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July 29, 2008

AILA's analysis of '08 Presidential Candidate John McCain and his position on immigration-related issues

Here are John McCain on immigration issues;

Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 07121860 (posted Jul. 23, 2008)"

Party: Republican
Political Office: U.S. Senator from Arizona, elected 1986; reelected 1992, 1998, 2004; U.S. Representative from AZ, 1983-1987
Military Service: Pilot, U.S. Navy 1958-1981, retiring as captain; POW in Vietnam, 1967-1973
Education: B.S., United States Naval Academy, 1958; grad., the National War College, 1974
Spouse: married (2d) Cindy Hensley, 1980
Children: adopted sons Douglas and Andrew of first wife, Carol (m. 1965; div. 1980); daughter Sidney (with wife Carol), born 1980; daughters Meghan and Bridget (born and adopted, 1991); sons John IV and James
Religion: Episcopalian
Home: Phoenix, AZ

Official Campaign Site

McCain on Immigration

CFR on McCain

McCain's Recent Comments/Statements on Immigration

"I think some of the rhetoric that many Hispanics hear about illegal immigration makes some of them believe that we are not in favor of or seek the support of Hispanic citizens in this country." ~ on the attitude towards immigrants in this country from the Spanish Language Republican Debate in December

"You know, this whole debate saddens me a little bit because we do have a serious situation in America. In 1986, we passed a law that said we would enforce our borders, and gave amnesty to a couple of million people. We gave the amnesty. Now we have 12 million people and still borders that are not enforced. I came to the Senate not to do the easy things, but to do the hard things. Mel Martinez and I knew this was going to be a tough issue, but we thought the status quo was unacceptable: broken borders; 12 million people here illegally; a need for a temporary worker program, certainly in my state in the agricultural section, certainly in this state of Florida.

And we tried to get something done. We said we'd enforce the borders. The American people didn't believe us. They don't believe us because of our failure in Katrina, our failure in Iraq, our failures in reining in corruption and out of control spending. So we tried and we failed. And I appreciate the president's efforts. He comes from a border state too. And what we've learned is that the American people want the borders enforced. We must enforce the -- secure the borders first.

But then you've still got two other aspects of this issue that have to be resolved as well. And we need to sit down as Americans and recognize these are God's children as well. And they need some protection under the law. And they need some of our love and compassion." ~ on CIR

“We will secure the borders first. As president, I will have the border state governors certify that those borders are secure. And, of course, in the course of our debates and discussions and -- with Secretary Chertoff, he said that there's 2 million people who are in this country illegally who have committed crimes. Those people have to be deported immediately.

And I do believe we need a temporary worker program. One with an employee -- employment -- electronic employment verification system and tamper-proof biometric documents, so that the only document and that system (inaudible) can an employer legally hire somebody, and any employer who employs someone in any other way will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Now, I want to say again, this is a national security issue. We have to secure our borders. But I want to say again, these are God's children. We have to address it in as humane and compassionate an issue as possible. But we have to respect our nation's security requirements.”

~ on if he has the same plan for a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants that he held a few months ago – from the Jan. 5 Republican Debate in New Hampshire

“I know how to secure the borders. I come from a border state where our borders are broken. More people come across our border illegally every year than most any other state. And I will secure the borders first. And I will have the border states governors certify that those borders are secured. And we can do it with UAVs, with vehicle barriers, with walls, and with high-tech cameras.

The remaining 12 million, obviously two million of them who have committed crimes have to be rounded up and deported immediately. They cannot stay in our society. And we must then, in my view, address it in as humane and compassionate way as possible.

The three G.I.s who were missing last year in action, one of them was still missing in action, his wife was about to be deported from this country. I'm not going to deport the wife of a fighting serviceman who's missing in action. I'm going to handle it in a humane, compassionate fashion.

And we will reward no one. They will have to get to the end of the line, pay a fine, learn English, and we will secure the borders first. And I know how to do that.” ~ on how to deal with the undocumented immigrants currently in the U.S. – from the Jan.10 Republican Debate in South Carolina

“No, it would not, because we know what the situation is today. The people want the border secured first. And so to say that that would come to the floor of the Senate -- it won't. We went through various amendments which prevented that proposal.

