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Dallas Legal Blog

Supreme Court Blog

This past Tuesday, the United States Supreme Court agreed to hear Texas v. USA, a case that could be the most important case of 2016 - and not because this case comes in an election year.

The Background:

In November 2014, President Obama issued an executive order to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that was intended to impact millions of individuals that are in the country without authorization. The purpose behind the order was the recognition that the Federal government does not have the money and other resources to hunt down, arrest and then deport everyone in the country that is here without authorization (even if the government wanted to). Consequently, Obama ordered the DHS to focus its enforcement efforts against certain groups of people, such as those with serious criminal backgrounds. In other words, since DHS can't arrest and deport everyone, they should go after those people that everyone agrees shouldn't be in our country. Makes sense!

Despite what is being spewed from conservatives and other right-wing organizations, Obama's order does not let everyone else "off the hook." For practical purposes, for everyone else, the order essentially means the DHS will come looking for them later - they're just not a priority right now. As a result, understanding that this order would mean that there will be millions of undocumented people in the country that the DHS is not targeting at this time, the order allows these people to come out of the shadows and apply for permission to work legally. Of course being granted permission to work does not give these millions of people any lawful status, but it does create several huge benefits both for the individual and our country.

Immigrants Face The Risk Of Mistreatment And Exploitation

Most immigrants coming to the United States on a work visa do not expect life to be easy, but few expect mistreatment and exploitation. Unfortunately, that is what some immigrant workers face thanks to unscrupulous employers and challenging immigration laws.

A recent article in The Nation details the story of  Shellion Parris, a Jamaican immigrant who came to the US on an H-2B visa to participate in the guestworker program. She spent what little money she had on a one-way flight and on fees to a recruitment organization tied to a company that provides cleaning services to luxury hotels. 

DOS Revises Immigration Visa Bulletin Procedures

A revised Immigration Visa Bulletin has been released by the U.S. Department of State (DOS). In coordination with DOS, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (CIS) has revised procedures for determining when applicants who are waiting to file employment-based or family-sponsored adjustment of status applications may actually file those applications. Although seemingly complicated, this new procedure will better align with procedures used by DOS for foreign nationals who seek to become U.S. permanent residents by applying for immigrant visas at U.S. consulates and embassies abroad.

Immigration Reform is DOA for Now

Hopes of immigration reform ran high in 2013. The Senate (with 14 Republicans) passed a reform bill. That effort died in the House because of opposition by extremist Republicans. Hopes of resurrection before 2017 have been dashed by rhetoric on the Republican campaign trail. I refuse to use "his" name. One candidate is calling for a 1,250 mile fence (paid for by Mexico). The same guy wants to deport 11,000,000 undocumented immigrants (and their citizen children), and brandishing the offensive (and ignorant) term "anchor babies", wants to trump (oops!) the 14th amendment. Wow! Other candidates (who should know better) are climbing aboard. I am worried about America.

The Father Of America's Most Iconic Car Was An Immigrant

Corvette.

No other words and no definition or description is needed. Regardless of gender or age, every red-blooded American instantly knows what that word means and the images it evokes. Adolescent boys hang posters of the car on their wall and grown men see the car as a salve to their "mid-life crisis." Sure, over the years at various times, other American cars have been more powerful, flashier or even more expensive. But these cars were always nothing but want-to-be debutants, left with mascara streaked faces as their dates roared off into the night - four red taillights and an exhaust note that Lucifer himself would be proud of was all that could be seen and heard.

With the advent of aircraft being able to drop bombs on enemy targets in World War

With the advent of aircraft being able to drop bombs on enemy targets in World War I, every country with a burgeoning fleet of bombers struggled with dropping bombs on target. By World War II, the combatants resorted to sending hundreds (and later in the war, thousands) of bomber aircraft over a target with the hope that a few bombs would score a lucky hit on the intended target. It was common for bombs to miss the intended target by miles! The problem was so pervasive, that British Bomber Command's strategy throughout the war was to simply target entire cities, the logic being that even bombs that miss by miles would surely still hit somewhere in the city. British Bomber Command measured its success essentially on how many German cities that it leveled. Such was British strategy that Bomber Command focused its efforts on nighttime bombing raids since the pilots and bombardiers didn't really need to see their target - the target city was below them somewhere, their exact position over the city was quite irrelevant.

The United States Army Air Corps (it was not yet called the United States Air Force) took a different approach. The U.S. believed that it could pick specific targets for ariel bombardment, such as factories, rail yards, refineries, etc. In theory, such a strategy has no downsides since fewer bombs means less men being put at risk, less material being expended and less collateral damage. But how did the U.S. intend to accomplish this strategy when bombs were missing by miles? It doesn't take much of an imagination to understand how difficult it is to drop a bomb from an aircraft moving at several hundred miles per hour, from an altitude of several thousand feet, through a turbulent atmosphere on to a target that more often than not is protected by anti-aircraft guns and pumping thousands of exploding shells into the path of the bombers.

Immigration Reform and the GOP Presidential Candidates

GOP Presidential Candidates have pushed Immigration Reform to the back burner in Congress. This has, in fact, been the case since the Senate passed S744 in July 2013. GOP rhetoric related to immigration and immigrants has become exceptionally heated. And (this should come as no surprise) much of the language used by GOP Presidential hopefuls is primarily ground on the politics of fear rather than empirical evidence and facts.

Immigration Reform for Justice

The majority of Americans want immigration reform. Yesterday, as reported by Lee Davidson in the Salt Lake City Tribune, Leon Rodriguez, Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), spoke to a convention of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network at the Salt Lake City Sheraton Hotel. He said that the word "justice" is completely absent from our immigration and naturalization system. According to the Director, it is time to change that. Congress should act to make the immigration system more just. "Real justice will come when we have reform," Rodriguez said. According to him, the immigration system we have today an obsolete and archaic scheme that "does not reflect our economy, does not reflect our demographics, and--above all--our values." A scheme that routinely separates immediate families is not just and does not comport with American values.

Immigration Reform?

This is immigration reform? An unnecessary and potentially harmful bill introduced by Senator McCain (R-Utah) passed the Senate yesterday. This short but damaging bill is known as the "Arizona Borderlands Protection and Preservation Act" (S.750) defines "border security" to mean the continuous and integrated manned or unmanned, monitoring, sensing, or surveillance of 100 percent of Southern border" and "apprehension or turn back of all illegal entries". This bill has been opposed by AILA (American Immigration Lawyers Association) along with a broad coalition.

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