “Any bipartisan approach is welcome at this point,” Patton added.
The landmark proposal was trotted out by U.S. senators from both sides of the aisle, led by Democrats Charles Schumer of New York, Dick Durbin of Illinois and Robert Menendez of New Jersey, and Republicans Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, John McCain of Arizona and Marco Rubio of Florida. It was short on details, but sketched out a plan to give more than 11 million illegal immigrants a path to citizenship while stepping up border security
The life of an illegal immigrant is not an easy one. There is the matter of the day to day- work, taking care of family and in the case of younger illegals (the vast majority of them) simply growing up. Then there is the underbelly- the exploitation many illegals have to live with, the challenges they face in procuring necessary documents in this increasingly document- and computerized- society.
While the media tends to focus on the criminal element (Jose Q Public going to work day and day out won’t sell newspapers), the vast majority of illegals are honest, law abiding and hard working seeking no more than than a better life for themselves and their children.
There are many Americans who believe that is liberal spewed hogwash but it is the truth- and it has nothing to do with politics.
Imagine you lived in an environment in which it was virtually impossible to support your family. Imagine your parents, grandparents and other close relatives lived in poverty with no hope of escape. Imagine that environment was filled with corrupt politicians and bureaucrats or criminal gangs. Wouldn’t you do whatever you could to change that reality? Isn’t that what generations of immigrants- legal and otherwise- have done?
Since when has offering the teeming masses an opportunity for a better life, become a political football? How have we become a nation which turns it’s back on ‘wretched refuse’?
Yes, we are a nation of laws- but we are also meant to be a merciful nation. We can find a way to accommodate those who have circumvented the legal and appropriate ways to apply for immigrant status. They may have to wait for those legal applicants to move to the front of the line (where they belong) pay back taxes and so on.
This nation has been enriched by immigrants since her inception, believing in and following the American dream. Shortchanging those law abiding illegal immigrants will hurt them, to be sure- but it will us as a nation, even more.
In the controversy over illegal immigration that has roiled our politics for decades, the image of “living in the shadows” has been invoked by all sides. For immigrant advocates, “the shadows” are where the undocumented are harassed by overzealous law-enforcement officers and exploited by unscrupulous landlords and employers. For many other Americans, “living in the shadows” conjures vaguely sinister intruders using public services to which they are not entitled and preying on law-abiding Americans through illicit activities and crime.
Yet regardless of one’s views on the issue, this imagery is profoundly misleading. It helps to perpetuate the myths and exaggerations that have made our immigration debate so fruitless. Undocumented immigrants are hardly mere victims of economic or political forces beyond their control. But neither are they dangerous criminals or public charges lurking on the fringes of our society. Rather, they are responsible agents who have made difficult choices in a complicated and risky environment — an environment for which all Americans bear some blame.
These choices produce both beneficial and negative consequences for the nation and for the immigrants themselves. And our policies must contend with both sets of effects. If we are to find our way to a solution, we must examine the genuine predicament of the millions of illegal immigrants in our midst without ignoring the legitimate concerns millions of Americans have about their presence.
If we succeeded in removing the hyperbole and stereotypes from the immigration debate, our politics might open itself to a balanced approach to the problem: legalization for as many undocumented immigrants as possible, but citizenship for none of them. Under this proposal, illegal immigrants who so desired could become “permanent non-citizen residents” with no option of ever naturalizing.