Clinton’s Fuzzy Position on Immigration Worries Activists

One of the key issues in the 2016 presidential campaign is certain to be how the candidates propose to deal with illegal immigration, from border security to the treatment of undocumented individuals already in the United States.

The question of immigration reform has particular salience to the large and growing Latino electorate, a group that leans heavily Democratic and makes up an important part of the coalition of voters that a Democratic candidate needs to assemble in a winning run for the White House. 

Related: Rand Paul Takes Direct Aim at Hillary Clinton 

Right now, that candidate seems likely to be Hillary Clinton, who officially announced her presidential run on Sunday afternoon. Unless there is a massive and totally unexpected change in the general position of the Republican Party between now and November 2016, the one thing Clinton can be absolutely sure of is that she won’t be losing Latino voters to a Republican on the issue of immigration reform. 

However, being sure that voters won’t support your opponent is only half the battle – Clinton is going to need to inspire Latino voters to come to the polls in the first place. And right now, immigration activists say that she hasn’t given them much to work with. 

Cesar Vargas, co-director of the Dream Action Coalition, a group that pushes immigration reform friendly to the undocumented population was one of a pair of activists who memorably confronted Clinton in Iowa last September, in an effort to pin her down on immigration issues.

In an interview, Vargas said that at the time, Clinton appeared to be “not very well versed on immigration policy.”

Related: A Few Hours Late and Really, Really Short, Clinton Finally Announces

President Obama had recently decided to delay taking executive action to ease the threat of deportation for some undocumented immigrants, a move widely seen as a blatantly political decision ahead of the 2014 elections.

“The President has broken his promise to the Latino community, and we wanted to know if you stand by the President’s delay on immigration,” Vargas said to Clinton at the time.

“You know,” Clinton said as she kept walking, “I think we need to elect more Democrats.”

“It was just a partisan response, and is suggested she didn’t know exactly what to say,” Vargas remembers. And, he says, Clinton hasn’t done much since to convince immigration activists that she deserves their support.

Related: Hillary Runs Unopposed? Not So Quick, Dems Say 

When Obama eventually took the executive action he had delayed, protecting several million undocumented immigrants from the threat of deportation, she came out with a statement in support of the move.

She has also expressed support for comprehensive immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship for the undocumented. In 2007, she supported an effort by then-President George W. Bush to reform the immigration system. 

But Vargas and the activist community, who feel somewhat betrayed by the Obama administration’s failure to move on immigration reform earlier in his tenure as president, are looking for more. Clinton, he says, has so far not provided enough detail or expressed enough commitment to satisfy his coalition’s members.

“We learned out lesson in 2008 from Barack Obama, who promised us immigration reform in his first year,” said Vargas. “We can’t be star-struck.” 

Related: Why the Hillary Everyone Knows Is Under Attack

He said, “The usual talking points are not going to be enough. Saying she supports comprehensive immigration reform and the president’s executive actions is not going to be enough. We need bold leadership that would expand executive action if Congress fails to act.”

Clinton, he said, also needs to show the Latino community that she “understands the plight” of the immigrant community. Last summer, he pointed out, she said that the children being stopped at the Southern border ought to be sent back.

“The majority of these children are eligible for asylum because many of them are escaping rape or violent death,” said Vargas, noting that the United Nations has said that the majority should qualify for refugee status. 

And then there was Clinton’s video announcement of her campaign, which prominently featured a pair of Latino brothers – speaking in Spanish – who were preparing to open a new restaurant.

Related: The Biggest Obstacle to Rand Paul’s 2016 Campaign 

“It was a little comical to us,” said Vargas that Clinton’s campaign chose to portray Latino immigrants unable or unwilling to speak English. “Why couldn’t she have two Latino brothers speaking English?” he asked.

That’s one of many questions Latino voters and others concerned about immigration reform are likely to have for Clinton in the coming months.

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Immigration Reform And The 2016 Race: Where Do Presidential Hopefuls Stand On Immigration?

Immigration reform has been one of President Obama’s biggest political battles, and that looks to be no different for the growing pool of candidates for the 2016 presidential race. As the field fills out, most recently with Hillary Clinton and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio entering the race, questions remain over whether the next White House occupant might help or hinder prospects for comprehensive reform, or try to undo Obama’s immigration executive action for undocumented immigrants.

