Jun 28, 2012

Immigration Law is, in the end, still Federal Law: Arizona v. United States

On June 25th, 2012, the United States Supreme Court decided upon the constitutionality of the anti-immigration laws enacted first by the state of Arizona and followed by other states, in the decision Arizona v. United States. The court has struck down important provisions of the infamous law and has basically concluded that immigration law is (still) a federal law and thus any state law that interfere with the federal provisions in this area of law is unconstitutional. And since the immigration law is a federal law, it must be enforced by federal agencies. Thus, it is unconstitutional and illegal for the local police to racially profiling people and make stops based on their suspicion that the person might be "illegal". Unless the police stops every single car and verify the legal status of every single person, they would not be able to prove the legality of these stops.
This decision represent a great defeat of the anti-immigration state laws that have been enacted in the last year by several other states. Georgia has also enacted a similar law with Arizona's in 2011.

Jun 22, 2012

Deffered Action for the DREAMERs

Who are the DREAM-ers? 

They are people (not "aliens"...) who were brought in United States as minors, without their consent, who lived continuously in United States for a period of at least five years, attended the schools here, graduated from US high schools, some attended US colleges. They also have to be lucky enough to be under the age of thirty at the time when the law (that is suppose to protect them) will be enacted. They look, act and dream like any other young American of a good future for their lives. 

This memorandum recommending to the US Department of Homeland Security to defer removal action (postpone the deportation procedures) against these young people who are present illegally in United States, is only that: a recommendation. It is not a law. It is not mandatory. It does not bind anyone. Even more, postponing the deportation procedures for these young people does not confer to them any legality, nor does it absolve them of any previous or subsequent periods of unlawful presence. They can however be eligible to receive employment authorization (the legal right to work in United States) provided they can demonstrate "an economic necessity for employment". So this is that.

The information below comes from the United States Immigration and Citizenship Service website:

What is deferred action?

Deferred action is a discretionary determination to defer removal action of an individual as an act of prosecutorial discretion. Deferred action does not confer lawful status upon an individual. In addition, although an alien granted deferred action will not be considered to be accruing unlawful presence in the United States during the period deferred action is in effect, deferred action does not absolve individuals of any previous or subsequent periods of unlawful presence.
Under existing regulations, an individual who has been granted deferred action is eligible to receive employment authorization for the period of deferred action, provided he or she can demonstrate “an economic necessity for employment.” Deferred action can be terminated at any time at the agency’s discretion or renewed by the agency.

Pursuant to the Secretary’s June 15, 2012 memorandum, in order to be eligible for deferred action, individuals must:
  1. Have come to the United States under the age of sixteen;
  2. Have continuously resided in the United States for at least five years preceding June 15, 2012 and are present in the United States on June 15, 2012;
  3. Currently be in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a general education development certificate, or are honorably discharged veterans of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;
  4. Have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety;
  5. Not be above the age of thirty.