Posts Tagged Obama

Obama’s Executive Action on Immigration? My sources say it’s about time; Updates with reaction from different Asian American groups; AALDEF statement,American Immigration Lawyers Association, and New York Immigration group’s practical view on how the action applies to real people. President still cracks down, but prioritizes hardline on “felons not families.”

This is from AALDEF 11/20/14, 5:20 pdt:

Tonight, President Obama announced his plan to provide administrative relief to certain groups of undocumented immigrants living in the United States. The following is a statement by Margaret Fung, executive director of the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund:
“We welcome President Obama’s use of executive authority to provide relief from deportation to millions of undocumented immigrants and their families. The Asian American population nationwide is 19 million, and close to 1.5 million Asian immigrants are undocumented. Current deportation and detention policies have separated Asian American families, harmed low-wage workers, and created fear and mistrust of local law enforcement. With the continued failure of Congress to enact comprehensive legislation, President Obama’s action to delay the deportation of millions of undocumented immigrants is long overdue. 
In our exit poll of 4,100 Asian American voters in the 2014 midterm elections, 65% expressed their support for executive action on immigration. The measures announced tonight are an important step in the right direction, in order to ensure that the enforcement of U.S. immigration laws adheres to human rights principles and reflects American values of fairness and family unity.
The omission of large numbers of undocumented immigrants with strong ties to the U.S., such as the parents of immigrants who have been granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), is disappointing. AALDEF will continue to support organizing and advocacy efforts that seek long-term solutions to our unworkable immigration policies. Such actions will pave the way for Asian immigrants and their families to gain a pathway to citizenship, contribute more fully to their communities and to our country as a whole, and protect the rights of all Americans, both native-born and immigrants.”

Update: 11/20/14  5pm pdt

This from a Memo from the American Immigration Lawyers Association:

Based on a briefing on 11/20/14 by the White House, the following is a summary of the elements expected to be part of the Administration’s announcement of executive actions on immigration. Our understanding is that details (and memos) are still being worked on at this time. Many items are still unclear, and the merits of many may not be known until the details are known. Some will require regulations, but others can be done by memo.

Here are the principal components as we currently understand them:

1. Enforcement Priorities. Many of the existing memos on enforcement priorities and prosecutorial discretion will be replaced by a new memo that will name three enforcement priorities, which will be operational immediately:

1. Suspected terrorists, convicted felons (including aggravated felonies), convicted gang members, and people apprehended on the border;

2. People convicted of serious or multiple misdemeanors, and very recent entrants (i.e., those who entered after 1/1/14);

3. Those who, after 1/1/14, failed to leave under a removal order or returned after removal.

 

The memo will contain “strong language” on using prosecutorial discretion appropriately. While most other memos on the subject will be rescinded, the victims of crime memo and the USCIS memo on issuance of NTAs will stand.

2. Border Security. The Secretary of DHS will announce a South Border “command and control” campaign to coordinate and better use resources at the border.

 

3. State and Local. Secure Communities will be discontinued and replaced by a Priority Enforcement Program (PEP). What it means that Secure Communities will be discontinued is unclear. Unclear if they will stop fingerprinting people and unplug the technology and interoperability of the federal and local databases. Detainers will be discontinued for all except national security cases. Instead of detainers, there will be a request for notification when a law enforcement entity is about to release a convicted criminal.

 

4. Nothing on family detention will be included in this package.

 

5. No changes to Operation Streamline which targets immigration entry and reentry for federal prosecution.

 

6. Two deferred action initiatives that combined are estimated to benefit 4.4 million:

 

a. Deferred Action for Parents (DAP). Parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (of any age) who have been continuously present since 1/1/10, and who pass background checks and pay taxes, will be eligible to apply for deferred action, which will

 

 

be granted for a 3-year period. The plan is to stand this up within 180 days (for applications to be accepted). Note that parents of DACA recipients are not eligible.

 

b. Expansion of DACA. DACA will be revised to get rid of the age cap, and to change the date that continuous presence must have started to 1/1/10. It also will be granted for 3 years (including those with pending renewal applications). Ready in 90 days.

 

7. Pending Proceedings. There will be a review of cases currently under proceedings to see who is prima facie eligible for the relief stated in this program, and those cases will be closed.

 

8. Immigration Court Reforms. There will be a package of immigration court reforms that will include qualification of accredited representatives and ineffective assistance of counsel issues.

