Home Immigration


5 Things To Know About Arizona Immigration Law

5 Things To Know About Arizona Immigration Law


1. What is 2011 Arizona Immigration Law?

The Arizona immigration law SB1070, titled “Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act,” is an act that was approved on Monday, April 19, 2010 by the Arizona Legislature. It was then signed into Arizona law on Friday, April 23, 2101 by Arizona’s Governor Jan Brewer.

The Arizona immigration law SB1070 text includes provisions that add state penalties that are related to enforcing immigration law, such as harboring or transporting illegal immigrants, trespassing, employer sanctions, human smuggling, and alien registration documents.

The trespassing provision of the new Arizona immigration law 2010 is one of the first of this kind of law to be enacted in the U.S. In The newest reports regarding state immigration laws by the National Conference of State legislature has shown that only a few states have ever attempted to set up a state trespassing violation in response to unlawful presence. These previous bills were introduced but did not pass in Arizona in both 2008 and 2009, Colorado in 2008, Texas in 2009, and California in 2007.

On the same day the Governor signed Arizona immigration law SB1070, signed the bill, she also issued Executive Order 2010-09, which required the Arizona Peace Officers Standards & Training Board to set up training to guarantee that law enforcement could apply Governor Brewer in a manner consistent with the federal laws which regulate immigration, while protecting the civil rights of all individuals who respect the privileges of U.S. citizenship.

The executive order for Arizona law SB1070 also required clear guidance on exactly what constitutes as reasonable suspicion. A list was created by the Training Board detailing the specific list of identification that can be used to assume that an individual is not actually an alien who is unlawfully residing in the United States.

2. Reasoning Behind New Arizona Immigration Law 2010

In April 2010, Arizona had approximately 460,000 illegal immigrants within the state, which was a fivefold increase from the amount in 1990. Arizona has the highest illegal crossings between Mexico and United States. By the end of the 1990's, this area became the location where the most arrests by U.S. Border Patrol occurred.

It is uncertain whether illegal immigrants commit a higher number of crimes. Depending on the academics or authorities involved, many claim the rate is equal, less, or greater in comparison to the overall population. There is also a lot of concern due to the Mexican Drug War, being brought over to the country as well.

Arizona has an extensive history of passing strong restrictions on illegal immigration, such as the legislation in 2007 that created heavy sanctions on employers who hired illegal immigrants. Other measures which were similar to Arizona immigration law SB1070 were passed by the Arizona Legislature in 2006 as well as 2008. However, both were vetoed by Governor Janet Napolitano, a Democrat. Afterwards, she was elevated to the position of Secretary of Homeland Security with the Obama Administration. Jan Brewer, the Republican Secretary of State then took her place as Governor of Arizona.

The social climate for that allowed Arizona immigration law SB1070 to pass was due to the shifting demographics that resulted in a greater Hispanic population, a struggling state economy, increased human and drug smuggling-related crimes in both Arizona and Mexico, as well as the overall economic stress that occurred in the late 2000’s recession. Furthermore, residents of Arizona State were increasingly frustrated by the lack of significant federal progress on the immigration problem.

The major legislative force and sponsor of the Arizona immigration law SB1070 was State Senator Russell Pearce. Senator Pearce had been one of the most vocal opponents of illegal immigration in Arizona. He had successfully passed many pieces of difficult legislation against individuals who he described as "invaders on the American sovereignty".

While Senator Pearce provided much of the driving force for the bill, most of the drafting of the Arizona immigration law text was completed by Kris Kobach, who was a law professor as well as an important figurehead with the Federation of American Immigration reform. Kobach had written many other immigration-related bills that were introduced in other areas of the United States.

Kobach and Pearce had previously worked on other past legislation dealing with immigration, so the two of them teamed up again for the Arizona immigration law text when Pearce was ready to pursue the plan of having the state properly enforce federal immigration laws. A meeting of the ALEC in December 2009 resulted in the American Legislative Exchange Council drafting some model legislation that closely embodied Pearce’s ideas.

The proposed Arizona immigration bill made it to the Arizona legislature in January 2010 and soon found 36 cosponsors. An early version of the Arizona immigration bill was approved by the Arizona State Senate in February 2010.

The passing of the new Arizona immigration law 2010 somewhat relied on an event on March 27, 2010. On this day Robert Krentz, a 58-year-old man, and his pet dog were killed by gunfire while Robert was doing home improvement work on his ranch which was about 19 miles away from the Mexican border. Krentz’s death created a more tangible public fear about the dangers of illegal immigration and the related criminal activity. While the Arizona police were unable to find any suspects to the murder, they traced footprints leading towards the United States-Mexican border, allowing for greater speculation of the victim being killed by an illegal alien.  This event gave greater support to the new Arizona immigration law 2010.

On April 13, the Arizona immigration law SB1070 text, with many different changes made to it, ended up passing the Arizona House of Representatives on 35 to 21 party-line vote. Six days later, the revised measure passed the Arizona State Senate by a 17 to 11 vote that also followed party lines very closely. Here, only one Republican voted against the bill while only two democrats did not vote at all.