But, look, we're all in agreement as to what we need to do. We will secure the borders first when I am president of the United States. I know how to do that. I come from a border state, where we know about building walls, and vehicle barriers, and sensors, and all of the things necessary. I will have the border state governors certify the borders are secured. And then we will move onto the other aspects of this issue, probably as importantly as tamper-proof biometric documents, which then, unless an employer hires someone with those documents, that employer will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. And that will cause a lot of people to leave voluntarily.

There's 2 million people who are here who have committed crimes. They have to be rounded up and deported.

And we're all basically in agreement there are humanitarian situations. It varies with how long they've been here, et cetera, et cetera. We are all committed to carrying out the mandate of the American people, which is a national security issue, which is securing the borders. That was part of the original proposal, but the American people didn't trust or have confidence in us that we would do it. So we now know we have to secure the borders first, and that is what needs to be done. That's what I'll do as president of the United States.” ~ on whether or not he would vote today for the CIR bill he co-sponsored - from the Jan. 30 Republican Debate in California

"I spoke recently at both the NALEO and LULAC conferences, as did Senator Obama. I did not use those occasions to criticize Senator Obama. I would prefer not to do so today. But he suggested in his speeches there and here, that I turned my back on comprehensive reform out of political necessity. I feel I must, as they say, correct the record. At a moment of great difficulty in my campaign, when my critics said it would be political suicide for me to do so, I helped author with Senator Kennedy comprehensive immigration reform, and fought for its passage. I cast a lot of hard votes, as did the other Republicans and Democrats who joined our bipartisan effort. So did Senator Kennedy. I took my lumps for it without complaint. My campaign was written off as a lost cause. I did so not just because I believed it was the right thing to do for Hispanic Americans. It was the right thing to do for all Americans. Senator Obama declined to cast some of those tough votes. He voted for and even sponsored amendments that were intended to kill the legislation, amendments that Senator Kennedy and I voted against. I never ask for any special privileges from anyone just for having done the right thing. Doing my duty to my country is its own reward. But I do ask for your trust that when I say, I remain committed to fair, practical and comprehensive immigration reform, I mean it. I think I have earned that trust." ~ from Sen. McCain's July 14th speech before the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), See the full text of the speech.

"When you take the solemn stroll along that wall of black granite on the national Mall, it is hard not to notice the many names such as Rodriguez, Hernandez, and Lopez that so sadly adorn it. When you visit Iraq and Afghanistan you will meet some of the thousands of Hispanic-Americans who serve there, and many of those who risk their lives to protect the rest of us do not yet possess the rights and privileges of full citizenship in the country they love so well. To love your country, as I discovered in Vietnam, is to love your countrymen. Those men and women are my brothers and sisters, my fellow Americans, an association that means more to me than any other. As a private citizen or as your President, I will never, never do anything to dishonor our obligations to them and their families or to forget what they and their ancestors have done to make this country the beautiful, bountiful, blessed place we love." ~ from Sen. McCain's July 8th speech before the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), See the full text of the speech.

"I and many other colleagues twice attempted to pass comprehensive immigration legislation to fix our broken borders; ensure respect for the laws of this country; recognize the important economic necessity of immigrant laborers; apprehend those who came here illegally to commit crimes; and deal practically and humanely with those who came here, as my distant ancestors did, to build a better, safer life for their families, without excusing the fact they came here illegally or granting them privileges before those who did. Many Americans, with good cause, did not believe us when we said we would secure our borders, and so we failed in our efforts. We must prove to them that we can and will secure our borders first, while respecting the dignity and rights of citizens and legal residents of the United States. But we must not make the mistake of thinking that our responsibility to meet this challenge will end with that accomplish ment. We have economic and humanitarian responsibilities as well, and they require no less dedication from us in meeting them. ~ from Sen. McCain's June 28th speech before the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), See the full text of the speech.

Copyright © 1993–2008, American Immigration Lawyers Association.
Suite 300, 1331 G Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005
Copyright & Reprint Policy

Posted by VisaLawyer at 09:47 AM | Comments (0)

July 28, 2008

AILA's analysis of '08 Presidential Candidate Barack Obama

Here are the thoughts of Barack Obama on immigration related issues;

Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 07121665 (posted Jul. 23, 2008)"

Party: Democratic
Political Office: U.S. Senator from Illinois, elected 2004; member, Illinois State Senate 1997-2004
Business/Professional Experience: Attorney, law firm of Miner Barnhill & Galland (Chicago, IL), 1993-2004
Home: Chicago, Ill.
Education: B.A. Columbia University 1983; J.D. Harvard Law, 1991
Spouse: married Michelle Robinson, 1992
Children: daughter Malia, born 1999; daughter Natasha, born 2001
Religion: United Church of Christ
Home: Chicago, Ill.