 

9. U/T Visas. Three more types of offenses will be added to the list of offenses for which DOL can certify for U status. No specifics were available regarding which offenses will be added. T visa eligibility may also come into play with respect to DOL.

 

10. Worksite Enforcement. DOL will coordinate with other agencies regarding worksite enforcement activities.

 

11. Foreign Entrepreneurs. Certain investors will be able to be paroled into the U.S., or be granted parole in place if already in the United States, for job creation (no further details at this time). This will be done by regulation. Also, entrepreneurs, researchers, inventors, and founders will be eligible for national interest waivers. This will be implemented through policy guidance.

 

12. Timing of Filing for Adjustment of Status. The ability of individuals with an approved employment-based immigrant petition who are caught in the quota backlogs to file for adjustment of status will be advanced to permit them to obtain the benefits of a pending adjustment. This is expected to impact about 410,000 people. This will be done by regulation.

 

13. AC21. “Same or similar” will be clarified.

 

14. L-1B. The guidance will be released.

 

15. H-4 EADs. The regulation will be finalized, probably in December or January.

 

16. OPT. The length of time in OPT for STEM graduates will be expanded and the relationship between the student and the school will be strengthened for this period. Other changes, such as allowing STEM OPT post-master’s degree where only the first degree is in a STEM field is under consideration. This will be done by regulation.

 

17. PERM. A full rulemaking will be undertaken to modernize the PERM program.

 

18. I-601a Waivers. The provisional waiver will be expanded to include spouses and children of LPRs. The definition of extreme hardship will be expanded and clarified.

 

19. Advance Parole. There will be a new advance parole memo that will address the issues raised in Matter of Arrabally-Yerrabelly and make clear that CBP should honor the advance paroles issued by USCIS.

 

20. Parole in Place. PIP will be expanded to include families of individuals trying to enlist in the armed forces.

 

21. Visa Modernization. There will be a Presidential Memorandum directing the agencies to look at modernizing the visa system, with a view to making optimal use of the numbers of visa available under law. Issues such as whether derivatives should be counted and whether past unused visa numbers can be recaptured will be included in this effort.

 

22. Integration. A second Presidential Memorandum will set up a Task Force on New Americans.

 

Updated:

11/20/14

Here are some details on the President’s Plan to be released tonight from the New York State Immigration Action Fund:

5 Things to know about how President Obama’s Actions Impacts Undocumented Immigrants

The President’s Immigration Accountability Executive Actions are an important step to fix our broken immigration system. Millions of undocumented immigrants who live in the shadows but want to play by the rules and pay taxes have no way to correct their immigration status under the law. That’s why the President is taking
immediate action to fix as much of the problem as he can while continuing to work with Congress to pass a comprehensive, bipartisan immigration reform bill.

The President has been clear that he can’t fix the immigration system entirely on his own; whatever action he takes will not be a substitute for long lasting solutions that only comprehensive immigration legislation can provide. Here are the 5 things that you should know about the President’s initiatives impacting
undocumented immigrants in the US:

1. You must meet strict requirements to qualify for relief from deportation

Eligible immigrants will have the opportunity to request temporary relief from deportation and work authorization if they come forward and pass criminal and national security background checks, pay their taxes, pay a fee, and show that they are:

· A parent of US citizens or lawful permanent residents on the date of the announcement, are not enforcement priorities and have been in the US since January 1, 2010, or

· An individual who arrived in the US before turning 16 years old and before January 1, 2010, regardless of how old they are today

Additionally, we are reducing the time that families are separated while obtaining their green cards.

Undocumented immigrants who are immediate relatives of lawful permanent residents or sons or daughters of US citizens can apply to get a waiver if a visa is available. Learn more here

2. You Cannot Apply for Several Months

The U.S. government  and specifically USCIS – will not begin accepting applications until early 2015. While the government is not accepting applications now, if you believe you are eligible for one or more of the initiatives, you can prepare by gathering documents that establish your identity, relationship to a US citizen or lawful permanent resident and show that you have continuously lived in the US for 5 years or more.
3. Recent Border Crossers will be a Priority for Deportation

You must have been in the US for at least 5 years to qualify for these programs. These executive actions will not benefit immigrants who recently crossed the border (defined as those who entered the country after January 1, 2014), who may cross the border in the future, or who help those who cross in the future, but rather immigrants who have been living in the United States for years.