The general procedure of Arizona states that when a bill passes, the governor then has 5 days to make a choice to either sign the bill, let it pass unsigned, or veto the bill. There was a question about whether Governor Jan Brewer would sign the new Arizona immigration law 2010 into law. During proposal and debates about the Arizona immigration law SB1070 text, Governor Brewer had not made any comments on the issue or the consequences of the Arizona immigration bill. Before this bill, she had never placed immigration as the main focus of her career or political views. The only exception was her support for Arizona Proposition 200.

During her term, she supported Arizona Proposition 100, in which doing so, she went against party lines. Because of this and a potentially tough upcoming Republican primary for the Arizona gubernatorial election of 2010 (many of these candidates also supported the new Arizona immigration law 2010), Governor Brewer showed her support for the Arizona immigration bill.

During the development of the Arizona immigration law SB1070 text, Governor Brewer’s staff had carefully looked over the language of the Arizona immigration bill line by line with Senator Pearce. She claimed to have mild concerns about many of the provisions, and these concerns were also felt by other organizations like the Mexican Embassy and the Mexican. However, the citizens of Arizona showed 3 to 1 support of the Arizona immigration law SB1070 text. Polling showed that about 70% of citizens were in favor. However, 53% somewhat felt that the Arizona immigration bill could possibly violate the civil rights of certain American citizens.

Governor Brewer’s stuff ultimately said that the governor was carefully looking at the legal issues involved, the feelings of the decisions, and the impact of the new Arizona immigration law 2010 on the state’s business while making her decision about supporting Arizona immigration law SB1070. Many of Governor Brewer’s political allies pointed out that regardless of her decision, she would face criticism. On April 23, Governor Brewer chose to sign the Arizona immigration law SB1070 text, making it into the new Arizona immigration law 2010.

3. MOST IMPORTANTLY – What Rights Do Citizens Have Under the New Arizona Immigration Law 2010?

The Arizona immigration law SB1070 text does not affect anyone who is a United States Citizen because it targets illegal immigration. Under the law, both local and state governments cannot restrict themselves from enforcing federal immigration laws.

Furthermore, they require law enforcement on both the state and local level to reasonably attempt to determine a person’s immigration status when the individual is being lawfully stopped or is either arrested or placed in detention. This must be done to all individuals who are stopped in order to ensure that the individual has the right to be in the country. Any individual who is arrested must have their status verified with the federal government to ensure citizenship or rightful residency.

However, law enforcement cannot stop a person purely because they suspect the individual is an illegal immigrant. There must be some state or local ordinance or law and there must be reasonable suspicion of the individual breaking the law. More importantly, the Arizona immigration law SB1070 text implies that law enforcement must not consider race, national origin, or color when enforcing these provisions, except in ways that are permitted by the United States Constitution or the Arizona Constitution.

As long as a citizen has their proper identification, they can easily show that they have a right to reside in the country and in the state of Arizona. The Arizona immigration law text specifies an assumption of lawful presence as if the individual has an Arizona identification card or driver license, a tribal enrollment card or identification, or any other valid local, state, or federal identification that is issued by the government, as long as the issuing entity needs proof of legal presence before issuance.

Under the Arizona immigration law text, legal residents also have the right to sue localities or the states when they restrict the proper enforcement of federal immigration laws. Police officers are indemnified against this unless they have acted specifically in bad faith. Any party who violates these federal immigrations must pay a civil penalty that is at least $500 per day that the federal policy is in effect.

4. What Does the Arizona Immigration Bill Do About Arresting Illegal Aliens?

According to the Arizona immigration law SB1070 text, an individual cannot be stopped by law enforcement purely because of suspicions of being an illegal immigrant. An arrest must be due to a legitimate suspicion of breaking a local or state law or ordinance. The Arizona immigration law SB1070 text does allow a law enforcement officer to arrest a person without a warrant if the law enforcement officer has enough probable cause to think that the individual has committed a public offense that would make the person removable from the United States.

Once an arrest is made, the Arizona immigration law text states that a reasonable attempt to determine immigration status must be made during this legitimate contact with a government official or agency of the political subdivision, town, city, or state. This verification is done pursuant to federal immigration laws to ensure that the individual is receiving the rights that he or she may deserve, depending on citizenship.

The Arizona immigration law SB1070 text states that if a law enforcement agency has custody of an alien who is not in the country lawfully, the agency has the authority to transport the alien securely to either a federal facility within the state or use any other means that would transfer the illegal into federal custody that is beyond the jurisdiction of the initial law enforcement agency.  So in the case where the individual who is arrested is an illegal immigrant, the law requires the unlawful aliens to be transferred to the Custody of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement or Customs and Border protection if they have been convicted of violating a local or state law. It also states that the individual shall be discharged from the imprisonment or any the fine assessment imposed.

There are also violations for failing to finish a registration for an Alien Registration Document or carrying one, according to the Arizona immigration law SB1070 text. The Arizona immigration bill creates a state violation for these actions that are comparable to federal law found in 8 USC 1304(e). 