Official Campaign Site

Obama on Immigration

CFR on Obama

Obama's Recent Comments/Statements on Immigration

"We're not going to deputize a whole bunch of American citizens to start grabbing people or turning them in, in part because the ordinary American citizen may not know whether or not this person is illegal or not. Now, we should be holding employers accountable, because they have a mechanism whereby they can actually enforce.

But, you know, the notion that we're going to criminalize priests, for example, or doctors who are providing services to individuals, and throw them in jail for doing what their calling asks them to do, which is to provide help and service to people in need, I think that is a mistake. I think that's out of America's character." ~ on whether or not US citizens should report known undocumented immigrants to law enforcement officials from the Dec. 4 Democratic Debate on NPR

"No, no, no, no. I think that, if they're illegal, then they should not be able to work in this country. That is part of the principle of comprehensive reform -- that we're going to crack down on employers who are hiring them and taking advantage of them.

But I also want to give them a pathway so that they can earn citizenship, earn a legal status, start learning English, pay a significant fine, go to the back of the line, but they can then stay here and they can have the ability to enforce a minimum wage that they're paid, make sure the worker safety laws are available, make sure that they can join a union." ~ on whether or not he would allow undocumented immigrants to work in the US from the Dec. 4 Democratic Debate on NPR

"No. Because there are Spanish-speaking U.S. citizens who may not speak English well, and if they're seeking help, for example, on some vital health care question or a senior citizen who immigrated here a long time ago, and they're trying to get their Social Security check, I don't want them to not be able to get those services." ~ on whether or not he would impose an "English-Only" policy from the Dec. 4 Democratic Debate on NPR

“Latino voters know of my commitment to them and the work that I’ve done for years, then they gravitate toward my candidacy. We were talking earlier about immigration reform. I think that John and myself and Hillary may agree on the broad outlines of where we need to go, but two years ago I stood with Ted Kennedy and John McCain and took on this tough issue, and have consistently been involved in making sure that we’ve got the kind of comprehensive plan that makes us a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.

And when Latino voters read or hear about that leadership, then they know that they’re going to have an advocate even if it’s politically tough.” ~ on if Latino voters will not vote for a black candidate – from the Jan. 15 Democratic Debate in Las Vegas

“I have worked on the streets of Chicago as an organizer with people who have been laid off from steel plants, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, and, you know, all of them are feeling economically insecure right now, and they have been for many years. Before the latest round of immigrants showed up, you had huge unemployment rates among African-American youth. So, I think to suggest somehow that the problem that we're seeing in inner-city unemployment, for example, is attributable to immigrants, I think, is a case of scapegoating that I do not believe in, I do not subscribe to.

I believe that we can be a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants. Now, there is no doubt that we have to get control of our borders. We can't have hundreds of thousands of people coming over to the United States without us having any idea who they are. I also believe that we do have to crack down on those employers that are taking advantage of the situation, hiring folks who cannot complain about worker conditions, who aren't getting the minimum wage sometimes, or aren't getting overtime. We have to crack down on them. I also believe we have to give a pathway to citizenship after they have paid a fine and learned English, to those who are already here, because if we don't, they will continue to undermine U.S. wages.

But let's understand more broadly that the economic problems that African-Americans are experiencing, whites are experiences, blacks and Latinos are experiencing in this country are all rooted in the fact that we have had an economy out of balance. We've had tax cuts that went up instead of down. We have had a lack of investment in basic infrastructure in this country. Our education system is chronically underfunded.

And so, there are a whole host of reasons why we have not been generating the kinds of jobs that we are generating. We should not use immigration as a tactic to divide. Instead, we should pull the country together to get this economy back on track. That's what I intend to do as president of the United States of America.” ~ on the “black-brown” divide – from the Jan. 31 Democratic Debate in California

“What I meant was that, when this issue came up -- not driver's licenses, but comprehensive immigration reform generally -- I worked with Ted Kennedy. I worked with Dick Durbin. I worked with John McCain, although he may not admit it now to move this issue forward aggressively. And it's a hard political issue. But I think it is the right thing to do.

And I think we have to show leadership on the issue. And it is important for us, I believe, to recognize that the problems that workers are experiencing generally are not primarily caused by immigration.

