The Ultra Right Republican Rebellion to Derail Immigration Reform, is a National Call to Arms

By Javier Rodriguez      from La Plaza del Mariachi       7 June 2013

To All Friends and Family

The U.S. Senate has begun its open debate and deliberations on SB744 and it is expected to be voted on before the July recess. However new developments have risen in the Capital and by all indicators, the Republicans in the lower chamber, are moving not only to stonewall immigration reform, but rather to defeat it. The main battle is shaping up in the House, where they hold the majority.

Concretely why is this so? As time has moved  away from the November elections of 2012 and the scandals on the Obama administration have picked up steam in the national conversation, this has given the hard line republicans the oxygen to challenge conventional wisdom and  brazenly, take not just baby steps to feel the waters, but more aggressively attack the soaring path of legalizing the undocumented millions. If there was any doubt before that all these years it has been the republicans all along, the  vote just taken to disarm DACA, the presidential deferred action that protects 1.7 million young DREAMers, raises an offensive red flag against the overwhelming majority of public opinion, and  more directly, it is an in your face tactic that unequivocally conveys  the following message to Latinos, “shove your voting power up your……….”

The vote in the House of Reps to rescind DACA, is a vote that rekindles the Republican self deportation mentality that was defeated last November and with it they have thrown their cards on the table. And so be it, the writing is on the wall. The pro immigrant movement has to respond in-kind, up the ante at the same level, and the Organizing for America petition sent to millions of supporters is a good beginning. However, it will not be enough to rely only on the conventional lobbying tactics of press conferences, emails, letter and calls, the leadership in the local and national organizations and representatives of all sectors in the community, churches and unions, students, need to exhibit their rage and adrenaline and lead the hundreds of thousands of activists nationally to take the streets, and as well as, target all republican events, offices, headquarters and their leaders with effective civil disobedience. Additionally, call on the Latino and progressive media to assist us in saving and strengthening the path to full citizenship rights for the undocumented American. ZAZ.

The mainstream articles below will give you the necessary elements to reach your own conclusions.

*Javier Rodriguez is a journalist, a blogger and a media and political strategist. A long time social activist, he spent 22 years as a labor organizer and adviser for rank and file movements; he directed the mass street mobilizations of 1982-86, in LA that led up to the Amnesty Law IRCA of 1986; He was also the initiator and directed the making of the 1.7 million historical immigration march in Los Angeles on March 25, 2006, as well as the May 1st 2006 Great American Boycott. He is presently involved in building La Universidad Obrera de Mexico-Los Angeles and recently traveled for 5 ½ months thru Mexico in 2012, observing and writing about the country’s political process, the aftermath of a highly questioned presidential election, the drug war and migrants. Blog Larayueldejavier.wordpress.com, email bajolamiradejavier@yahoo.com, zazmediarelations@yahoo.com

 

ORGANIZING FOR AMERICA

Stand with the DREAMers

If you thought immigration reform was a done deal, think again:

The House of Representatives just voted to effectively deport all DREAMers, young immigrants who were brought to the U.S. through no fault of their own and consider this their home.

This is what we’re up against.

Stand with the DREAMers—say you’ll fight for comprehensive reform.

Mounting Signs of GOP Rebellion Against Immigration Reform

                        By Beth Reinhard | National Journal – 15 hrs ago

Resistance to a sweeping immigration overhaul is moving from conservative talk shows to the corridors of power.

The Republican-controlled House of Representatives on Thursday rejected President Obama’s policy to stop deporting young people brought to this country illegally as children. With all but six Republicans voting against funding a policy that lets hundreds of thousands of law-abiding but undocumented youth enrolled in high school or the military to stay in this country, the vote spotlighted the long odds facing the much broader Senate bill to allow 11 million illegal immigrants earn citizenship.

The House vote came two days after Republican Gov. Rick Scott of Florida vetoed a bill that would help young people whose deportations were halted by the Obama administration get driver’s licenses. And on Wednesday, a key immigration leader in the House, Republican Raul Labrador of Idaho, defected from bi-partisan talks.

These unexpected developments reflect the stirrings of what could snowball into a full-blown revolt against the most ambitious overhaul of immigration law in a quarter century.

“If they think they’re going to force-feed amnesty, there’s going to be a rebellion,” said Rep. Steve King of Iowa, who spearheaded the vote one day after House Republicans huddled with one of the champions of immigration reform, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida. King added: “The vote might indicate that we’re not particularly persuaded.”

