June 28, 2009
Sunday in Honduras
Iris, I and the family are in Honduras to visit her family and to see the ruins of Copan and the beaches of Trujillo (the site of Colombus´ fourth and last voyage). Today Max asked me what is a golpe de estado. First I had to explain the nature of the political crisis taking into consideration the regional geo-political situation of Chavez vs the US.
Next I had to explain to him that the President of Honduras wanted to extend his term which was not allowed as per the constitution. By this time Max had taken his Honduran geko out of its cage and was looking for an insect to feed it.
I decided to leave the political interpretation to CNN. We will use mango to lure the insects into a trap to feed the geko.
June 27, 2009
President Obama Leads Immigration Reform Debate Executive Branch to Shepherd Legislative Process
For Immediate Release
June 25, 2009
Washington, D.C. - Today the President, Vice President, and key cabinet members met with a bipartisan group of Senate and House leaders representing the spectrum of opinion on immigration. The White House characterized the meeting as the "launch" of a policy conversation and "an honest discussion about the issues...identifying areas of agreement and areas where we still have work to do, with the hope of beginning the debate in earnest later this year."
The President's remarks after the meeting indicate not only his full commitment to moving immigration reform forward in the coming year, but also his desire to shift the debate from inflammatory rhetoric to genuine dialogue. "But what I'm encouraged by is that after all the overheated rhetoric and the occasional demagoguery on all sides around this issue, we've got a responsible set of leaders sitting around the table who want to actively get something done and not put it off until a year, two years, three years, five years from now, but to start working on this thing right now," said President Obama.
As with other major initiatives, the President announced the formation of an immigration working group led by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. Secretary Napolitano will work with members of Congress to reach solid, practical solutions.
"Today President Obama moved the ball forward on comprehensive immigration reform and changed the nature of the debate - shifting politicians from finger-pointing to problem-solving," said Mary Giovagnoli, Director of the Immigration Policy Center. "The President and key leaders on both sides of the aisle, including Senator John McCain, are ready to roll up their sleeves and work on practical legislation that solves our immigration crisis. There will be challenges, as there are in any legislative process, but the public should be reassured that we are finally moving forward in a genuine, bipartisan fashion, on a reasoned and reasonable debate on comprehensive immigration reform."
For press inquiries, contact Wendy Sefsaf at 202-507-7524 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Immigration Policy Center (IPC), established in 2003, is the policy arm of the American Immigration Law Foundation. IPC's mission is to shape a rational national conversation on immigration and immigrant integration. Through its research and analysis, IPC provides policymakers, the media, and the general public with accurate information about the role of immigrants and immigration policy on U.S. society. IPC reports and materials are widely disseminated and relied upon by press and policy makers. IPC staff regularly serves as experts to leaders on Capitol Hill, opinion-makers and the media. IPC is a non-partisan organization that neither supports nor opposes any political party or candidate for office
A division of the American Immigration Law Foundation.
Visit our website at www.immigrationpolicy.org.
June 24, 2009
Immigration Reform? Wait 'Till Next Year
Advocates, Foes Agree It's Off Obama's Radar
New America Media, News Report, Jun Wang, Posted: Jun 23, 2009
"LOS ANGELES, Calif - If there's one thing immigration proponents and foes can agree on it's this: a legislative overhaul of our immigration system has been pushed down the president's priorities list and probably won't happen this year.
That was the consensus on Thursday at a panel titled, "Are We on Our Way to Immigration Reform?" at the Edmund G. "Pat" Brown Institute of Public Affairs California State University, Los Angeles.
While generally engaged in a heated argument, the panelists all agreed that the economy and healthcare are higher up on the country's priority list than immigration reform.
According to Ira Mehlman of the conservative Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), immigration is the top issue for only nine percent of Latinos."...
June 23, 2009
ICE won't detain non-U.S. drivers in Nashville
Davidson County sheriff says arrests will continue
"The federal government will no longer detain illegal immigrants caught driving without a license in Nashville.
Instead, the federal system wants to use its bed space to house and deport the most dangerous offenders.
The change is good news to advocates who have complained from the beginning, in spring 2007, that the focus of the local immigration enforcement program is misplaced on people who are only committing traffic infractions.
In fact, one of the biggest criticism of the Davidson County Sheriff's Office has been that all offenders, from those driving without a license to those committing violent felonies, are treated to the same punishment once they are identified as illegal immigrants.
The sheriff, who has stood behind the efficacy of the program, says he will continue to screen every foreign-born person arrested, whether they go directly to federal custody or not.
"Just because the federal government is saying we need to prioritize who is detained, doesn't remove the fact they'll be held accountable in the courtroom," said Sheriff Daron Hall.
"There is no shift. We are still processing everyone for every crime."