We have to stand up for these issues when it's tough, and that's what I've done. I did it when I was in the state legislature, sponsoring the Illinois version of the DREAM Act, so that children who were brought here through no fault of their own are able to go to college, because we actually want well-educated kids in our country who are able to succeed and become part of this economy and part of the American dream.” ~ on his claim that he “stood up for a humane and intelligent immigration policy in a way that, frankly, none of my other opponents did” – from the Jan. 31 Democratic Debate in California

“On the driver's license issue, I don't believe that we're going to have to deal with this if we have comprehensive immigration reform, because, as I said before, people don't come here to drive. They come here to work. And if we have signed up them -- if we have registered them, if they have paid a fine, if they are learning English, if they are going to the back of the line, if we fix our legal immigration system, then I believe we will not have this problem of undocumented workers in this country, because people will be able to actually go on a pathway to citizenship. That, I think, is the right approach for African-Americans; I think it's the right approach for Latinos; I think it's a right approach for white workers here in the United States.” ~ on the issue of driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants

“From my perspective, I agree with Bill Richardson that there is a public safety concern here and that we're better off, because I don't want a bunch of hit-and-run drivers, because they're worried about being deported and so they don't report an accident. That is a judgment call.

But I do think it is important to recognize that this can be tough and the question is who is going to tackle this problem and solve it. Many of the solutions that Senator Clinton just talked about are solutions that I agree with, that I've been working on for many years, and my suspicion is whatever our differences, we're going to have big differences with the Republicans, but I think a practical, common sense solution to the problem is what the American people are looking for.” ~ on driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants – from the Jan. 31 Democratic Debate in California

“The starting point for our policy in Cuba should be the liberty of the Cuban people. And I think we recognize that that liberty has not existed throughout the Castro regime. And we now have an opportunity to potentially change the relationship between the United States and Cuba after over half a century.

I would meet without preconditions, although Senator Clinton is right that there has to be preparation. It is very important for us to make sure that there was an agenda, and on that agenda was human rights, releasing of political prisoners, opening up the press. And that preparation might take some time. But I do think that it's important for the United States not just to talk to its friends, but also to talk to its enemies. In fact, that's where diplomacy makes the biggest difference.

One other thing that I've said, as a show of good faith that we're interested in pursuing potentially a new relationship, what I've called for is a loosening of the restrictions on remittances from family members to the people of Cuba, as well as travel restrictions for family members who want to visit their family members in Cuba. And I think that initiating that change in policy as a start and then suggesting that an agenda get set up is something that could be useful, but I would not normalize relations until we started seeing some of the progress that Senator Clinton was talking about.” ~ on whether or not he would be meet with Raul Castro – from the Feb. 21 CNN/Univision Debate

“I support the eventual normalization. And it's absolutely true that I think our policy has been a failure. I mean, the fact is, is that during my entire lifetime, and Senator Clinton's entire lifetime, you essentially have seen a Cuba that has been isolated, but has not made progress when it comes to the issues of political rights and personal freedoms that are so important to the people of Cuba.

So I think that we have to shift policy. I think our goal has to be ultimately normalization. But that's going to happen in steps. And the first step, as I said, is changing our rules with respect to remittances and with respect to travel. And then I think it is important for us to have the direct contact, not just in Cuba, but I think this principle applies generally. I recall what John F. Kennedy once said, that we should never negotiate out of fear, but we should never fear to negotiate. And this moment, this opportunity when Fidel Castro has finally stepped down, I think, is one that we should try to take advantage of.” ~ on “normalizing” relations with Cuba – from the Feb. 21 CNN/Univision Debate

“Number one, it is absolutely critical that we tone down the rhetoric when it comes to the immigration debate, because there has been an undertone that has been ugly. Oftentimes, it has been directed at the Hispanic community. We have seen hate crimes skyrocket in the wake of the immigration debate as it has been conducted in Washington, and that is unacceptable.

We are a nation of laws and we are a nation of immigrants, and we can reconcile those two things. So we need comprehensive reform, and that means stronger border security. It means that we are cracking down on employers that are taking advantage of undocumented workers because they can't complain if they're not paid a minimum wage. They can't complain if they're not getting overtime. Worker safety laws are not being observed. We have to crack down on those employers, although we also have to make sure that we do it in a way that doesn't lead to people with Spanish surnames being discriminated against, so there's got to be a safeguard there.

