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July 2012 Archives

Obama Immigration Reform Plan

Since President Obama’s announcement in regard to granting deferred action to undocumented immigrants who were brought into the U.S. as youths, a heated debate has erupted between those against and those in support of this decision. Those against this initiative argue that it will act as a detriment to U.S.-born workers and U.S. educational institutes, and this will, in turn, harm the nation’s economy. For those concerned about these supposed economic the following studies conducted by a wide variety of institutions will hopefully serve as some form of consolation as they show that the benefits of this initiative far outweigh the costs. Deferred Action Misconceptions Extinguished Now The initiative has not been formed with lack of reason: those undocumented immigrant youths in question consider the U.S. their primary home and speak English as their first language; they attend primary and secondary school and do exceedingly well, opening gateways to support the nation as future professionals in a wide array of high-skilled professions. Unfortunately, due to their legal status, or the lack thereof, the opportunity to continue on to higher education institutes and potential careers which would benefit not only themselves, but also the economy, is diminished indefinitely.

Immigrants Rights

Racial profiling might take on a new meaning after Monday, when the Supreme Court delivered a split decision on Arizona’s controversial immigration law. Unanimously upholding the centerpiece of the law, the provision which has come to be called the “show me your papers” provision, the court struck multiple other provisions. The upholding of this “papers please” provision has opened a floodgate of criticism, and rightly so. The provision requires state law enforcement officials to demand immigration papers from anyone who is stopped or arrested and whom they suspect might be undocumented. This process invites and perhaps even encourages racial profiling. Additionally, this provision also establishes a protocol for law enforcement officials to check the immigration status with the federal government before releasing all those who are arrested.Supreme Court Upholds Papers Please Provision TodayThe three other challenged provision made it a criminal offense for undocumented immigrants to not only seek employment in, but also to be in Arizona, and allowed law enforcement officials to arrest anyone whom they suspected to have committed an offense which would result in deportation, all without a warrant.

Papers Please Provision

Justice Antonin Scalia orally summarized his dissent while on the bench in regard to Arizona’s authority “to impose additional penalties and consequences for violations of the federal immigration laws, because it is entitled to have its own immigration laws.” Additionally, he criticized President Obama’s announcement about deferred action made earlier this month. If the latter action seems odd, it must be because it is rather odd as this policy was not one that was before the court. Furthermore, he wrote in his dissent, similar to Justice Clarence Thomas’ own dissent, that he would have upheld all four of the challenged provisions. Justice Samuel Alito wrote that he would have upheld all the provisions but those that criminalized not registering with the federal government. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, writing for the majority, noted one of the reasons for striking down three of the challenged provisions, “the state may not pursue policies that undermine federal law.”

Papers Please Dissent

Supreme Court Upholds Papers Please Provision NowThe upholding of the “show me your papers” provision, however, is rather daunting; it provides a stepping stone for other states that have similar immigration statutes as Arizona. The discourse that this Supreme Court ruling puts in place, though it might be put under review and eventually struck down if its implementation is conducted using discriminatory ways, is still cause for worry. Will this decision be a match that lights an already teeming powder keg?If you would like to speak with one of our expert Attorney's regarding the "Papers Please" ruling we invite you to call our office (212) 944-9072 or schedule an appointment with Oltarsh & Associates, P.C.

Illegal Immigration News

Joined Forces Might Have Played Role In Obama’s Deferred Action AnnouncementJohn Lennon famously sang “Give Peace A Chance” during anti-Vietnam war rallies during the Nixon administration. This song resounded forcefully as his deportation was ordered and scores of his supporters sent petition letters to the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Government officials claimed that Lennon had not only been admitted into the country improperly - pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge of cannabis possession in London prior to his entering the U.S. - but had also overstayed his permitted visit. Meanwhile, supporters of Lennon claimed that this action was taken by the Nixon administration in order to dowse one of the most vocal and effective anti-war actors.

United We Dream

Lennon’s defense attorney reverted to using a prosecutorial tool then known as granting non-priority status, arguing that federal immigration authorities have the prosecutorial power to defer action on certain cases. Today, this has come to be known as granting deferred action. A similar phenomenon occurred exactly forty years after Lennon’s case. Earlier this month, President Obama announced plans to grant deferred action to those undocumented immigrants who were brought into the U.S. as minors. Similar to Lennon’s situation, this decision by the President might have been spurred on by letters and grass-roots movements.United We Dream ActNinety-six law professors from more than seventy universities nationwide signed a letter dated May 28th of this year, advising the President that the executive branch has the authority to defer deportation of undocumented foreign youths. Hiroshi Motomura, a Susan Westerberg Prager law professor at UCLA drafted the letter after becoming increasingly involved in grass-roots immigrant advocacy groups, specifically United We Dream, providing background on certain legal matters to students at his university.

United We Dream Leaders

United We Dream leaders, planning on meeting with White House legal counsel in early June, were able to use this letter as one of their strongest support systems. While the counsel might have been able to reject the leaders claiming there was no legal way in which to carry through their demands, there was no possible manner in which to reject a letter signed by nearly 100 law professors.Motomura, in support of the letter, said: “The reason that this is part of the president’s executive authority and fits within prosecutorial discretion is that we’re not talking about giving people green cards. We’re not talking about putting people on a path to citizenship. …It’s not even legalization.”United We Dream ACTWhether this letter served as a prominent reason for President Obama’s announcement or not is difficult to gauge; however, the most important point is that academia is joining forces with grass-roots movements in order to give hope a chance. If your situation involves any of the DREAM ACT dynamics, we invite you to contact one of the partners at Oltarsh & Associates.
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