Monday, November 29, 2010


Fox News Atlanta reports that Georgia is considering making it a crime to stop traffic to hire someone for day labor. State lawmakers are considering this preposterous measure as part of their battle with illegal immigration.
Last year the city of Atlanta decided to fine drivers for not pulling off the road and parking, before hiring day laborers. That is OK, because it disrupts traffic and increases chances of an accident. However state lawmakers that are consider creating a criminal offense for people who stop vehicles on the street for hiring day labor? Well that is a first. And not in a good way. The controversial Arizona law contained a portion that made it a crime to stop a vehicle for day laborers or for day laborers to get in a vehicle if those actions delay traffic. This section was not blocked by the federal judge. However, taking it to an unreasonable step as described above by the Georgia legislators is beyond absurd.

Monday, November 22, 2010


A large human rights group protested in South Georgia's detention center in Lumpkin, Georgia, known as Stewart detention center in support of undocumented immigrants held in that facility.
The group includes Georgia Detention Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia, and sought to highlight the traumatic effects the prison is causing for immigrants' families, who may be separated for months at a time pending deportation hearings.
Court cases for inmates at Stewart are pending for 63 days on average, according to a recent study by Syracuse University's Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, a research organization that monitors the federal government, which is way too long. As of September 17, the center was holding 1,890 inmates.
While ICE claims that they are committed to smart and effective immigration enforcement that focuses first on convicted criminals who pose a threat to public safety, many of the Stewart detainees are non-criminals, and they are still detained in a federal prison with the general criminal population. It's really outrageous that non-criminals that have just crossed the border or overstayed their visa be detained for that long with general population prisoners.


Jessica Colotl, the undocumented student from Kennesaw State University who sparked a huge debate in Georgia was sentenced in state court to three days in jail and $1,000 fine after a jury found her guilty of driving without a license. Her lawyer will appeal. She was apprehended at the college and was turned over by the Cobb county police to be deported.
After much of a media frenzy, ICE agreed to stay her deportation until she graduates from college. Colotl plans to graduate this spring with a degree in political science and French minor.
Following these events, the university of Georgia system's Board of Regents was called to order to answer how an undocumented student pays in-state tuition for college. Also, many Georgia Republican legislators are now considering legislation to ban all undocumented from attending public universities even if they pay out-of-state tuition.
I'd like to end with a couple of things that Colotl said: "I truly believe that undocumented people who have been paying income taxes, don’t have a criminal record and are willing to pay a fine should be allowed to get into a line to become U.S. citizens ... Ultimately, I think this goes back to our history. It’s taxation without representation...we find a solution for our broken immigration system."
I agree.

Friday, November 19, 2010


As an example to the Immigration Policy Report demonstrating 287(g) program failures (difficult on ICE's resources and undermines ICE's own declared enforcement priorities), in Cobb County, Georgia, about 60 percent of the 3,159 inmates identified as being in the country illegally between January 2009 and March 2010 were there for traffic offenses (mostly for driving without a license, which one cannot get if they are in the country illegally). In Gwinnett, another 287(g) county, 42 percent of the 2,602 inmates that were transferred to ICE this year were jailed for traffic-related offenses. ICE's own stated policies are to apprehend the serious criminals first, not every person who is undocumented, however the facts prove otherwise -- that large numbers of people turned over to ICE by local police are just undocumented immigrants who have not broken the law or have very small traffic infractions.


The Immigration Policy Center released a special report examining ICE's enforcement priorities and the factors that undermine them, by Michele Waslin, Ph.D. The paper reviews the steps that ICE has taken in recent months to clarify its enforcement priorities and how those priorities are playing out nationally and in local communities.
The report concludes that the Obama administration, as part of its strategy to gain support for comprehensive immigration reform, has continually touted its enforcement accomplishments. Over the last two years, the Obama administration issued many press statements to demonstrate how it is committed to remove criminals and others who remain in the country without proper documentation. They have continued to use the enforcement programs of the Bush administration, including partnering with state and local law enforcement agencies to identify, detain, and deport immigrants (287(g) and the Secure Communities program). However, in doing so, they have lost the ability to fully control their own enforcement priorities and enforcement outcomes, and the results have demonstrated that the state and local partners are not necessarily committed to the same priorities. In other words, a large number of the people caught by local police are undocumented immigrants with no criminal background that as a consequence of their capture by local police are put into the system for deportation. This causes an inflation in the number of cases waiting for removal (increases the workload of ICE personnel) but does very little to combat the serious criminal offenders and absconders.
The report is available at:


A bill that would ban undocumented students from attending Georgia colleges was just introduced by Republican Rep. Tom Rice (R-Norcross). The proposed bill would add postsecondary education to a list of public benefits that will be subject to citizenship verification under immigration reform legislation already passed by Georgia lawmakers several years ago.
The University System of Georgia would be required to use the SAVE system to determine whether student applicants are in the U.S. legally.
The University System of Georgia’s Board of Regents already approved a new policy last month to ensure that undocumented don’t take spots in state universities that would otherwise have gone to academically qualified legal citizens following the Jessica Colotl story.
But the policy didn’t satisfy those antis who want to ban all undocumented from attending state schools. Another hateful and ridiculous measure that the General Assembly would have to deal with during the 2011 session, which we hope will not see the light of day.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