We have to require that undocumented workers, who are provided a pathway to citizenship, not only learn English, pay back taxes and pay a significant fine, but also that they're going to the back of the line, so that they are not getting citizenship before those who have applied legally, which raises two last points.

Number one, it is important that we fix the legal immigration system, because right now we've got a backlog that means years for people to apply legally. And what's worse is, we keep on increasing the fees, so that if you've got a hard working immigrant family, they've got to hire a lawyer; they've got to pay thousands of dollars in fees. They just can't afford it. And it's discriminatory against people who have good character, we should want in this country, but don't have the money. So we've got to fix that.

The second thing is, we have to improve our relationship with Mexico and work with the Mexican government so that their economy is producing jobs on that side of the border. And the problem that we have is that we have had an administration that came in promising all sorts of leadership on creating a U.S.- Mexican relationship. And, frankly, President Bush dropped the ball. He has been so obsessed with Iraq that we have not seen the kinds of outreach and cooperative work that would ensure that the Mexican economy is working not just for the very wealthy in Mexico, but for all people.” ~ on comprehensive immigration reform – from the Feb. 21 CNN/Univision Debate

“I think that the key is to consult with local communities, whether it's on the commercial interests or the environmental stakes of creating any kind of barrier. As Senator Clinton indicated, there may be areas where it makes sense to have some fencing. But for the most part, having border patrolled, surveillance, deploying effective technology, that's going to be the better approach.

It is very important for us, I think, to deal with this problem in terms of thousands of -- hundreds of thousands of people coming over the borders on a regular basis if we want to also provide opportunity for the 12 million undocumented workers who are here. Senator Clinton and I have both campaigned in places like Iowa and Ohio and my home state of Illinois, and I think that the American people want fairness, want justice. I think they recognize that the idea that you're going to deport 12 million people is ridiculous, that we're not going to be devoting all our law enforcement resources to sending people back.

But what they do also want is some order to the process. And so, we're not going to be able to do these things in isolation. We're not going to be able to deal with the 12 million people who are living in the shadows and give them a way of getting out of the shadows if we don't also deal with the problem of this constant influx of undocumented workers. And that's why I think comprehensive reform is so important.” ~ on the issue of the border fence – from the Feb. 21 CNN/Univision Debate

“Something that we can do immediately that I think is very important is to pass the Dream Act, which allows children who through no fault of their own are here but have essentially grown up as Americans, allow them the opportunity for higher education.

I do not want two classes of citizens in this country. I want everybody to prosper. That's going to be a top priority.” ~ on DREAM Act – from the Feb. 21 CNN/Univision Debate

“I think it is important that everyone learns English and that we have that process of binding ourselves together as a country. I think that's very important.

I also think that every student should be learning a second language, because, you know, so, when you start getting into a debate about bilingual education, for example, now, I want to make sure that children who are coming out of Spanish-speaking households had the opportunity to learn and are not falling behind. If bilingual education helps them do that, I want to give them the opportunity.

But I also want to make sure that English-speaking children are getting foreign languages because this world is becoming more interdependent and part of the process of America's continued leadership in the world is going to be our capacity to communicate across boundaries, across borders, and that's something frankly where we've fallen behind.

One of the failures of No Child Left Behind, a law that I think a lot of local and state officials have been troubled by, is that it is so narrowly focused on standardized tests that it has pushed out a lot of important learning that needs to take place. And foreign languages is one of those areas that I think has been neglected. I want to put more resources into it.” ~ on the downside of the US becoming a bilingual nation – from the Feb. 21 CNN/Univision Debate

"The system isn't working when 12 million people live in hiding, and hundreds of thousands cross our borders illegally each year; when companies hire undocumented immigrants instead of legal citizens to avoid paying overtime or to avoid a union; when communities are terrorized by ICE immigration raids – when nursing mothers are torn from their babies, when children come home from school to find their parents missing, when people are detained without access to legal counsel. When all that's happening, the system just isn't working." ~ from Sen. Obama's July 13th speech before the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), See the full text of the speech.

"I marched with you in the streets of Chicago to meet our immigration challenge. I fought with you in the Senate for comprehensive immigration reform. And I will make it a top priority in my first year as President -- not only because we have an obligation to secure our borders and get control of who comes in and out of our country. And not only because we have to crack down on employers who are abusing undocumented immigrants instead of hiring citizens. But because we have to finally bring undocumented immigrants out of the shadows. Yes, they broke the law. And they should have to pay a fine, and learn English, and go to the back of the line. That's how we'll put them on a pathway to citizenship. That's how we'll finally fix our broken immigration system and avoid creating a servant class in our midst. It's time to reconcile our values and principles as a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws. That's what this election is all about." ~ from Sen. Obama's July 9th speech before the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), See the full text of the speech.