Unlikely to overturn Obama’s popular deportation policy, House Republicans and Gov. Scott are seeking to rebuke a president viewed as overstepping his authority. But the actions aimed at perhaps the most sympathetic immigrant group—people brought to this country illegally as children—could undermine the GOP’s high-profile, multimillion-dollar investment in Hispanic outreach and recruitment in the wake of the 2012 election. Democratic operatives in Washington hammered the House vote as “extreme,” while in Florida, Democratic lawmakers held press conferences for the second day in a row condemning Scott’s veto.

“There’s no way you can spin this as good,” said Republican pollster Whit Ayres, who advises Rubio. “I have thought for some time that if there is going to be immigration reform, it will pass after very intense debate and very vocal opposition. I hope this is a baby step back.”

Heritage Action, an influential conservative group, urged members of Congress to support King’s amendment and said the vote would be included in its annual legislative scorecard. Its affiliated think tank was widely criticized last month for releasing an anti-immigration reform report by an author who once argued that Hispanic immigrants have lower IQs. Thursday’s vote is expected to revive Democratic attacks that portray the GOP as anti-Hispanic and anti-immigrant.

“The optics are really bad for Republicans,” said Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum. “It’s like they forgot what happened in November.”

The immigration debate reflects a continuing rift between a Republican establishment that sees the path back to the White House through the fast-growing Hispanic community and the more ideological and conservative wing of the party. For many House Republicans who represent mostly white, conservative districts, immigration reform looks like political suicide.

But Thursday’s vote suggested that even GOP members representing large Latino populations aren’t willing to budge. Just four Republicans from districts with higher-than-average Latino populations voted against King’s amendment; 43 voted for it, including 14 Republicans from districts that are at least one-quarter voting-age Hispanic.

Even members in Latino-heavy districts who may face tough reelection campaigns in 2014—such as Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., who earlier this year said that he supported a pathway to citizenship for undocumented minors brought here by their parents—supported King’s amendment.

“There are two political games going on—the short game and the long game,” said Gary Segura, a Stanford University professor and principal in the polling firm Latino Decisions. “There’s a persistent fantasy that Latino voters are not that interested in immigration reform. So in terms of some Republicans reelection prospects, it might be a wash, but opposition to immigration reform hurts the Republican Party in the long term.”

One of the reasons Scott’s veto was so puzzling was that the measure coasted through the Republican-controlled Legislature, with only two no votes. Only two other Republican governors have taken the same position as Scott on driver’s licenses for undocumented minors: Jan Brewer in Arizona and Dave Heineman of Nebraska.

All other states offer driver’s licenses to young illegal immigrants with work permits whose deportation has been deferred by the Obama administration. In fact, five states this year have passed laws offering driver’s licenses to adults regardless of their legal status: Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, and Oregon. Bills are pending in California, Connecticut, and Vermont.

“Gov. Scott is certainly in the minority and looking backwards,” said Tonya Broder, senior attorney with the National Immigration Law Center.

Scott’s allies say his veto matches the hardline position against illegal immigration he took in the 2010 primary, when he vowed to bring an Arizona-like crackdown to the state. He dropped the issue in favor of jobs in the general election, and with a robust Spanish-language media campaign, won 50 percent of the Hispanic vote.

While Democrats argue the veto will make the unpopular governor’s reelection campaign even tougher, Republicans dismissed the attacks as overblown. New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez’s strong approval ratings suggest an easy reelection next year even though she has repeatedly tried to repeal a law granting driver’s licenses to undocumented workers. In Arizona, Gov. Jan Brewer’s embrace of a tough crackdown on illegal immigrants revived her flagging campaign in 2010. More recently, a judge refused last month to strike down her policy denying driver’s licenses to undocumented but working young immigrants.

“If Hispanics see you are reaching out and making a concerned effort to communicate, I think that covers some of the bases,” said Florida-based Republican consultant Rick Wilson. “I don’t see this as the killer issue for the Democrats, and it doesn’t offset the fact that the economy is improving and housing is coming back.”

Why the House’s immigration bill is falling apart

By Keith Wagstaff | The Week – Thu, Jun 6, 2013

Republican Rep. Raul Labrador walks away from negotiations over immigrant access to health care — and Sen. Marco Rubio could follow

With Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) threatening to bail on his own bill, support for immigration reform in the Senate suddenly looks a lot shakier. And in the House, it may already be dead.

The issue that might have killed it: The debate over whether immigrants should get access to government-sponsored health care during their 15-year path to citizenship, sources told ABC News. Democrats argue that immigrants who pay taxes should be eligible for health benefits. Some Republicans disagree.

Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), a member of the House’s Group of Eight, has already stepped away from the negotiating table over the issue.

“If they are going to have the benefit of living in the United States — which is a privilege, not a right — they should provide their own health insurance,” Labrador told Roll Call.