The Arizona immigration bill also creates state penalties for jail costs and a $100 fine for the first offense. The law suggests that status can be determined by a law enforcement officer who is authorized to verify alien immigration status under the federal government or through other agencies such as the United States Customs and Border Protection or the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Certain legal citizens can still receive under the punishment under the law for immigration-related offences. The first one is unlawfully picking up passengers to be used for work. Under the Arizona immigration law text, doing so is a class one misdemeanor. More specifically, an individual who is occupying a motor vehicle cannot hire on a roadway, highway, or street if the action impedes or blocks the normal flow of traffic. 

The Arizona immigration law text also makes it a class one misdemeanor for the individual to enter the motor vehicle for the purpose of being transported and hired. It is also against the law for an unlawfully residing alien to apply for work, perform work as an employee, or solicit work at a public location as either an independent contractor or an employee.

Another illegal act that a lawful citizen or resident may be guilty of under the new Arizona immigration law 2010 is harboring or transporting unlawful aliens in the State of Arizona. The Arizona immigration law text suggests that it is unlawful for an individual who is violating a criminal offense to conceal, transport, shield, or harbor an alien. 

Furthermore, it is illegal to suggest or encourage an unlawful alien to enter the state, particularly in the person who suggests it does it while recklessly disregarding the fact that in person in entering the state unlawfully. A motor vehicle that is used to unlawfully transport the aliens may be impounded or immobilized. The exceptions to these provisions of the Arizona immigration law text are for first responders, emergency medical technicians or ambulances, or child protective services. All other parties that violate these provisions are subject to a fine that is at least $1,000 and can be charged with a class one misdemeanor.

4. Does the Arizona Immigration Bill Contradict the FOURTH Amendment?

The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guards citizens against unreasonable searches and seizures. Furthermore, the amendment requires that any warrant must be judicially sanctioned and have probable cause as well. Previous circumstances, such as in the case United States v. Martinez-Fuerte (1976, the United States Supreme Court allowed for immigration checkpoints without discretion.

Technically, the Arizona immigration law is not considered unconstitutional by undermining the Fourth Amendment. The law explicitly states that law enforcement officers cannot stop an individual because of suspicion of unlawful activity, rather than because of national origin, race, or color. 

Furthermore, all of the protections found in the Fourth Amendment against profiling continue to apply even when the institution of the Arizona immigration bill. In one aspect, the new Arizona immigration law reduces the chance of race-based harassment by forcing police officers to contact federal agencies as soon as it is reasonable when the law enforcement officer suspects an individual is an illegal alien, rather than allowing an officer to make arrests based on his or her own assessment.

Despite the text of the new law, it is impossible to completely exclude the possibility of an officer racially profiling when using reasonable suspicion. Another major concern is that citizens and legal residents of Arizona will be subject to unlawful harassment based on their race, specifically those of Hispanic or Latino origin.

Updates to the Arizona Immigration Law

The original Arizona immigration law SB1070 text did not specify the fact that prosecutors would not investigate any complaints that were based on race, national origin, or color. This was added a week after the passage of SB1070 as the House bill 2162. 

The new bill also pointed out that police could only investigate an individual’s immigration status after a lawful detention, stop, or arrest. Furthermore, the bill lowered the fine from being at least $500 to being up to $100, and adjusted the limits of incarcerations for any first time offenders. This went from six months down to 20 days.

In July of 2010, one of Arizona’s federal judges blocked a controversial part of Arizona’s immigration law from being put into effect until after the end of a lawsuit. The judge felt that the United States more likely to win this case regarding the provision of the law that made it necessary for police officers to check status backgrounds of individuals they felt were in the country unlawfully. The judge decided against blocking portions of the law after determining that the U.S. was not as likely to win the lawsuit regarding those sections of the new law.

This preliminary injunction that prohibited full enforcement of SB1070 was then upheld by the 9th Circuit in April of 2011. The 9th Circuit agreed idea held by the lower court that no set of circumstances could make the contested provisions of the bill valid. If you need legal advice and assistance, contact immigration lawyers.

Polish Fugitive Deported for Extortion, Kidnapping, and Murder

Polish Fugitive Deported for Extortion, Kidnapping, and Murder

On October 16, 2012, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that Dariusz Gordziejczyk was turned over to Polish law enforcement because he is wanted for extortion, kidnapping, and attempted murder in his home country.  The deportation was handled by the ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO).  

The original arrest warrant was issued for Gordziejczyk on September 14, 2001 by the Bialystok Criminal Court for the charges listed above.  The arrest warrant stated that Gordziejczyk and co-defendants beat a man in 1999 in order to extort money, but the man eventually escaped.  Gordziejczyk was sentenced to two years in prison for the crime.  

Gordziejczyk and co-defendants also kidnapped a man in 1999.  They drove the man to a patch of woods, covered him in gasoline, and threatened to light him on fire unless he turned over his BMW.  He was sentenced to four years of this crime as well, but he fled to the United States before he was supposed to serve his prison time.  

He fled to the United States in February of 2006 on a visitor’s visa, and he stayed in the United States after his visa expired in February of the following year.  

ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) received a tip from the FBI that Gordziejczyk was believed to be living in Chicago.  The HSI special agents found Gordziejczyk on July 12, 2011 in River Grove, Illinois.  