"If we are going to solve the challenges we face, you need a President who will pursue genuine solutions day in and day out. And that is my commitment to you. We need immigration reform that will secure our borders, and punish employers who exploit immigrant labor; reform that finally brings the 12 million people who are here illegally out of the shadows by requiring them to take steps to become legal citizens. We must assert our values and reconcile our principles as a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws. That is a priority I will pursue from my very first day." ~ from Sen. Obama's June 28th speech before the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), See the full text of the speech.

Copyright © 1993–2008, American Immigration Lawyers Association.
Suite 300, 1331 G Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005
Copyright & Reprint Policy

Posted by VisaLawyer at 09:45 AM | Comments (0)

July 24, 2008

Attorney General's Opinion on marrige from Vanessa Saenz


PO BOX 20207

July 22, 2008
Opinion No. 08-126

Requirement of Social Security Number in Tenn. Code Ann. §36-3-104(a)

Does Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-3-104(a) require applicants for marriage licenses to produce a social security number or a visa in order to secure a marriage license in Tennessee?

Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-3-104(a) requires applicants for a marriage license to provide their social security numbers. The statute does not require a person to have a social security number to qualify for a marriage license. Thus, applicants who have not been issued a social security number do not have to provide a social security number in order to obtain a marriage license. Op. Tenn.
Att’y Gen. 98-005 (Jan. 9, 1998), which concluded otherwise, is hereby withdrawn. The statute contains no requirement that applicants for marriage licenses produce a visa.

In Saenz v. Bredesen, et al., U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, Docket No. 3:08-cv-00404, the plaintiff has challenged the policy of the Davidson County Clerk that allegedly required a marriage license applicant to have a social security number or, for an applicant without a social security number, a current passport and valid visa in order to obtain a license. This
policy, which has now changed, was consistent with this Office’s interpretation of the statute as stated in an opinion issued soon after the statute was amended to require applicants to list their social security numbers. Op. Tenn. Att’y Gen. No. 98-005 (Jan. 9, 1998). As discussed below, in light of legal developments since the issuance of that opinion, the Office is now of the view that the statute should be read only to require applicants with social security numbers to provide them in order to obtain a marriage license. The Office has filed a brief in Saenz so stating on behalf of the State defendant.

The origin of the requirement that applicants for marriage licenses provide their social security numbers can be found in federal, not state, legislation. In 1997, Congress passed comprehensive federal legislation addressing child support issues, including provisions designed to make it easier to track parents and enforce obligations. See Michigan Dep't of State v. United States, 166 F.Supp.2d 1228, 1232-33, (W.D. Mich. 2001)(case challenging federal statute describes history of nationwide efforts to enforce child support obligations and use of social security numbers in Page 2
1It is understood that the Davidson County Clerk’s policy of accepting a current passport and valid visa from applicants without social security numbers who were in the United States legally reflected the need for an exception to the social security number requirement. As stated above, the statute contains no reference to the need for a valid visa or any other type of substitute documentation from those without social security numbers. Thus, the statue does not process). This was accomplished in part by requiring the states to use social security numbers in a variety of situations. Id. The 1997 legislation amended 42 U.S.C. § 666(a)(13) and directed states to enact statutes requiring the social security number of “any applicant for a professional license, driver's license, recreational license, or marriage license” to be recorded on the application. Federal funding for the states depended on their passing this and other legislation as part of the states' participation in the national program. See Michigan, 166 F.Supp. at 1232.

There was initial confusion about what state procedures were required by the federal statute in situations in which a person did not have a social security number. It was not until 1999 that the federal government issued an interpretive memorandum taking the position that the federal statute does not require a person to have a social security number to apply for a license. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Child Support Enforcement Policy Interpretation Question

(“PIQ”) 99-05, dated July 14, 1999. In the “PIQ,” the commissioner of the Office of Child Support Enforcement said the agency does not interpret the language to “require that an individual have a
social security number as a condition of receiving a license, etc.” Instead, a person is to provide the number if he or she has one. PIQs are official replies by the Office of Child Support Enforcement
to inquiries by state child support agencies.

The Tennessee legislation that included the requirement of social security numbers on marriage license applications was also part of a comprehensive bill addressing child support issues.