Most of the 5,300 people sent toward deportation from Nashville's jail in the past two years spent weeks shuffled from one jail cell to another before being sent out of the country. About 75 percent of them were picked up on traffic offenses ranging from driving without a license to DUI; 25 percent were charged only with license offenses."...
June 19, 2009
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT AT THE ESPERANZA NATIONAL HISPANIC PRAYER BREAKFAST
THE WHITE HOUSE, Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release, June 19, 2009
J.W. Marriott, Washington, D.C.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Buenos días.
AUDIENCE: Buenos días.
"THE PRESIDENT: It is good to see everybody here. Just a few quick acknowledgments. Our outstanding Secretary of Department of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, is here. Please give her a big round of applause. (Applause.) The great governor of the state of Pennsylvania, Ed Rendell. (Applause.) Two special members of my staff that I want all of you to get to know. First of all, we have a White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships -- if you haven't already met him, Joshua DeBois is just a wonderful young man, please give him a big round of applause; he helps to organize a lot of our faith outreach. (Applause.) And our director of Intergovernmental Affairs, one of my favorite people, Cecilia Muñoz, please give her a big round of applause. (Applause.)
I want to thank Reverend Cortes for the wonderful introduction and the wonderful prayer for me and my family. I want to thank Esperanza, and all of you who worked so hard to put together the National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast and Conference. And I also want to join you in honoring the work of Adolfo Carrion Sr. on this Father's Day weekend -- (applause) -- on this Father's Day weekend I know that my director of Urban Affairs, Adolfo's son, is particularly proud of his dad. I also want to thank all of you for the work that you do each and every day. Through your service to your communities, you represent the very best in our country. And I'm honored to join you in prayer this morning."...
June 18, 2009
Editorial published in the Tennessean
Here is the editorial which ran in the Tennessean on June 17, 2009;
"June 4-6, I attended the American Immigration Lawyers Association annual meeting in Las Vegas, where I received the AILA Advocacy Award for Outstanding Efforts in Support of AILA's Legislative Agenda.
Any long-term solution to our nation's immigration problems must begin with a comprehensive approach to reform that addresses all aspects of our immigration system. Piecemeal reforms have been tried, and they have failed. Our government has pursued a tough, enforcement-focused strategy for the past 10 years, and the flow of undocumented immigrants has only increased.
Virtually everyone, from national security experts and chambers of commerce to religious leaders and labor unions, who has studied our immigration system agrees: An enforcement-only approach simply will not work, and the only viable path to a lasting and meaningful solution is holistic, comprehensive reform.
Effective reform must:
• Encourage the undocumented population to come out of the shadows and earn legal status.
• Provide fair and lawful ways for American businesses to hire much-needed immigrant workers.
• Reduce unreasonable and counterproductive backlogs in family- and employment-based immigration.
• Protect our national security and the rule of law while preserving and restoring fundamental principles of due process and equal protection.
'Earned adjustment' will work
Our current immigration system is broken, and needs to be reformed. Immigration laws that are out of sync with 21st-century economic realities and demographics have given rise to a vast underground economy, characterized by criminal smugglers, fake documents and millions of undocumented immigrants who are vulnerable to exploitation. Our borders are unmanageable, and we are unable to focus our enforcement resources on those who mean us harm.
The most realistic solution is a flexible program of "earned adjustment," often referred to as "earned legalization." Such a program requires undocumented immigrants to earn legal status by demonstrating past work history, paying significant fines, undergoing rigorous security and background checks, learning English and American civics, and making good on any back taxes. Undocumented immigrants who successfully jump through all of these hoops do not gain preferential treatment over others who have been waiting for their green cards.
Any truly comprehensive reform program must address our outdated permanent immigration system and eliminate the multiyear backlogs for family-based and employment-based green cards. The ostensible goals behind our permanent immigration policies include promoting family unification, facilitating immigrant assimilation, and unleashing immigrants' economic dynamism.
Americans come to the immigration debate from many perspectives: as employers and workers who understand immigration allows their businesses to thrive; as individuals who believe in core American values of family unification, civil rights and due process; as national security experts who know that comprehensive reform is crucial to securing our borders; and as members of religious institutions who believe in the humane treatment of all individuals. Despite their different perspectives, the majority of these Americans come together in support of a comprehensive solution that provides earned legalization, enhanced legal immigration channels, family reunification and effective enforcement".
June 17, 2009
Reform must be comprehensive
Here is a link to an editorial I wrote for the Tennessean, the state wide newspaper. Go to http://www.tennessean.com/article/20090617/OPINION01/906170392/1007/OPINION/Reform%20must%20be%20comprehensive?GID=S7+YlNGoxEfPeFsJ0oRp+DEoBIn9zWV9k951YFPzbds%3D
June 10, 2009
DHS Establishes Interim Relief for Widows of U.S. Citizens
For Immediate Release, Office of the Press Secretary, Contact: 202-282-8010
"U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano today granted deferred action for two years to widows and widowers of U.S. citizens—as well as their unmarried children under 18 years old—who reside in the United States and who were married for less than two years prior to their spouse’s death.