Gordziejczyk was ordered to leave the country on March 19, 2012.  He appealed the sentence in July of 2012, but the Board of Immigration Appeals denied the appeal.  He will begin serving his sentence immediately.  

Ricardo Wong, the ERO Chicago field office director, stated: “This individual tried to escape justice in Poland for the crimes he committed there.  On a daily basis, ICE protects public safety by arresting and removing international fugitives who pose a threat to our communities.”  

Source: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Louisiana Business Owner Guilty of Alien Money Laundering

Louisiana Business Owner Guilty of Alien Money Laundering

On November 13, 2012, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that a Louisiana construction business and its owner pleaded guilty to laundering more than $280,000 for illegal aliens that were harbored and employed at work sites for the company.  The investigation was led by ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the guilty plea was announced last Thursday.

The owner of Rendon Construction LLC is Ramon Santos, and he is from Kenner, Louisiana.  He pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to engage in money laundering.  He now faces a maximum prison sentence of 20 years and a fine up to $250,000.  His company is subject to five years of probation and a $500,000 fine.  

Court documents show that Santos and his company knew they were employing illegal aliens.  They also encouraged the workers to recruit other illegal aliens.  The construction company was able to pay the illegal works in cash by passing funds through a shell company in order to hide the true nature of the payments.  The money laundering occurred between April and July of 2011.  

The shell company was called Diablo Construction.  The company had not assets or employees, and Santos wrote a total of 12 checks from Rendon Construction to Diablo Construction throughout the scheme.  He proceeded to cash the checks with a check-cashing service and then pay the illegal aliens.  

Raymond R. Parmer, the special agent in charge of HSI New Orleans, stated: “Companies that violate federal law by paying workers illegally ‘under the table’ seek to gain an unfair advantage over legitimate businesses that play by the rules.  This practice denies job opportunities to law-abiding citizens and deprives federal, state and local governments the tax revenue needed to provide the essential services we all rely on.  

Santos is scheduled for sentencing on February 15, 2013.  

Source: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Connecticut Companies Fined for Hiring Illegal Employees

Connecticut Companies Fined for Hiring Illegal Employees

On November 15, 2011, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that 12 different employers in Connecticut were fined a combined $132,584.25 during the 2012 fiscal year.  The employers were fined for multiple violations.

Employers fined in the 2012 FY in Connecticut:

Acranom Masonry Inc. in Middlefield, $4,500
Calabro Cheese Corp. in East Haven, $45,000;
Contour Landscaping Company Inc. in Stamford, $8,104;
Gourmet Heaven Inc. in New Haven, $5,891;
John J. Masi Company Inc. in Bridgeport, $3,276;
Kingswood Kitchens Company Inc. in Danbury, $12,000;
Leed-Himmel Industries Inc. in Hamden, $2,241.25;
Melissa & Doug LLC in Wilton, $1,386;
Prostar Inc. in Farmington, $10,472;
Quality Sales LLC in Hartford, $2,722;
Superior Plastics Extrusion Company Inc. (Impact Plastics) in Putnam, $34,000
Villa Brava Grocery LLC in Hartford, $2,992

This is the first year that multiple companies have been fined in Connecticut.  Only one company, PCC Technology Group in Bloomfield, was fined $15,000 in the fiscal year of 2011.  

In order to find businesses that hire illegal employees, the ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) will look for mistreated workers, evidence of visa fraud or identification fraud, money laundering, or any other similar conduct.  HSI is also allowed to serve arrest warrants with approval from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in order to prosecute the employer and then arrest employees that are violating immigration laws.  

Bruce M. Foucart, special agent in charge of HSI Boston, stated: “We encourage employers to take the employment verification process seriously, as we expand the number of audits we are conducting throughout Connecticut each year.  My agency will continue to focus its attention on employers that are knowingly employing illegal workers and will continue to target specific industries and businesses known or alleged to hire illegals.”  

HSI has worked since 2009 to target employers who hire illegal immigrants to their companies.  The illegal activity denies jobs to citizens and no tax revenue is generated because the illegal immigrants are usually paid under the table.

Source: Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Immigration Discrimination Claim Settled in North Carolina

Immigration Discrimination Claim Settled in North Carolina

On November 30, 2012, the Department of Justice announced it reached an agreement with a subsidiary of Woodfin Heating, Inc called Gamewell Mechanical Inc that is based out of Salisbury, North Carolina.  The company was charged with violating provisions in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) when it terminated three employees assuming they were undocumented foreign nationals when they were actually U.S. citizens.  

The company, which specializes in mechanical constructions and heating and cooling systems fabrication, received information that six of its employees were undocumented foreign nationals.  The company proceeded to terminate six employees including the three employees that were actually U.S. citizens.  

Gamewell Mechanical agreed to pay $10,560 to each former employee that was a U.S. citizen and pay a $9,600 civil penalty to the United States as well.  Gamewell has also agreed to train its human resources employees about actions employers need to take in order to avoid discrimination against eligible applicants and employees.  

Thomas E. Perez, the Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, stated: “The anti-discrimination provision protects work-authorized individuals from being treated differently in employment based on discriminatory assumptions about their status.  The Civil Rights Division is fully committed to vigorously enforcing the law.”  