Marco Rubio

Republican candidates still face the tricky balancing act of attracting Latino voters while appealing to party hardliners on immigration. Rubio, one of the two Latino candidates in the ring so far, is already facing scrutiny regarding his 180-degree turn on immigration in recent years. Rubio one of the original sponsors of the “Gang of Eight” bipartisan immigration bill in 2013 that was considered Congress’ best chance at the time for passing comprehensive reform. While that bill assured a range of border security requirements be met — including completing 700 miles of border fencing and increasing the number of Border Patrol agents — it also provided a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers (undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children), streamlined legal immigration systems and even included a program to reunite deported parents with their families in the U.S. under certain conditions.

But since that bill faltered in Congress, Rubio has changed tack on immigration, throwing his support behind piecemeal legislation and emphasizing border security over talk of any kind of relief for undocumented immigrants. “The only path forward that has any chance of success is to bring illegal immigration under control [first],” Rubio told reporters in January. After that, he said, lawmakers could then streamline the legal immigration process.

In the past, he’s supported in-state tuition for Dreamers and planned a bill that would grant temporary deportation relief to those immigrants under certain conditions. But he criticized Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, announced in 2012, saying it had “poisoned the well” for immigration reform. Last summer he also called for “winding down” the program, saying it was fueling the surge of unaccompanied Central American migrants at the southwestern border.

Ted Cruz

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, the other Cuban-American presidential contender in the field, has long been a vocal opponent of Obama’s immigration policies and any relief for undocumented immigrants. He voted against the 2013 comprehensive reform bill, criticizing its provisions as providing “amnesty” for illegal immigration, and advocated defunding both DACA and Obama’s more recent executive action for undocumented parents of U.S. citizens, known as DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of U.S. Citizens and Long-Term Residents).

Instead, Cruz has pushed for dramatic increases in border security, including tripling the number of Border Patrol agents, quadrupling the amount of border monitoring and surveillance equipment, and building a double-layered fence along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Hillary Clinton

Clinton, the presumed Democratic nominee, has remained relatively reticent on immigration issues since taking some heat during the 2008 primary for reversing her stance on drivers’ licenses for undocumented immigrants. (She appeared to support such a policy at first, but later denied she was advocating for such a move.) In recent years, she’s expressed support for Obama’s executive action as well as a bipartisan comprehensive bill that includes a pathway to citizenship for immigrants living illegally in the U.S. At the same time, she has faced pressure from immigration activists to advocate more for reform.

Last summer she spoke out on the surge of Central American migrants at the southern border, saying the U.S. would send back those who crossed into the U.S. illegally. “We have to send a clear message: Just because your child gets across the border doesn’t mean your child gets to stay,” she said during a town hall meeting in June. “We don’t want to send a message that is contrary to our laws or encourage more children to make that dangerous journey.”

Clinton has defended Obama against criticism of his deportation record as more than 2 million immigrants have been deported during his time in office. At the June town hall meeting, she reminded the audience there were “laws that impose certain obligations on him” on deportations. One of those laws, however, was passed while she was in the White House as first lady: The Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act, signed by Bill Clinton in 1996, initiated the practice of expedited removal, in which immigrants are deported from ports of entry without access to an immigration hearing.

The law also expanded the list of crimes that could result in deportations for green-card holders and immigrants living in the U.S. illegally, putting acts like murder, rape, forgery, perjury and tax evasion under the label of “aggravated felony.”  

Rand Paul

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, meanwhile, has labeled himself a “moderate” on immigration policy, and said he supports providing work authorization for the 11 million undocumented immigrants already in the United States. “I am in favor of doing immigration reform, but it should be done in the right fashion,” he said in January.

However, he also voted against the bipartisan Senate bill, saying it failed to address border security adequately, and submitted a proposal to overturn Obama’s most recent executive action. Four years ago, he also raised eyebrows when he backed a constitutional amendment to end birthright citizenship for children of undocumented immigrants.

Jeb Bush

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush hasn’t officially declared his candidacy for the presidency, but he said he is “actively exploring” a run and is widely expected to join the field of contenders. Last week he expressed a softer tone on immigration than some of the other Republicans presidential hopefuls, saying many immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally “crossed the border because they had no other means to work to be able to provide for their family.”

“Yes, they broke the law, but it’s not a felony. It’s an act of love,” he said, according to the Washington Post.

Bush has criticized Obama’s executive action on immigration although he said he supports a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers. But on recent occasions when asked if he would rescind the executive action as president, Bush has declined to answer the question, reiterating immigration reform must be done through Congress rather than through the president.