The President’s actions increase the chances that anyone attempting to cross the border illegally today will be caught and then sent back

4. If you commit fraud you will not qualify

USCIS will review each case very carefully. As with other immigration requests, knowingly misrepresenting or failing to disclose facts will subject applicants to criminal prosecution and possible removal from the United States.

5. Beware of Immigration Scams

Many people offer help with immigration services. Unfortunately, not all are authorized to do so. While many of these unauthorized practitioners mean well, all too many of them are out to rip you off.

Make sure you remain informed and know when the application process starts. www.uscis.gov will be the authoritative source of information about eligibility and applications going forward.

 

Eligible immigrants will have the opportunity to request temporary relief from deportation and work authorization if they come forward and pass criminal and national security background checks, pay their taxes, pay a fee, and show that they are:

· A parent of US citizens or lawful permanent residents on the date of the announcement, are not enforcement priorities and have been in the US since January 1, 2010, or

· An individual who arrived in the US before turning 16 years old and before January 1, 2010, regardless of how old they are today

Additionally, we are reducing the time that families are separated while obtaining their green cards.

Undocumented immigrants who are immediate relatives of lawful permanent residents or sons or daughters of US citizens can apply to get a waiver if a visa is available. Learn more here

2. You Cannot Apply for Several Months

The U.S. government  and specifically USCIS – will not begin accepting applications until early 2015. While the government is not accepting applications now, if you believe you are eligible for one or more of the initiatives, you can prepare by gathering documents that establish your identity, relationship to a US citizen or lawful permanent resident and show that you have continuously lived in the US for 5 years or more.
3. Recent Border Crossers will be a Priority for Deportation

You must have been in the US for at least 5 years to qualify for these programs. These executive actions will not benefit immigrants who recently crossed the border (defined as those who entered the country after January 1, 2014), who may cross the border in the future, or who help those who cross in the future, but rather immigrants who have been living in the United States for years.

The President’s actions increase the chances that anyone attempting to cross the border illegally today will be caught and then sent back

4. If you commit fraud you will not qualify

USCIS will review each case very carefully. As with other immigration requests, knowingly misrepresenting or failing to disclose facts will subject applicants to criminal prosecution and possible removal from the United States.

5. Beware of Immigration Scams

Many people offer help with immigration services. Unfortunately, not all are authorized to do so. While many of these unauthorized practitioners mean well, all too many of them are out to rip you off.

Make sure you remain informed and know when the application process starts. www.uscis.gov will be the authoritative source of information about eligibility and applications going forward. Subscribe to get more updates.

- See more at: http://nysiaf.org/2014/11/20/complete-details-of-obama-executive-order-now-available/#sthash.PmkoKpHN.dpuf

Eligible immigrants will have the opportunity to request temporary relief from deportation and work authorization if they come forward and pass criminal and national security background checks, pay their taxes, pay a fee, and show that they are:

· A parent of US citizens or lawful permanent residents on the date of the announcement, are not enforcement priorities and have been in the US since January 1, 2010, or

· An individual who arrived in the US before turning 16 years old and before January 1, 2010, regardless of how old they are today

Additionally, we are reducing the time that families are separated while obtaining their green cards.

Undocumented immigrants who are immediate relatives of lawful permanent residents or sons or daughters of US citizens can apply to get a waiver if a visa is available. Learn more here

2. You Cannot Apply for Several Months

The U.S. government  and specifically USCIS – will not begin accepting applications until early 2015. While the government is not accepting applications now, if you believe you are eligible for one or more of the initiatives, you can prepare by gathering documents that establish your identity, relationship to a US citizen or lawful permanent resident and show that you have continuously lived in the US for 5 years or more.
3. Recent Border Crossers will be a Priority for Deportation

You must have been in the US for at least 5 years to qualify for these programs. These executive actions will not benefit immigrants who recently crossed the border (defined as those who entered the country after January 1, 2014), who may cross the border in the future, or who help those who cross in the future, but rather immigrants who have been living in the United States for years.

The President’s actions increase the chances that anyone attempting to cross the border illegally today will be caught and then sent back

4. If you commit fraud you will not qualify

USCIS will review each case very carefully. As with other immigration requests, knowingly misrepresenting or failing to disclose facts will subject applicants to criminal prosecution and possible removal from the United States.

5. Beware of Immigration Scams

Many people offer help with immigration services. Unfortunately, not all are authorized to do so. While many of these unauthorized practitioners mean well, all too many of them are out to rip you off.