The anti-discrimination provision of the INA was enforced by the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices.  The Office protects works during the hiring, firing, and verification of status process.  

If you need more information about employment discrimination, you can call the OSC’s worker hotline at 1-800-237-2515.  You can also find more information on the Justice Department’s website.  

Gamewell is now subject to reporting and compliance monitoring by the Justice Department for the next 18 months.  

Source: Department of Justice

America’s Voice Education Fund and the Debate on Immigration Reform

America’s Voice Education Fund and the Debate on Immigration Reform

After many months of bargaining and compromise, the so-called “Gang of Eight”, a bipartisan group of senators, has come up with legislation that promises to genuinely reform our immigration system. This legislation would tighten border security even further, expand legal immigration for the next 10 years, award more visas based on professional merit and education and grant legal status to the bulk of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States.

(More on  News at LAWS.com, contact Adam for interviews “adama@laws.com”)

Supporters of this legislation feel that it finally brings some common sense to a broken immigration system. However, a conservative backlash against it has begun in the House. The backlash is specifically against the provision to legalize the status of the 11 million undocumented immigrants. The opponents of this reform in the House are hoping to thwart it through a strategy of dismemberment and delay. This is despite the fact that several prominent Republicans, such as Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla) who helped draft the bill in the Senate, have come out in support of it. And, a bipartisan group of House members is working behind the scenes to put together a bill that does include such a path to citizenship. Although details that are emerging suggest that even this legislation may be quite punitive in nature.

The debate on immigration is certainly contentious in our nation. The GOP’s line on immigration during the 2012 elections, has meant that the party has lost support among Latinos. According to one poll, some 58 percent of Latinos voters said that immigration was a top issue for them.

America’s Voice Education Fund is a national organization that aims to use the collective power of American values and American voices to help implement policy that would guarantee the civil, political and labor rights of immigrants and their families. America’s Voice Education Fund works with civil rights, progressive, labor and faith-based organizations to help enact the federal provision of the immigration reform legislation that would legalize the status of what they describe as “11 million Americans-in-waiting.”

The following is an interview with Lynn Tramonte, Deputy Director of America’s Voice Education Fund (AVEF), on her thoughts and feeling about the current immigration reform legislation and the work of her organization in the realm of immigration reform.

How do you feel about the immigration-reform bill being debated in the Senate?

I have to tell you, this moment we are in feels totally different from 2007 and 2006 and other times when a comprehensive immigration reform bill was being debated. There is so much diversity in support, not only for the general idea of immigration reform, but the specific components. I think that the politicians are seeing a convergence of a smart policy solution and a smart political act for them and for both parties. We are in a very special and rare point in time where the planets are coming into alignment and it looks like we will actually be able to do something this year. So that’s very exciting!

What are some of the changes you would like to see happen to U.S. immigration policy?

I think you are seeing a lot of excitement because the Senate bipartisan bill is a good compromise and it is a lot better than some of the other bipartisan, compromise bills that have been put forward in recent years. It is actually a true compromise, every senator that was part of the drafting had to give something up, and every senator got something. The border enforcement provisions, for example, are extreme. We have already essentially militarized the border, and we already achieved great results in securing the border and so much has been done over the last 20 years, and this adds billions more taxpayer dollars to that! More fencing, more agents, more technology and requirements that are very stringent – and that is not the bill we would have written, but that is the bill they came up with.

One of our core priorities is the path to citizenship provision for undocumented immigrants. Is it a real path? Is it achievable? Is it affordable? Is it timely? We are concerned that for the general population of immigrants without papers that it is going to take more than 13 years for them to work their way towards citizenship. That is a long time! Especially, when you consider that the vast majority of these immigrants have already been living in this country for years and even decades. More than 2/3 of Latino undocumented immigrants have been in the country more than 10 years. And a good percentage have been here for more than 20 years! These are a very rooted group of folks – they are Americans without the paperwork basically.

Some organizations on the other side of the aisle argue that illegal immigrants should not be given amnesty because entering the country illegally is not a victimless crime. They argue that illegal immigration is a drain on public funds and harms legal immigrants and Americans by taking away jobs they need. What is your response to this notion?

First of all, it is not amnesty if you have to earn it. For example, if you get a traffic ticket you have to pay your ticket, you are not given amnesty! You have to work through the rules to get the points off your licence, and, ultimately, in a couple of years you will have the points taken off. This is similar. They are paying a penance for having broken the law. It is not a crime to be in the United States without papers, it is only a civil offenSe. So this is not amnesty, they have to earn it and go through a long process.

Now, the idea of immigrants being a drain on the economy, this argument has been used for 200 years. If it were true, then why are we an immigrant nation? Why do we welcome immigrants? Why are immigrants more likely to start businesses and employ Americans than people who were born here? I do not think it rings true with our experiences of immigration that they are a drain. There are many studies that show that cities that have embraced have been revitalized economically. For example, in cities like Cleveland where I am from, that are experiencing a downturn, and they are looking for ways to welcome immigrants because they expand the tax base, start businesses and create jobs.

