Perhaps if immigrant advocates switch tracks, we may still be able to achieve immigration reform in this millennium.

Instead of pushing for a holistic approach to immigration reform, we might ask ourselves, in a sliding scale of political possibilities, “For whom could immigration reform be passed?”

elderly-immigrants-still-seeking-green-cards

Sure, this is the back way in.

But if we can pinpoint who is considered “politically safe” on the radars of Congress and the President, maybe we can kick-start immigration reform at that point. (more…)

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For several years, the rate of deportations has risen dramatically.

deportees-dumped-in-mexicali

Photo Credit: Washington Post

Despite the deliberately political manipulation of deportation statistics by both parties, the overall story is simple.

Deportation totals have consistently increased each year of Obama’s tenure in office, with the exception of last year, 2013 – which, in all likelihood, was due to the openly hostile yet civil protests against such government actions.

But removal from the U.S. is not simply a numbers game. (more…)

Although immigration reform should be driven by compassion, that’s not the political reality.

As with most issues of social importance, Congress’ view of public policy is driven by vote-counting.

The Cruel Math Of Immigration Reform In The House
July 4, 2013 · The American Prospect · Paul Waldman

cc7b1758e4de11e2a60a12313d173966.jpgThere just aren’t that many Republicans with both the inclination and the incentive to vote for comprehensive reform.

Every politician who gets elected to Congress believes that she’s going for idealistic reasons. Sure, there are compromises to be made and certain kinds of drudgery to suffer through . . . but they each believe that they’ll do the right thing.

Citing a Wall Street Journal analysis, Waldman explains why immigration reform is likely doomed this year.  Only 38 of the House’s 234 Republicans, or 16%, represent districts in which Latinos account for 20% or more of the population.

In addition, he adds, “only 28 Republican-held districts are considered even remotely at risk of being contested by a Democratic challenger, according to the nonpartisan Cook Political Report.

Waldman’s position has two shortcomings. (more…)

Having practiced deportation defense for nearly two decades, I’ve witnessed the agony of immigrants facing removal from the United States.

In most instances, they are faced with two unpleasant choices.

  • They can relocate their entire family to their home country, including those members born and raised in the U.S.
  • Or they can leave their family in the United States, while they return home, perhaps to never see them again.

Until recently, the plight of U.S. citizen children in the latter situation has been relatively unexplored.
(more…)

He never went home.

He left his native county at the age of 20 to find work.  Born in an impoverished area of a poor country, he left home to earn money which he could send back to his mother and eight siblings.

He ventured through, and stayed briefly at, a few countries, eventually reaching the United States.

For the next 25 years, he crisscrossed California, Arizona, and Utah, moving from crop to crop before settling in San Diego where he worked as a dishwasher at one of the city’s  most prestigious restaurants.

He worked Monday through Sunday at minimum wage, and was given only two days off per year, Thanksgiving and Christmas.  He was not paid overtime and was not part of a union.
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