“Smart immigration policy balances strong enforcement practices with common-sense, practical solutions to complicated issues,” said Secretary Napolitano. “Granting deferred action to the widows and widowers of U.S. citizens who otherwise would have been denied the right to remain in the United States allows these individuals and their children an opportunity to stay in the country that has become their home while their legal status is resolved.”...'.
June 06, 2009
Advocacy Award from AILA
Today I receive the Advocacy Award from the American Immigration Lawyers Association. This award is for my past work on immigration reform. There is still much work to do to achieve reform. I am extremely grateful to AILA for having selected me for this award.
Immigration reform is a work in progress. There is still much that needs to be done to succeed. This will call for new alliances and strategies.
This will be way to win on reform.
June 04, 2009
AILA Announces 2009 Annual Award Recipients
Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 05091210 (posted May. 27, 2009)"
AILA Announces 2009 Annual Award Recipients
President Charles H. Kuck announced today the recipients of the 2009 AILA Annual awards. The awards, some dating back to the founding of AILA, are among the most prestigious honors extended to AILA members and others for outstanding endeavors that advance immigration law and policy.
The Awards will be presented at a special event in conjunction with the Annual Conference in Las Vegas on Saturday, June 6, 2009 at 5:30pm - 7:00pm at the Palazzo/Venetian Congress Center, in the Delfino Room on Level 4.
Recipients that will be honored in Las Vegas are:
Mario M. Ramos
In Recognition of Outstanding Efforts in Support of AILA's Legislative Agenda
Matthew J. Wilch
Arthur C. Helton Human Rights Award
In Recognition of Outstanding Service in Advancing the Cause of Human Rights
Edith Lowenstein Award
For Excellence in Advancing the Practice of Immigration Law
David C. Koelsch
Elmer Fried Excellence In Teaching Award
In Recognition of Outstanding Professors in the Area of Immigration Law
Stacy Eva Tolchin
Jack Wasserman Memorial Award
For Excellence in Litigation in the Field of Immigration Law
Joseph Minsky Young Lawyer Award
For Outstanding Contributions Made as a Young Lawyer in the Field of Immigration and Nationality Law (Established 1993)
Media Leadership Award
Awarded Annually to the Member of the Media whose Coverage Most Accurately Depicts Immigration, Immigrants, and Related Issues
Sonia Parras Konrad
Michael Maggio Memorial Pro Bono Award
In Recognition of Outstanding Efforts in Providing Pro Bono Representation in the Immigration Field
Sam Williamson Mentor Award
For Outstanding Efforts and Excellent Counsel to Immigration Attorneys by Providing Mentoring Assistance
Jeanne A. Butterfield
AILA Service Excellence Award
Awarded Periodically in Recognition of Outstanding Service, Over a Period of Years, In Advancing the Mission, Development, and Value of the American Immigration Lawyers Association for its Members and the Public it Serves
2009 President's Commendations
For Outstanding Service in Liaison in the Most Difficult of Times
For Outstanding Service in Liaison and for Being a Most Excellent Human Being
For Outstanding Leadership as Chair of the 2009 AILA Annual Conference
For Outstanding Liaison Work in the Face of Extraordinary Hardship
For Leadership of AILA's Pro Bono Efforts
Kathleen Campbell Walker
For Leadership, Friendship, and for Just Being Ornery Sometimes
For Tolerating an Absent, but Adoring and Loving Husband
* Advocacy Award
In recognition of outstanding efforts in support of AILA’s legislative agenda
* AILA Service Excellence Award
Awarded periodically in recognition of outstanding volunteer services by an AILA member, over a period of several years, in advancing the mission, development, and value of the American Immigration Lawyers Association for its members and the public it serves
* Arthur C. Helton Human Rights Award
In recognition of outstanding service in advancing the cause of human rights.
* Congressional Leadership Award
Awarded annually to the Member(s) of Congress who most advanced the cause of immigration and immigrants during the previous year.
* Edith Lowenstein Memorial Award
For excellence in advancing the practice of immigration law.
* Elmer Fried Excellence in Teaching Award
In recognition of outstanding professors in the area of immigration law
* Jack Wasserman Memorial Award
For excellence in litigation in the field of immigration law.
* Joseph Minsky Young Lawyer Award
For outstanding contributions made as a young lawyer in the field of immigration and nationality law
* Media Leadership Award
Awarded annually to the member of the media whose coverage most accurately depicts immigration, immigrants, and related issues
* Michael Maggio Memorial Pro Bono Award
In Recognition of Outstanding Efforts in Providing Pro Bono Representation in the Immigration Field
* Sam Williamson Mentor Award
For outstanding efforts and excellent counsel to immigration attorneys by providing mentoring assistance.