Why the fixation on health care? Because Republicans are obsessed with defeating ObamaCare, argues New York‘s Jonathan Chait:

The trouble here… is that House Republicans’ hatred of ObamaCare is at such deranged levels that it is leeching into even largely unrelated problems. The House Democrats are arguing that the newly legalized immigrants will pay taxes, so they should have access to government benefits. And Republicans don’t seem to be suggesting they must be excluded from Social Security or denied access to national parks.

But ObamaCare is in a different category in their minds — a law so illegitimate and evil that nothing can be allowed to touch it at all.[New York]

It was only months ago, still feeling the sting of the brutal election results, that Republicans seemed willing to compromise in order to pass some kind of immigration reform. The Republican National Committee released a 98-page “autopsy” warning the GOP to cater to Latino voters or else watch its support die away as the demographics of the country continue to change. Rubio, the GOP’s rising conservative star, even decided to become the public face of the Senate’s bipartisan immigration bill.

But now, in both the Senate and the House, the political tone has changed. The GOP no longer feels the need to compromise, MSNBC’s Zachary Roth says, because the IRS and Benghazi scandals have given them confidence:

The Beltway media has bought into [the scandals] just enough to create, at least temporarily, a storyline about an administration dogged by political controversy. And that’s led Washington Republicans and their conservative allies to believe that they can ride that storyline back to power — just as they tried to do in the late 1990s with the Clinton impeachment….

[Republicans] see a potential way to win back the Senate next year and the White House in 2016 without having to alienate their core supporters by backing immigration reform. So their motivation for getting behind the project has gone out the window. [MSNBC]

What does that mean for immigration reform? Perhaps that no comprehensive bill will be passed in the House. Instead, congressmen may just try to pass piecemeal legislation.

“The whole reason the House has been making the Senate go first is so that compromise-averse House Republicans can avoid reaching agreement on things, even if they want them to pass,” writes The Washington Post‘s Jonathan Bernstein. “Republican immigration voters may not like immigrants — but what they really hate is for Republican politicians to agree with Democrats on anything.”

Senate opens debate on sweeping immigration bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate has opened debate on far-reaching legislation to overhaul the nation’s immigration system and offer the promise of citizenship to millions.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada began what will be weeks of deliberations on the Senate floor by declaring the immigration system broken and praising the bipartisan bill. He said it is commonsense reform that would make the country safer and help immigrants living in the nation illegally get right with the law.

Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama countered that the bill will not succeed in ending illegal immigration as its authors claim. Instead Sessions said the bill offers amnesty without ever enforcing the law.

Friday’s session was given over to debate and the first votes will come Tuesday on moving forward on the bill.

Senate to vote on immigration bill before Fourth of July, Reid says

By Chris Moody, Yahoo! News

Political Reporter

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (center) with Senate Democrats Chuck Schumer of New York (left) and Dick Durbin …

The Senate will vote on an overhaul of the nation’s immigration system before the Fourth of July, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced Friday.

On Thursday, Reid set in motion the lengthy process required to bring a bill to the Senate floor, giving lawmakers an opportunity to debate the issue this morning.

Speaking from the Senate floor Friday, Reid said he would utilize an “open as possible process” for senators wishing to add amendments to the bill, but he would place restrictions in order to finish work on the bill within the next month.

“I have committed to as open an amendment process as possible. I don’t want to say totally open because sometimes with the procedures we have here, as with the farm bill, people throw monkey wrenches into things and we’re not able to do as we want to do,” Reid, a Nevada Democrat, said. “But we’ll wrap this legislation up before the July 4 recess.”

Opponents of the overhaul were quick to reserve time on the Senate floor to speak out. Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions, who has led the opposition movement against the bill, was the first to speak.

“In truth the bill is amnesty first with a promise of enforcement later,” Sessions said. “It devastates and weakens current law so that can never happen effectively.”

Senators on both sides of the issue will take turns giving speeches through the rest of the day and into next week.

The timing of the vote is politically important. Immigration reform proponents know they need to complete work on the bill before the long summer recess, when lawmakers conduct town-hall meetings with constituents.

In 2009, the year President Barack Obama began pushing for a national overhaul of the health insurance system, some members of Congress faced furious and organized opposition at home that summer, which may have contributed to the reason why votes were delayed into the next year.

Achieving passage in the Senate, however, is just one hurdle, and it may not be the largest in this process. A bipartisan group of lawmakers in the House have still not made public their own proposal in the Republican-majority lower chamber, where there is more opposition to the measure than in the Senate. The schism could cause significant delays in bringing a final product to the president’s desk.

Many Republicans in the House say they would prefer taking a piecemeal approach to reform instead of passing a comprehensive plan in one bill. Opponents to the bill, and even some key Republican supporters like Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, emphasize that the bill does not contain satisfactory enforcement measures and will need to be changed before they will offer their support.