A recent report from the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), which examined the 287(g) program in Davidson County, TN between 2006-2007, found that the 287(g) and Secure Communities programs have not succeeded in prioritizing serious criminals. 287(g) is the program administered by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that deputizes regular law enforcement officers to detain undocumented. A few of the Georgia counties participate in the 287(g) program, including Cobb and Gwinnett counties. ICE has justified the program by stating that it helps them target serious criminal offenders and deport them pursuant the ICE's priorities of removing criminal immigrants.
However, the report once again confirms that despite assertions from ICE, the local police officers continue to detain and deport people who have not committed serious crimes and present no threat to our communities.
Between May 2006 and July 2007, the percentage of Hispanics arrested for driving without a license in Davidson County, TN, increased by more than 20% (from 23.3% to 49.4%) while the number of non-Hispanic defendants declined by 25% (yet they claim no racial profiling). 85% of those processed through 287(g) were misdemeanor arrests, mainly traffic offenses. Only 1.3% of those arrested were gang members, none were suspected terrorists, and 60% had never been arrested previously.
According to ICE’s data, since the program was initiated, 28% of the people transferred to ICE custody have been non-criminals, and so far, in FY2010, 32% of individuals transferred to ICE custody have been non-criminals.
Obviously if so many non-criminals are processed through the system, ICE lacks the resources to adhere to their real priorities, such as detaining and removing the criminals. The report is no surprise -- just another confirmation that 287(g) doesn't really work to deport the real criminals but a bunch of non-criminals, traffic and misdemeanor offenders.
The full report is available at:

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


An exclusive Atlanta Journal-Constitution/Channel 2 WSB-TV investigation found non U.S. citizens who have voted in the Georgia elections, some more than once.
The prior system in Georgia that registered people to vote was flawed with problems.
Until recently, people who registered to vote in Georgia did not have to show proof that they were U.S. citizens. Some had to sign a form swearing they were, some were not asked. In August, the state changed the rules and now it verifies the citizenship status of all newly registered voters.
State officials say that they have fixed the problem for new voters, but it's impossible for them to stop them from voting today.
The Secretary of State’s Office, which oversees Georgia’s voter enrollment, does not know how many non-citizens are registered to vote.
The Secretary of State’s Office does not plan to confirm the citizenship of all those currently registered in the system because that would require permission from the U.S. Justice Department. The state officials confirmed that took them two years and a lawsuit for Georgia to get approval for its program verifying the citizenship of new voters, which is one of the toughest in the country.
The flawed registration program has caused in the past for mistakes such as even people who declared that they are non-citizens at the DMV, received voter registration cards from the state. Many of the non-citizens registered to vote or voted unbeknown to them that it was prohibited. Registering to vote or voting in a Federal election is a crime, which may also render a person deportable without relief, even if they did not know, and even if they are legally in the U.S., such as lawful permanent residents. A very hefty price to pay indeed.

Monday, November 1, 2010


A recently published study, “Immigration, Offshoring and American Jobs”, published by two economics professors at Bocconi University in Italy and the University of California, Davis, concludes that the continuing arrival of immigrants to America is encouraging business activity, thereby producing more jobs.
The study notes that when companies move production offshore, they take away not only low-wage jobs but also many related jobs, which include high-skilled managers, tech repairmen and others. When companies hire immigrants even for low-wage jobs, they usually keep the operations in the United States, which includes many other positions. In fact, when immigrant workforce is rising as a share of employment in an economic sector, offshoring tends to be falling, and vice versa. Thus, offshoring is much worse to the American economy than immigrants, who create more jobs or keep more jobs here.
The study found that American economic sectors with larger exposure to immigrant workforce fared better in employment growth than those who had lesser exposure, even for low-skilled labor.
Even the lower-skilled immigrants fill gaps in American labor markets and generally enhance domestic business prospects rather than destroy jobs. That is because of the lower paid immigrants being “complementary” workers, who add value to the work of others. An immigrant will often take a job as a construction worker, a drywall installer, for example, while a native-born worker may end up being promoted to supervisor. Also, as immigrants succeed here, they help the U.S. develop stronger business relations with other counties (for example in Asia and Latin America), again creating more jobs.


A Republican representative (what else?), Tom Rice, R-Norcross, is preparing a bill to introduce to the Georgia General Assembly to bar undocumented immigrants from enrolling in any of the state’s public colleges and universities. The bill would add secondary education to the list of public benefits that would require citizenship verification under state law.
Earlier in October, the University System of Georgia Board of Regents approved several measures to ensure that undocumented would not take spots in state universities that would otherwise have gone to academically qualified legal citizens, including denying undocumented applicants to institutions that because of space limitations are turning away academically eligible students.
The schools that are included are The University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, Georgia State University, the Medical College of Georgia and Georgia College & State University.
Rep. Rice is still forging forward because in his opinion the board’s policy does not go far enough because doesn't completely shut down the ability of illegal immigrants to attend public colleges in Georgia. Does Rep. Rice plan to compensate the universities for missed funding if this were law?