* The Founders Award
To the person or entity who has had the most substantial impact on the field of immigration law or policy in the preceding period
* President's Commendations
Presented at the discretion of the outgoing AILA President to individuals who have contributed to the success of their presidential year
Utah currently only state to offer ID cards to illegal immigrants
"MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin may soon join Utah as the only states to issue illegal immigrants special cards that allow them to drive but not get other rights that traditional licenses hold.
The plan was included in Wisconsin’s state budget approved by a Democratic-controlled committee on Friday. It is subject to approval by the full Legislature and Gov. Jim Doyle, perhaps as soon as next week.
Utah is the only state with a two-tiered system like what is being proposed in Wisconsin, according to The American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators.
About 40,000 drivers in Utah have the cards, which were created with that state’s program in 2005 as an attempt to end voter fraud among illegal immigrants who were receiving regular licenses.
Tennessee ended a driver certification program after two years in 2006 after federal investigators found that some testing centers were selling driver’s licenses and certificates to out-of-state illegal immigrants.".
June 03, 2009
We have some big news.
"This week, hundreds of allied organizations launched the campaign to Reform Immigration FOR America in cities all across the country -- from Los Angeles to Maine, Miami to Seattle. Today, a broad coalition of allies from labor, business, and community groups officially kicked off the national campaign in Washington, DC. The American Immigration Lawyers Association is a part of this exciting grassroots movement to reform immigration, and we invite you to join us.
On June 4th, over 700 advocates are descending on Capitol Hill to tell Congress:
"We cannot wait any longer. America needs to reform immigration now."
We can't afford to fly you out to DC to join them in person, but we can give you a 1-click way to make sure we have impact. Please take 30 seconds to send a (free) fax to your Senators, Representative, and Congressional leadership right now at
Then please forward this to friends and family. Our goal is to back up those 700 advocates on the Hill with 2,500 phone calls and 20,000 faxes.
Here's our thinking: President Obama has said reforming the immigration system is a priority for him. But it's going to take more than just having the President on our side to win. We need 279 votes to pass comprehensive immigration reform: 218 US Representatives + 60 Senators + the President's signature. So over the coming months, we're going to be asking you to help us flood Congress and the White House with faxes, calls, emails, and visits to say (each in our own way):
Our economy and thousands of families are suffering under the burden of a broken system. The time has come for just and humane immigration reform. We cannot wait any longer.
Together, we can make this happen.
Director of Advocacy
American Immigration Lawyers Association
June 02, 2009
NATIONAL LAUNCH OF THE REFORM IMMIGRATION FOR AMERICA CAMPAIGN
Contact: Clarissa Martinez de Castro, NCLR or Marie Watteau, NCLR
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jun 1, 2009
WHAT: PRESS CONFERENCE announcing the launch of a national campaign uniting business, labor, religious, civil rights, and immigrant leaders under a broad umbrella for immigration reform
WHEN: Wednesday, June 3, 2009; 9:30 a.m., EST
WHERE: National Press Club
1st Amendment Room
529 14th Street, NW, Washington, DC
WHO: Ali Noorani, Executive Director, National Immigration Forum, Moderator
Angelica Salas, Executive Director, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA)
Eliseo Medina, Executive Vice President, Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
Hilary O. Shelton, Director, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Washington Bureau, (NAACP)
Janet Murguía, President and CEO, National Council of La Raza (NCLR)
John Podesta, President and CEO, Center for American Progress
John J. Sweeney, President, AFL-CIO
Karen Narasaki, President and Executive Director, Asian American Justice Center (AAJC)
Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC)
Robert J. Dolibois, Executive Vice President, American Nursery & Landscape Association, Co-Chair, Agriculture Coalition for Immigration Reform
William McNary, President, USAction
WHY: Leaders playing a central role in promoting immigration reform, including NCLR (National Council of La Raza), will officially launch the Reform Immigration FOR America Campaign. This groundbreaking, momentum-building effort organizes supporters of immigration reform into a stronger, more effective, and politically savvy national campaign which will help support President Obama and ensure that his promises of addressing comprehensive immigration reform become legislative reality.
The press conference announcing the Reform Immigration FOR America Campaign is part of a weeklong series of events, including more than 30 local campaign launch press events in 20 states (June 1), a national summit in Washington, DC bringing together 700 grassroots advocates representing more than 35 states (June 3-5), and a National Town Hall Meeting on Capitol Hill (June 4) on immigration reform.
For more information on the Reform Immigration FOR America Campaign, please visit www.reformimmigrationforamerica.org or www.reformamigratoriaproamerica.org or www.nclr.org