Now, it is true that some employers, especially in industries like farming, do exploit immigrant workers because they think they can get away with it. That is because immigrants do not complain, or if they do complain they do not how to exercise their legal rights, or they think they have less legal rights than Americans. But that is another driving factor behind immigration reform, which is that if people are working here they should have a legal status so they have more confidence and ability to exercise their legal rights.

What are some of the accomplishments of America’s Voice Education Fund?

We were created after the failure of the last comprehensive immigration bill, when we realized that most of the groups working on immigration reform were having a policy conversation in Washington, and the rest of the country was having a political conversation about immigration. Our opponents were then tapping into frustration across the nation with the broken immigration system and saying that that bolstered their position. So we were created to bring voice to challenge this idea that Americans are narrow minded and think that the right solution for this country is to make the 11 million immigrants without papers to leave. Our experience has been that that does not represent majority opinion.

One of the major accomplishments of not only America’s Voice Education Fund, but also more broadly the immigration reform movement is to realize that we have to harness our political power and use it! There have been many organizations that have worked to organize voters in the Asian, Latino, and other communities around the country and make a real impact on elections. And prove that the pro-immigrant voter is powerful! America’s Voice Education Fund helps to communicate that to the media. When the 2012 election results were called, people started talking about how Romney made a fatal mistake by embracing leading anti-immigrant figures and having a hard line on immigration. He basically, as one Republican strategist put it, self-deported himself from the White House.

If this legislation does not pass, what would be the next step for America's Voice Education Fund?

There are opponents in the Senate, but more and more Republicans that used to be opposed are starting to take a second look at this reform. We still need to know what will happen in the House. There is a bipartisan working group in the House that is drafting a comprehensive bill. So at this point the key question is how will the House proceed? And which way does House leadership choose? Do they choose the narrow-minded backward looking bills that got Republicans into this predicament in the first place? Or do they choose the forward-thinking, bipartisan majority-consensus approach that actually matches up more with what the Senate is doing and can achieve a victory for the country and for their party? So that is the challenge that remains and we are focused on that. We do not have plan B right now, we are all in to get this bill done this year! This is our time, this is our window of opportunity and we are seizing it!

For more information on America’s Voice Education Fund, please visit their page. For more information on immigration law and news, please visit our Immigration Laws Page.

Interviewed with Lynn Tramonte of America’s Voice Education Fund, Washington, DC


The Importance of English in America – ProEnglish on Devising a Sensible Language Policy

The Importance of English in America - ProEnglish on Devising a Sensible Language Policy

Most studies have shown that the single most important factor in determining the economic success of immigrants in the United States is their ability to speak English. One study has shown that immigrants can increase their earnings by 20 percent by improving their English language speaking ability from “not well” to “very well.” Furthermore, the earnings gap between native-born Americans and immigrant narrows when English language ability improves dramatically – by 6 to 10 percent for women and 16 to 18 percent for men.

(More on  News at LAWS.com, contact Adam for interviews “adama@laws.com”)

In terms of long-established immigrants, those who have learned to speak English very well earn 67 percent more than those who speak it poorly. Also, in terms of education among the 18 to 24 year old contingent, those who speak English very well are almost three times more likely to finish high school than those who do not, and are naturally much more likely to earn a tertiary degree.

Beyond the obvious and well documented economic and educational benefits of speaking English well in America, the English language has served as a unifying force among Americans of all ethnicities and national origins for centuries. Americans practice a multitude of different religions, adhere to various different political ideologies, but language has always served as a common denominator among us. In the 18th century, Dutch settlers went through language shift and adopted English, the same process occurred among German immigrants in the 19th century and Japanese, Italian and Greek immigrants in the 20th century. The pattern has always been that immigrants come here speaking a new language, shift from usage of the old language to English and succeed and become part of the patchwork that is America. It is a winning formula to which we need to adhere so that we may continue to write the success story that is America.

Hence, the importance of the English language provision in the new immigration reform legislation that is being debated in Congress cannot be overstated. This provision would require that for undocumented immigrants to get on the path to citizenship, they would need to learn English and civics. Finally, a triumph of common sense over political correctness.

ProEnglish is a national, non-profit organization that supports making English the sole official language of the United States. ProEnglish works through the courts and even in the court of public opinion to protect the historic role of the English language as the United States’ unifying language and to lobby lawmakers to make English the official language at all governmental levels.

The following is an interview with Robert Vandervoort, Executive Director of ProEnglish, on his thoughts and feelings about the English language provision in the immigration reform legislation and the work of his organization in the realm of promoting and defending the status of the English language in America.

How do you feel about the immigration-reform bill being debated in Congress?

ProEnglish is concerned that the current immigration bill in Congress does not have any meaningful English language requirements.  In order to become a "Registered Provisional Immigrant", which essentially legalizes millions of people who are not here legally at the moment; there are no English language requirements.  After receiving Registered Provisional Immigrant (RPI) status, they can then apply for a green card, which has some very weak English language requirements.  Our concern is that bringing in so many non-English speaking people at once into our system, without any meaningful requirement that they learn English, will place an enormous strain on our system.

Do you think the English language provision in the immigration-reform bill goes far enough to promote English language usage among immigrants?