Make sure you remain informed and know when the application process starts. www.uscis.gov will be the authoritative source of information about eligibility and applications going forward. Subscribe to get more updates.

- See more at: http://nysiaf.org/2014/11/20/complete-details-of-obama-executive-order-now-available/#sthash.PmkoKpHN.dpuf

5 Things to know about how President Obama’s Actions Impacts Undocumented Immigrants

The President’s Immigration Accountability Executive Actions are an important step to fix our broken immigration system. Millions of undocumented immigrants who live in the shadows but want to play by the rules and pay taxes have no way to correct their immigration status under the law. That’s why the President is taking
immediate action to fix as much of the problem as he can while continuing to work with Congress to pass a comprehensive, bipartisan immigration reform bill.

The President has been clear that he can’t fix the immigration system entirely on his own; whatever action he takes will not be a substitute for long lasting solutions that only comprehensive immigration legislation can provide. Here are the 5 things that you should know about the President’s initiatives impacting
undocumented immigrants in the US:

1. You must meet strict requirements to qualify for relief from deportation

Eligible immigrants will have the opportunity to request temporary relief from deportation and work authorization if they come forward and pass criminal and national security background checks, pay their taxes, pay a fee, and show that they are:

· A parent of US citizens or lawful permanent residents on the date of the announcement, are not enforcement priorities and have been in the US since January 1, 2010, or

· An individual who arrived in the US before turning 16 years old and before January 1, 2010, regardless of how old they are today

Additionally, we are reducing the time that families are separated while obtaining their green cards.

Undocumented immigrants who are immediate relatives of lawful permanent residents or sons or daughters of US citizens can apply to get a waiver if a visa is available. Learn more here

2. You Cannot Apply for Several Months

The U.S. government  and specifically USCIS – will not begin accepting applications until early 2015. While the government is not accepting applications now, if you believe you are eligible for one or more of the initiatives, you can prepare by gathering documents that establish your identity, relationship to a US citizen or lawful permanent resident and show that you have continuously lived in the US for 5 years or more.
3. Recent Border Crossers will be a Priority for Deportation

You must have been in the US for at least 5 years to qualify for these programs. These executive actions will not benefit immigrants who recently crossed the border (defined as those who entered the country after January 1, 2014), who may cross the border in the future, or who help those who cross in the future, but rather immigrants who have been living in the United States for years.

The President’s actions increase the chances that anyone attempting to cross the border illegally today will be caught and then sent back

4. If you commit fraud you will not qualify

USCIS will review each case very carefully. As with other immigration requests, knowingly misrepresenting or failing to disclose facts will subject applicants to criminal prosecution and possible removal from the United States.

5. Beware of Immigration Scams

Many people offer help with immigration services. Unfortunately, not all are authorized to do so. While many of these unauthorized practitioners mean well, all too many of them are out to rip you off.

Make sure you remain informed and know when the application process starts. www.uscis.gov will be the authoritative source of information about eligibility and applications going forward. Subscribe to get more updates.

- See more at: http://nysiaf.org/2014/11/20/complete-details-of-obama-executive-order-now-available/#sthash.PmkoKpHN.dpuf

11/18/14

Here’s the point to remember: Obama’s always been able to do this.  He’s delayed because I think he’s sincere in believing the GOP would give in on “other” things. But after all these years, I think Obama’s realized he can’t afford to not take some action now. Still, whatever he does is temporary. And it’s not amnesty, because that implies permanence and there’s nothing permanent in any executive action taken. It can all be undone by a new administration. But if there’s a hard line by Republicans against Obama’s actions, it’s likely to upset Latino voters, and then there won’t be a new administration that will undo Obama’s orders. Still, there’s a real Jekyll and Hyde attitude in the administration. Whatever details are in the executive action, look at the hardline attitude in the administration that has deported more than two million people. So conservatives who criticize should know that most immigration advocates I’ve talked to say something like, “It’s not much, but it’s better than nothing,” and “Why’d did it take so long?”

Check out my piece on immigration  on NBCNews.com/asianamerica

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State of the Union? Dorner manhunt trumps wonky speech all the time

Some commentators today were so enthralled by last night’s Dorner news, they compared the manhunt to a Denzel Washington movie.

Too bad for the president. He gave a pretty good speech without having to sneak in a sip of water.

See my Asian American take on the State of the Union Address here.

It’s my post on the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund blog.