1997 Tenn. Laws Pub. Ch. 551. Section 30 of the bill added “social security numbers" to the list of information to be included on marriage applications set out in Tenn. Code Ann. §36-3-104(a). The
statute now states, in part: No county clerk nor deputy clerk shall issue a marriage license until the applicants make an application in writing, stating the names, ages, addresses and social security
numbers of both the proposed male and female contracting parties and the names and addresses of the parents, guardian or next of kin of both parties. . .

Tenn. Code Ann. §36-3-104(a).
The 1998 Attorney General opinion was issued soon after the state statute was enacted (and before the federal statute was clarified in PIQ-99-05). Op. Tenn. Att’y Gen. No. 98-005 (“1998 Opinion”). In the opinion, the state statute was read to require that all applicants provide social security numbers -- even if an applicant did not have one -- but noted that some constitutional questions would be raised by this interpretation. 1998 Opinion, p. 1. The opinion anticipated that such a reading of the statute would result in courts carving out exceptions for persons “legitimately unable to obtain a social security number and members of religious groups exempted from
participation in the social security program."1 1998 Opinion, p. 1. However, the opinion also

Page 3
require a visa be provided by marriage license applicants.
suggested the exceptions may not extend to illegal aliens. 1998 Opinion, p. 4. The opinion noted that the Child Support Enforcement Office within the federal Department of Health and Human Services had the authority to interpret the social security number disclosure requirements in the federal statute. 1998 Opinion, p. 2. In 1999, after the issuance of Attorney General Opinion No. 98-005, the federal Child Support Enforcement Office made clear that the federal statute should not be interpreted to bar applicants without social security numbers from obtaining state licenses. Based upon this development as well as a comprehensive review of how similar statutes
passed in other states have been interpreted, this Office now concludes that the proper reading of the statute requires social security numbers to be provided by each applicant only if the applicant has one. While it is understandable that one could read the statute to require that every person provide a social security number, there is no clear statement that applicants must have numbers in order to obtain a marriage license. Instead, it appears there is a presumption that the applicants will have social security numbers just as the statute presumes applicants will have addresses and the
names and addresses of parents, guardians or next of kin. To read the statute to deny marriage licenses for applicants without social security numbers would suggest that clerks should also deny
licenses to applicants without addresses or particular information about their parents, guardians or next of kin.

In other states, marriage license statutes with similar language regarding social security numbers have been interpreted not to require applicants to provide numbers if they do not have them. As mentioned, the federal government has clarified that 42 U.S.C. §666(a)(13) does not require persons to have a social security number in order to obtain licenses; they just have to provide their numbers if they have them. In Ohio, courts have held that a statute similar to Tennessee's should not be interpreted so that applicants who do not have social security numbers are denied marriage licenses. Vasquez v. Kutscher, 767 N.E.2d 267 (Ohio S.Ct. 2002), State v. Belskis, 755 N.E.2d 443, 445-46 (Ohio Ct. App. 2001). Florida’s attorney general issued an opinion stating that its similar statute does not require a social security number from a person who has never had one. Fla. Atty. Gen. Opinion 97-74 (Oct. 20, 1997), 1997 WL 651950 (Fla. A.G.). Reading the statute to require marriage license applicants to provide their social security numbers only if they have them is also favored by rules of statutory construction. In interpreting Tennessee statutes, the state's courts are “charged with upholding the constitutionality of statutes where possible.” State v. Pickett, 211 S.W. 3d 696, 700 (Tenn. 2007). The courts are to favor
reasonable interpretations of statutes that avoid constitutional issues. Bailey v. County of Shelby, 188 S.W.3d 539, 547 (Tenn. 2006). In Bailey, the Tennessee Supreme Court explained this “established
rule of statutory construction”:

[W]here one reasonable interpretation would render a statute unconstitutional and another reasonable interpretation would render it valid, courts are to choose the construction which validates the statute.

