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The Next America - Immigration 2012 / Politics

Immigration Watch: Details, Rulings, Stances

Much is hanging on every utterance about the hotly political immigration topic, including a supporter framing a photo of President Obama after his Friday speech to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.(AP Photo/John Raoux)

June 21, 2012

No SCOTUS Ruling Yet on S.B.1070; Patience at Times Still an Unattainable Virtue 

The 800,000 young people living in the country without the government’s permission, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, and countless activists, advocates, pundits, and policy wonks await the Supreme Court's expected ruling on Arizona’s controversial immigration law, known as S.B.1070.

About 70,000 people Thursday morning followed the real-time coverage of the goings-on inside the Supreme Court via the SCOTUSblog.

The Twitterverse was bumpin’ too as stakeholders on both sides waited for a ruling. Some on social media expressed disappointment and frustration as it became clear that the justices wouldn’t issue the long-awaited ruling that day.

 

The justices likely will rule on S.B.1070, the health care overhaul, and juvenile sentencing next week. 

Romney Speaks on Immigration, but Doesn’t Answer the Question

Those concerned with the fate of the more than 11 million people living in the country illegally, including the estimated 800,000 young undocumented immigrants, are still waiting to hear specifics on what Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney would do for undocumented workers, should he win the presidency in November.

Romney addressed the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials on Thursday. 

The speech was billed as a roll out of his immigration policies, but he didn’t specify what he would do about the new policy or the people living in the country illegally, including the hundreds of thousands now protected from deportation by executive order. 

According to The Atlantic, he pledged to “redouble our efforts to secure the border,” to “reallocate green cards to those seeking to keep their families under one roof,” and to “exempt from caps the spouses and minor children of legal permanent residents." He also pledged to create “a path to legal status for anyone who is willing to stand up and defend this great national through military service.”

Read related story here.

A day later, Barack Obama addressed the same crowd. In his speech, Obama gave Latino leaders a full-throated defense of his decision to halt the deportations of some young immigrants.

"Lifting the shadow of deportation and giving them hope, that was the right thing to do," Obama said, although it wasn't a permanent fix. 

Obama remined the crowd that Romney promised to veto the Dream Act during the primary. 

The Continuing Education of Marco Rubio and Undocumented Youth

The same day Romney was fleshing out his position on immigration before NALEO, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., talked about the fate of his oft-discussed but as yet unreleased proposal to offer legal status to certain young people living in the country illegally who were brought here as children.

President Obama beat Rubio to the punch June 15 when he announced that the government will not seek to deport the youngsters who meet certain requirements.

During a Christian Science Monitor breakfast, Rubio said the White House was using the issue to buoy Obama’s campaign and was exploiting the fears of illegal immigrants. The issue is complex and requires a long-term solution--one not provided by the president’s plan, he said.

“I’m not looking for a bumper sticker,” Rubio said. “I’m looking to help real human beings, as many as 800,000 real kids who needed a bill that works.”

What the president’s policy will look like when enacted is anybody’s guess. The federal government has given itself 60 days to figure out how to go about screening applications and awarding work permits. 

In the meantime, questions abound regarding requirements, time lines, and costs.

The government has a “very tight” window in which to prepare processing for the possible 1.4 million applications from young people who believe they qualify for “deferred action” (and official acknowledgement that federal immigration authorities will not seek to deport them).

“It’s a huge challenge,” said Doris Meissner, a former commissioner of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service and a senior fellow at the Migration Policy Institute, a nonpartisan think tank in Washington. 

USCIS is being told it has to start taking applications within about two months with no advance notice. In 1986, when the government granted green cards to 2.7 million immigrants living in the country illegally, the government gave them six months to prepare, Meissner explained. 

While leaders are figuring out how to implement the president’s policy, David Leopold, general council of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, warns people to avoid scams.

“There are websites going up,” he said. “Predators are out en masse.”

People without a law license should not be involved in the process, he said. 

Read more here.

More Than 600,000 Immigrants Were Naturalized Last Year

Among those of us following this political wild rumpus are the more than 600,000 new citizens who naturalized last year. 

Of the 694,193 immigrants naturalized in 2011, more than half were concentrated in the top 10 metropolitan areas, mostly along the East Coast between Boston and Washington, The Atlantic Cities reported.

Many also live in Florida and California.

Read more here

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