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Who won that first Obama-Romney debate?

When it comes to debates, format is everything. Sometimes it’s too tight. Sometimes it’s too loose.

Wednesday’s was just right—for Mitt Romney. But it was wrong for President Obama, who never seemed to find the oratorical magic to take over.  

Indeed, it was Romney who seemed to be comfortable and in control of this “wonk-fest,” perhaps due to all the debates the Republicans did in the primary season.

Now as for the facts?

In some ways, the facts don’t matter in debates. Reality check all you want, only a bald face lie is a negative. Debates are  made for an etch-a-sketch guy like Romney. They’re not made for the deliberate orator like Obama.  Debates really are all about style and confidence and how a candidate thinks on his feet.  It’s the whole persuasive package, not a matter of accuracy.  So the key question to ask is who looked energized and engaged in his answers? Who looked presidential? Who looked like he wanted to be the next president? Who listened as well as they spoke so they could pounce, deflect, retort appropriately.

In that sense, I think Obama looked like he mailed it in.  He acted like a politician with a lead. He didn’t go for some of the things that he personally needed to ask Romney directly.  If he is your surrogate, you want him to ask Romney about “that tape,” that 47 percent comment, the tax-return  issue, Bain capital. Where were questions on those issues?

Romney acted like a man back on his heels who had to do well. He’s not Thurston Howell III. He’s the underdog overdog. He needed a positive campaign experience and the first debate I think gave that to him.

Did it change undecided voters? I don’t think so. There was nothing that changed anything. Romney on Wednesday night is the same guy he was last week and the week before. Not a good candidate, not exactly the man to be president. So he had one good night at the first debate. Is that really enough to jump on the Mittwagon?

CNN’s flash poll of registered voters, 67 percent said Romney won. Only 25 percent said Obama won. If Romney wins the election , this debate will be a turning point. If he loses, then you’ll know that one debate victory is not enough.

Also see my pre-debate comments on the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund blog.

 

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Why is the U.S. attacking Libya?

Deep in an economic funk is no time to embark on another war, unless you can call it something else like a UN humanitarian mission to save poor anti-Gadhafi rebels.

Already by my amateur count, Obama’s spent all the savings he’d theoretically  get by cutting something like public broadcasting.

Public bombcasting is always more expensive.

The issue this week is what exactly is the U.S. involved in? Are we leading? Following? Obfuscating our true purpose? Why doesn’t Obama just call it what it is. Blood for Oil, Part II, or is it Part III, or Part IV.

 I’m losing count.

I’ve got to hand it to Obama. Starting a war, excuse me, a military engagement with UN allies, while all the world is focused on the devastation of Japan is a great bit of political sleight-of-hand. By comparison a war doesn’t seem so bad next to worries about impending nuclear disaster and the end of the world.

But as we come into this first week of Spring, we have no less than Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) saying that Obama has perhaps committed an impeachable offense, launching an unconstitutional war effort.

Should Obama have consulted Congress before giving the go ahead to start up against Libya? Is it a “war”? No combat troops are on the ground (yet). Did you expect Obama to parse his contitutional power to this degree?

Kucinich and a small group of the most liberal House members think the president is fudging to so much, he should have consulted them. The War Powers Act of 1973 is intended to limit the president’s ability to send troops into combat without Congressional approval.

But a president can do so for 60 days without a declaration or mandate from Congress.  60 days?  That sounds like a lot of time to do damage. But for enemies who like to play war for decades upon decades, 60 days is not so long.

So maybe the president thinks this is truly a short term action and we can all kindly disregard Gadhafi’s histrionics. All that stuff about fighting to the end, inch by inch, for forever and a day. Just macho talk by the colonel.  Or not.

Obama seems to be hoping for another repeat of the first Gulf War, where we can do most all the dirty work by air in just a few days with an adhoc alliance, before a vote can be taken in Congress.  And by time one could be taken, the action would be all over.  And we would win! U-S-A, U-S-A! 

Maybe. But the first Gulf War was an anomaly. The lesson since: War is not a video game. It’s a long narrative.

As we wait to see what exactly our purpose is in Libya, and what the end game is, it’s rather disappointing to see our man of change changing before our eyes into a different kind of president.

Anyone really surprised at this transformation? 

From  the war policy to the domestic policy and the banking and economic crisis, Obama seems quite happy to alienate the people who saw in him much hope.  Is this his way of getting ready for 2012?

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