We do not believe the English language requirements in the proposed bill go far enough.  There is no English language requirement to receive RPI status; however there are some weak English language requirements to receive a work visa.  For example, if an applicant can show they are enrolled in an English language class, which will meet the requirement.  They do not have to show they completed the class, or received a passing grade; they just have to show they are enrolled in a class.  There are also exemptions for people over the age of 70 and under the age of 16.  Finally, there is no in-person interview to determine if the applicant is proficient in English.  

Two dozen states have English as an official language. What is the significance of this also happening at the federal level?

If your readers visit our website at ProEnglish.org, they will see a list of all the states that have official English.  Having states pass official English laws helps the taxpayer save money from avoiding unnecessary translation costs, and it also sends an important message that English is the language one needs to assimilate to.  

What other steps would you like to see Congress take to promote English language knowledge and usage?

In the past, there have been bills defending English-in-the-workplace, so that business owners do not have to fear lawsuits if they wish to conduct their business in English.  We would like to see the repeal of Bill Clinton's Executive Order 13166 which requires the federal government to provide translation services in any language to anyone.  

There is also a need to get a full accounting on just how much money the federal government spends on translation costs.  To date, there was a limited study done by the federal government back in 2002, which found we spend over $2 billion on translation costs, but nothing new since.  

We believe the government should discontinue the use of multilingual ballots, which are costly and do not promote assimilation or English language usage.  We would also like to see Congress promote English language immersion in the classrooms over bilingual education programs.  Studies show that bilingual education programs do not work compared to English language immersion programs.

Do you believe a common tongue among Americans, with that tongue being English, could serve as a great unifying force among us?

It's very clear that having one language is a key component in bringing all Americans together.  If you look around the world, you see many places that are dividing over language issues.  For example, even our neighbors to the North, in Canada, are divided over language.  Much time and money is spent in Canada on translation costs of French and English.  Language divisions can be a source of friction, as is the case in Belgium and in Latvia.  We are very blessed to have a common tongue that helps us communicate with one another in all fifty states.  Yes, our common language of English is a great unifying force, and one we must work to preserve.    

For more information on ProEnglish, please visit their page. For more information on immigration law and news, please visit our Immigration Laws Page.

Interviewed with Robert Vandervoort of ProEnglish, Arlington, Virginia

The American Immigration Control Foundation and the Debate on Immigration Reform

The American Immigration Control Foundation and the Debate on Immigration Reform

The so-called bipartisan “Gang of Eight” senators have come up with legislation that they say will truly reform our immigration system. This legislation would allow more legal immigration over the next 10 years, tighten border security, award more visas based on education and professional credentials and controversially grant legal status to the 11 million undocumented immigrants who entered the United States illegally.

(More on  News at LAWS.com, contact Adam for interviews “adama@laws.com”)

Supporters of this legislation feel that it fixes an immigration system that is broken. However, a conservative backlash against it has begun in the House. The backlash is specifically against the provision to grant a path to citizenship to the 11 million undocumented immigrants. After all, these people committed a civil offense and broke the law, and the United States has not been historically known for rewarding deviance. Those who oppose this reform in the House are hoping to thwart the legislation through a strategy of delay and dismemberment. Some Republicans, such as Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla) who was involved in the drafting of the bill in the Senate, have supported it. And, a bipartisan group of House members is working behind the scenes to draft a bill that does have such a path to citizenship.

The debate on immigration is certainly contentious in our nation. However, a recent Pew Research poll has shown that perhaps the Gang of Eight is out of touch with what Americans truly want. This poll reveals that 55 percent of Americans oppose granting citizenship to those 11 million who entered the United States illegally. And among the group that intuitively would seem most supportive of such a path to citizenship, Hispanics, only 49 percent support such a measure.

The AIC Foundation is a national organization that is among the oldest immigration reform organizations in the country. The AIC Foundation’s membership includes Americans of many different ethnic groups and national origins. Its membership has a deeply-rooted commitment to preserving our American heritage, and the AIC Foundation aims to educate other fellow Americans about the disastrous consequences of an irresponsible immigration policy. In order to raise public awareness about the issue, the AIC Foundation has distributed and produced many different books, pamphlets, monographs and videos.

The following is an interview with John Vinson, President of the AIC Foundation, on his views on the current immigration reform legislation being debated in the Senate and the work of his organization in the realm of immigration reform.

What are your views on the immigration-reform bill being debated in the Senate?

The Senate bill, with amnesty for almost all illegal aliens in the U.S. and a pathway for them to become citizens, is basically an effort by left-wing Democrats to create a larger voting bloc for themselves and an effort by business-interest Republicans to secure more cheap labor. In addition to the amnesty, the bill significantly increases the number of legal immigrants and guest workers. This comes at a time when more than 20 million Americans can't find full-time employment.

By rewarding law breaking with amnesty, the bill will encourage more law breaking, as indeed has been the case with previous amnesties. In such fashion we undermine the United States as a nation under the rule of law.

Most disturbing about the bill is the gross dishonesty of its sponsors. As one example they are trying to make the public think that it will guarantee effective enforcement in exchange for amnesty. In truth, however, it only offers promises of enforcement. Given the broken promise of enforcement after the 1986 amnesty and the indifference of the Obama Administration to enforcement today, we can be quite sure that these current promises are no better than the paper they're written on.