E-Verify screenings of new workers, in use in some states, has the strongest public support of all the basic elements of immigration reform. It’s included in the bill the Senate began debating Friday.

By Mark Trumbull | Christian Science Monitor

At the heart of immigration reform proposals in Congress is an idea that’s simple in concept but very difficult in practice: keep illegal workers from getting US jobs by conducting checkups on all the new hires at employers across America.

This idea of new-hire verification is highly popular. With 85 percent support from the US public, it is the most strongly supported of five basic elements of immigration reform, according to a February Gallup poll.

But the system, known as “E-Verify,” has shown plenty of flaws as well as promise in its early years of being available (but not widely required).

The problems: Many illegal immigrants slip through the cracks and win employment, while many legal workers face significant bureaucratic challenges – sometimes even losing their jobs because government databases deliver an erroneous “nonconfirmation” of their status.

Is E-Verify ready for prime time?

The short answer may be that, ready or not, here it comes. If a comprehensive immigration law passes Congress this year, many policy analysts say, it will include a provision to take E-Verify nationwide for all employers. On Friday the Senate began debating a comprehensive reform package, including the measure, formulated by the bipartisan “Gang of Eight.”

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To perfect E-Verify, the task ahead will be to keep improving and de-bugging the system, even as its use expands from about 7 percent of employers to all of them.

“Conservatives … have been pushing for a very, very long time” to implement E-Verify, says Philip Wolgin, an immigration policy expert at the liberal Center for American Progress. “Most people on the Democratic side, even if they aren’t thrilled with it, understand that this is a necessary part of reform.”

The reason E-Verify is widely considered necessary is because the US workplace is in many ways central to the immigration challenge.

Tightening borders, by itself, won’t stop the flow of unauthorized people into the US if they can readily find jobs. And many conservatives in Congress will balk at granting legal status to millions who now work illegally – a central goal for proponents of comprehensive immigration reform – without strong workplace-level enforcement.

Against that backdrop, E-Verify is as crucial for politics as it is controversial in practice.

Here’s how the program works:

E-Verify is an Internet-based system that compares the information from an employee’s Form I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification) to data from the US Department of Homeland Security and Social Security Administration.

Many private sector employers voluntarily participate. All federal agencies have been required to use the program since 2007. Many states have laws mandating E-Verify for at least some employers. States that are implementing E-Verify for nearly all employers include Arizona, Georgia, Mississippi, and South Carolina.

When the databases for Social Security or immigration services (part of Homeland Security) don’t recognize a new employee, the employer gets a “tentative nonconfirmation,” or TNC notice. The employer is then legally obligated to tell the employee, who will have eight working days to contact the government to correct the record if possible.

If the worker fails to contest the TNC, or cannot correct the record, he or she gets a “final nonconfirmation.” By law, employers are then expected to fire that worker.

More than 99 percent of the time, the databases provide a quick confirmation that a newly hired person is eligible. But sometimes the people who get a confirmation really shouldn’t be eligible to work.

In February, Emily Tulli of the National Immigration Law Center told a congressional hearing that large numbers of illegal workers slip through E-Verify undetected. She cited 2008 research, finding that “54 percent of unauthorized workers for whom E-Verify checks were run were erroneously confirmed as being work-authorized.”

On the flip side, Ms. Tulli said, many legal workers find themselves flagged as potentially unauthorized.

One survey of 376 immigrant workers in Arizona, she said, found that more than 100 of them had been fired, apparently after the employer got TNC notices and failed to notify the workers about their opportunity to appeal.

“In fiscal year 2012, approximately 100,000 workers [nationwide] likely received erroneous findings from the system and may have lost their jobs as a result,” Tulli said in her prepared testimony. That number of people who lose their jobs in error could rise as high as 770,000 or more if E-Verify is mandated nationwide, she warned.

But Mr. Wolgin of the Center for American Progress says a worst-case outcome – with many people wrongly losing jobs even as hordes of unauthorized workers skate by undetected – is far from inevitable.

“This [Senate] bill actually has a lot of protections written into it,” he says.

For workers who are legal but get dinged with a TNC, it would provide new pathways for appeal if their initial efforts to correct the record aren’t successful, he says.

To better catch illegal workers, the bill now being considered by the Senate cracks down on ID fraud – an important reason why many illegal workers can slip through E-Verify undetected. It seeks to match photos presented by newly hired workers with photos in federal (passport) or state (driver’s license) databases.

The Senate legislation pairs E-Verify with legalization for millions of immigrants who are currently not authorized to work. That’s important because it lightens the stress on E-Verify. The program might still face significant hurdles in ramping up to cover all US hiring, but the number of illegal workers to catch would be smaller.

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