"Their journeys began in places as disparate as Colombia and Pakistan. They arrived in the United States speaking Hindi, Korean or Spanish. They worked their way up through engineering school or accounting jobs, keeping their heads down and their names out of the news.
Now, a small but growing number of foreign-born residents in the greater Washington region — home to more than 1 million immigrants from every corner of the globe — are coming out of their cocoons to enter electoral races and public office." Read more…
"With states such as Arizona and Alabama passing immigration laws that go far beyond those of the federal government, the New York City Council weighed in on the issue yesterday and took a decidedly different stand.
By an overwhelming majority, the council passed a bill sponsored by Melissa Mark-Viveritoof Manhattan that would end the Department of Correction's policy of cooperating with federal efforts to deport undocumented immigrants. The bill, said by supporters to be the first of its kind in the country, will end two decades of cooperation between the city jail system and federal immigration authorities, now called Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE.
This bill, Intro 656, Mark-Viverito said shortly before its passage, 'sends a strong message we will no longer be complicit in this country's broken immigration system.'
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn cited another message as well. 'When signed by the mayor,' she said, 'the entire government of New York will send a message the city of New York is supportive of, friendly to and welcoming to immigrants.'" Read more.
"WASHINGTON — Local law enforcement agencies are not required to hold undocumented immigrants at the request of the federal government, according to internal Department of Homeland Security documents obtained by a coalition of groups critical of the Secure Communities enforcement program.
The documents could provide ammunition for jurisdictions that no longer want to participate inSecure Communities, which allows federal immigration authorities to use fingerprints to scan those arrested by local law enforcement. They also support recent actions by Cook County, Ill., Santa Clara, Calif., and San Francisco, all of which decided this year to stop adhering to federal requests to hold undocumented immigrants who were either low-level offenders or were accused of felonies.
The National Day Laborer Organizing Network, Center for Constitutional Rights and Benjamin Cardozo School of Law received the documents after a Freedom of Information Act request and plan to release them this week. The three documents, from October 2010 and January 2011, clarify DHS policy on detainers — requests from federal immigration officials for police to hold those arrested, in some cases after being detected by enforcement programs.
'A detainer serves only to advise another law enforcement agency that ICE seeks an opportunity to interview and potentially assume custody of an alien presently in the custody of that agency,'according to an undated document.
Another document, notes from a briefing to Congressional Hispanic Caucus staff in October 2010, says 'local [law enforcements] are not mandated to honor a detainer, and in some jurisdictions they do not.' The third document, a series of questions and answers emailed in January 2010, says ICE detainers are 'a request,' and 'there is no penalty if they [local law enforcement] do not comply.'" Read more …
"The nation's strictest immigration law has resurrected ugly images from Alabama's days as the battleground state for civil rights.
Sharing a border with Mexico and being flooded with boycotts does not make Arizona the poster state for the challenges of immigration laws in the United States. The four states that followed suit with their own immigration law enforcement aren't either.
No, the case that's likely to be the first sorted out by the U.S. Supreme Court comes from the Deep South state of Alabama, and Alabama's jump to the forefront says as much about the country's evolving demographics as it does the nation's collective memory of the state's sometimes violent path to desegregation.
With the failure of Congress in recent years to pass comprehensive federal immigration legislation, Arizona, Georgia, Utah, South Carolina and Indiana have passed their own. But supporters and opponents alike agree none contained provisions as strict as those passed in Alabama, among them one that required schools to check students' immigration status. That provision, which has been temporarily blocked, would allow the Supreme Court to decide if a kindergarten to high school education must be provided to undocumented immigrants.
Its stature as the strictest in the U.S., along with the inevitable comparisons of today's Hispanics with African-Americans of the 1950s and `60s, makes it a near certainty the law will be a test case for the high court." Read more …
"Cooperating with the federal government’s immigration enforcement agenda may be mandatory for local law enforcement, but localities are finding ways around the federal government’s programs.
Last week northern California’s Santa Clara County became the latest locality to pass an ordinance that will likely curb the number of its residents who get handed over to federal immigration authorities through the immigration enforcement program Secure Communities. That same week, Washington, D.C. mayor Vincent Gray signed an executive order reaffirming the rights of D.C. residents not to get harassed by law enforcement officers about their immigration status.
These announcements are the latest in a string of similar moves from other counties which have attempted to push back on the federal government’s interpretation of its Secure Communities program. S-Comm, as the initiative is often called, allows immigration officials to check the fingerprints of everyone booked into a local or county jail against federal immigration records. Even if the person is wrongfully arrested or never charged with any crime, they become subject to deportation if they’re found to be undocumented. If a match is found, Immigration and Customs Enforcement — if it doesn’t already have an agent posted inside the local jail — will call local law enforcement and ask them to detain a person while ICE agents come down to the jail to take them away for detention proceedings.
Santa Clara County has now determined that enforcing such detainers for ICE are 'requests' from the federal government which it’s under no obligation to carry out. It’s further argued that holding onto people in county jails for ICE is a costly financial burden that localities, which are not reimbursed by the federal government, should not to have enforce." Read more …