To sum up, this legislation reflects an anti-national agenda conceived by elites who seem too little concern for the broad mass of American citizens      

What are some of the changes you would like to see happen to U.S. immigration policy?

One change we'd love to see is simple enforcement on the immigration laws already on the books, rather than the systematic subversion of enforcement we have now. With respect to legal immigration, we would recommend a reduction from the current level of about one million a year to about 250,000 per year. The current level is overwhelming our powers of assimilation and creating a very divisive form of diversity.   

Do you think it would be a better policy to change our immigration system so that more highly-skilled workers are permitted rather than low-skilled workers?

A policy bringing in more highly skilled workers would be preferable to what we have now. Nevertheless, we believe that the "shortage" of high-tech and other skilled workers is greatly exaggerated by companies that prefer to hire foreigners for lower wages than U.S. workers would receive. As national policy, we should make sure that the American job market gives preference to American workers.   

What are some of the major accomplishments of the American Immigration Control Foundation?

We have presented millions of Americans with viewpoints on immigration commonly ignored or suppressed by the mass media. Our influence has encouraged debate and reflection on this important topic. Specifically, we believe, our influence has restrained some of the more radical agendas of open-border and mass immigration advocates.   

If this legislation does pass, what would be the next step for the American Immigration Control Foundation?

If legislation so wrong and destructive as this should pass, it will raise serious questions as to whether we still have a government by and for the people. In any case, we will continue our educational efforts in hope for future changes.    

For more information on the American Immigration Control Foundation, please visit their page. For more information on immigration law and news, please visit our Immigration Laws Page.

Interviewed with John Vinson of the AIC Foundation, Monterey, Virginia.


2 Easy Methods to Check a Visa Status

2 Easy Methods to Check a Visa StatusSubsequent to the submission of a visa application, resources provided by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) provides individual applicant with the opportunity to monitor their visa status.

Checking Visa Status

There exist two primary methods in which one can check their respective visa status; through physical correspondence – including the postal service and phone calls to the USCIS – or through electronic correspondence through the USCIS website.

1. Visa status can attained through the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services Bureau by contacting them at their toll-free telephone number (800) 375-5283 or mailing them at the location to which the visa application has been sent.

2. The USCIS website has allowed for advances to be made with regard to the process of checking visa status; latent within the online visa status check procedure are a number of steps that must be undergone prior to any decisive measure in regards to visa applications:

• The acceptance of the application is the first step beginning the process of visa status checking; this step ensures that the USCIS has received an individual applicant – subsequent to the receipt of an application, the application will begin the review process

• The initial review process entails the performance of a background check and case details with regard to the applicant and the individual visa application

• A request for evidence is a potential occurrence within the visa status checking process; the request for evidence occurs in the event that the USCIS review board requires additional information and/or documentation regarding the applicant

• A request for evidence response review occurs upon receipt of the documents requested by the USCIS

• The testing and interview stage of the visa application process is also the midpoint of any gauging of visa status; in this stage, the applicant is interviewed and tested in order to determine the quality of character, mastery of English language, and a comprehension on the part of the applicant with regard to American legislation

• The decision process occurs as the USCIS review board decides on a final verdict with regard to an individual applicant; at this time, the board settles on a motion of either approval or denial

• The post decision activity stage is one where the applicant’s visa status has been approved and the applicant is subsequently made aware of this approval

• The oath ceremony occurs in the event that the applicant has responded to the notification that their application for a visa status has been approved; the applicant will be asked to take an oath of allegiance to the United States

• The card and documentation stage is the final stage of the visa status process; upon approval and satisfaction of the oath,  the applicant has satisfied their respective visa status application and can receive physical documentation of their visa

• Inquiries regarding statuses apart from visa status can be made with regard to N-400 applications – the application for naturalization, as well as to I-90 applications to replace missing, lost, or stolen residency cards and/or documentation.

President Obama: “Immigration Reform is a Top Priority”

President Obama: “Immigration Reform is a Top Priority”

President Barack Obama claims that passing a comprehensive immigration reform is still a “top priority” for his administration. 
Although Obama has expressed the supreme nature of immigration reform, he has yet to offer a plan for passing legislation through Congress. Obama blames Republican opposition for the lack of development on the issue. 
Obama says that Republicans who once supported immigration reform have now altered their stances. He claims that the administration’s approach is to push vacillating Republicans to work with Democrats in order to advance progress.
President Obama is holding numerous roundtable discussions with minority leaders and taking questions submitted by voters online concerning the issue. Democrats see minorities, especially Hispanics, as a key constituency in the upcoming 2012 election. A strong majority of Hispanic voters supported Obama’s election in 2008, but his support among Hispanics has since declined.
Last month, President Obama announced a full-fledged imitative to ease deportation policies. This stance; however, is not wholly backed by the President’s actions—the Obama administration has sent over 1 million illegal immigrants back to their home lands in the last 2.5 years (a pace that doubles the Bush administration’s). 
This seeming contradiction between reality and rhetoric is a primary element of debate regarding the United States’ immigration policy—a subject that will continue to spark fervent debate up until the 2012 Presidential elections.