Page 4
Id. Federal courts deciding between two plausible statutory constructions are also to favor interpretations that do not raise constitutional problems. Clark v. Martinez, 543 U.S. 371, 380-81,
125 S.Ct. 716, 724, 160 L.Ed.2d 734 (2005); Davet v. Cleveland, 456 F.3d 549, 554-55 (6th Cir. 2006). While this Office is not taking the position that the statute would necessarily be unconstitutional if read to require social security numbers from all applicants as a condition to obtaining a marriage license, such a reading would certainly raise more constitutional issues related to the fundamental right to marry than one that only requires those with social security numbers to provide them. See Zablocki v. Redhail, 434 U.S. 374, 386, 98 S.Ct. 673, 681, 54 L.Ed.2nd 618 (1978)(fundamental right to marry is not violated by reasonable regulations that do not significantly
interfere with entry into marital relationship); McKay v. Thompson, 226 F.3d 752, 756 (6th Cir. 2000)(fundamental right to vote not unconstitutionally burdened by requirement that voters provide
social security numbers in order to register to vote).

Therefore, it is our opinion that Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-3-104(a) should be read to require that applicants for marriage licenses provide their social security number only if the applicants have
social security numbers. The 1998 opinion is hereby withdrawn.

Attorney General and Reporter
Solicitor General
Senior Counsel
Requested by:
The Honorable Rob Briley
State Representative
G19-A War Memorial Bldg.
Nashville, TN 37243-0152

Posted by VisaLawyer at 10:58 AM | Comments (0)

July 18, 2008

Alberta, Canada Welcomes H-1B Visa Holders and Their Families While the U.S. Rejects them

Por Wendy Hess, 17:05 | 17/07/08


"This time the U.S. government has really missed the boat. No, I’m not talking about our failed policy in Iraq, the gas crisis, the mortgage crisis made even worse by fact that Freddie and Fannie Mae need a federal bailout when the federal government doesn’t have any money because we’re operating under major deficit spending or the fact that most Americans feel hopeless and helpless as America is losing its economic power worldwide and the average American is struggling to survive. Instead, I’m talking about how our country, in desperate need of highly skilled foreign professionals, many of whom were educated here, has chosen to reject them rather than raise the immigrant quotas to correspond with market need. Our neighbor, Alberta, Canada, is correctly seeking to capitalize on this pool of talented professionals who have had it with the U.S. immigration system—with quotas that create waiting lists that seem to span a lifetime.

Witness the advertisements that appeared last week in our local newspapers as well as in other major newspapers throughout the U.S. They began as follows:

Alberta, Canada Welcomes H-1B Visa Holders and Their Families. Work Here. Live Here.

Are you currently working in the United States in a temporary skilled worker visa category?

You may be eligible to qualify for Canadian Permanent Residency through the Strategic Recruitment Stream pilot program recently introduced by the Alberta Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)...".

Posted by VisaLawyer at 02:11 PM | Comments (0)

July 14, 2008

Chamber reiterates opposition to English-Only

in the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce - Monday Morning Report;

"In light of Councilman Eric Crafton's attempt to add an English-Only measure to the November ballot, the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce has taken a public stance to oppose this effort. The Chamber believes the English-Only movement is divisive, unnecessary and will create a negative impression of our city in the eyes of the nation and the world. Learn more here...".

Posted by VisaLawyer at 09:00 AM | Comments (0)

July 02, 2008

FAQ; how can the US solve its housing crisis?

Answer; learn from Australia;

One million homes needed to keep up with immigration: HIA

"The Housing Industry Association (HIA) says housing supply is not keeping pace with Australia's booming immigration intake and one million new homes will be needed over the next five years.

HIA says there has been record immigration growth but no accompanying increase in housing.

The head of the association's policy division, Chris Lamont, says the problem is exacerbated because there has been a decline in the number of people per house.

He says he doubts the demand for housing will be met.

"The skills shortages that are plaguing the industry, limited land release and the limited investment are playing havoc," he said.

"In the five-year period that we're looking at, we're going to see continued house price growth and continued rental growth unless we make a sizeable difference in combating the demand."".

at; http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/06/30/2290169.htm?section=australia

Posted by VisaLawyer at 10:04 AM | Comments (0)

July 01, 2008

Obama and McCain court Hispanic vote

"WASHINGTON - Presidential rivals John McCain and Barack Obama vied over the weekend for the support of Hispanics, courting a pivotal constituency by vowing to revamp immigration policy.

"I come from a border state, my dear friends. I know these issues," McCain told Hispanic elected officials. He said that overhauling the country's broken immigration system, not just securing its borders, "will be my top priority."

Appearing later before the same audience, Obama said: "We must assert our values and reconcile our principles as a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws. That is a priority I will pursue from my very first day."

The two spoke separately Saturday to about 700 people attending the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials conference...".

at www.ap.org

Posted by VisaLawyer at 08:04 AM | Comments (0)