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Immigration poster campaign launches

A poster campaign which aims to celebrate immigration, called I am an Immigrant, has been launched.

The billboard images have caused a stir on Twitter with one user saying the initiative is great but shouldn’t be needed.

The images show 15 immigrants in different occupations from a barrister to a mental health nurse and a fireman.

The campaign was created by Movement Against Xenophobia and funded through a crowd-funding appeal.

I am Immigration poster
Iam an Immigrant poster

The posters, taken by Vogue photographer Philip Volkers, will appear in 400 London tube stations and 550 national rail stations and on billboards countrywide after more than £44,000 was raised for the campaign.

Habib Rahman, CEO of JCWI on behalf of Movement Against Xenophobia, said: “The extraordinary support we have received from ordinary people shows how fed up many are with the hostility and scapegoating experienced by immigrants.

“Thousands are saying they reject intolerance and want to celebrate our diverse and inclusive society.”

Iam an Immigrant poster

The campaign argues: “Migrants make a substantial contribution to the economy, enrich Britain’s culture and improve the standard of its public services.

“The multicultural and prosperous Britain that exists today has been created through generations of immigration and accepting refugees, this is not recognized in the mainstream public discourse about immigration and asylum.”

I am Immigration poster
Posters at railway station

A Labour spokesperson told Newsbeat: “Immigration has made an important contribution to our economic and social life, but it needs to be properly controlled.”

The Conservative party has yet to respond.

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Pole challenges anti-immigration UK politician to a duel

LONDON (AP) — An aristocratic Pole has challenged an anti-immigration British politician to a duel.

Jan Zylinski, who calls himself a prince, says he’s tired of U.K. Independence Party leader Nigel Farage criticizing eastern European migrants.

In a video posted online Sunday, Zylinski, who lives in London, urged Farage to meet him in Hyde Park to resolve the matter “in a way that an 18th-century Polish aristocrat and an English gentleman would traditionally do.”

Holding a sword he said belonged to his cavalry-officer father, Zylinski said: “I’m offering a duel, if you agree” — but added he would settle for a “duel of words.”

Poland’s aristocracy was abolished by the former communist regime, but many people from aristocratic families still use their titles.

UKIP wants Britain to leave the European Union and deny EU citizens the right to live in the U.K. It is currently running third in opinion polls for Britain’s May 7 election.

While the party insists it wants to control rather than end immigration, Farage has said he feels uncomfortable hearing foreign languages spoken widely on London trains, and once blamed immigration for traffic jams.

Farage said Monday he did not plan to accept the challenge to a duel.

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IMMIGRATION: Lawyers crucial for young migrants

Elva Marroquín and Angel Rosales were lucky to get no-cost attorneys to help them try to keep their children from being deported. Kids without lawyers are more likely to be expelled from the country than children with legal representation, data show.

But other parents – many with only a grade-school education and little or no knowledge of English or the U.S. legal system – are left to fend for themselves.

More than 100,000 cases involving unaccompanied minors have been filed in immigration court since fiscal 2012, when the surge in the number of Central American children crossing the border began.

Marroquín and Rosales found their attorneys, Fernando Romo and Julio Noboa, through ASOSAL, a Los Angeles immigrant-assistance organization that provides free legal services. Marroquín and Rosales said they never would have been able to afford a lawyer on their own.

There is other pro bono legal help available to migrants, including services funded with federal and state money.

But only a third of unaccompanied minors whose cases were filed in immigration court in fiscal year 2014 had legal representation as of the end of February, according to an analysis of federal data by Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, which tracks immigration-court cases.

Children with attorneys are six times more likely to be able to stay in the United States than kids without lawyers, the clearinghouse found.

Only 12 percent of unaccompanied minors without attorneys whose cases were filed since October 2011 and decided by February 2015 were given permission to stay at least temporarily. The other 88 percent were ordered to leave.

In contrast, courts allowed nearly 76 percent of kids with lawyers to remain in the United States.

Those statistics illustrate the unfairness of the government not providing legal representation in immigration court to children whose parents or guardians cannot afford it, said Victor Nieblas, president-elect of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and an attorney in the City of Industry.

“Immigration law is considered the most complex area of law other than tax law,” Nieblas said.

“The courts have described it as a labyrinth, a maze. The expectation that children navigate through that maze of law is completely wrong. It’s ludicrous. And to expect judges to have the patience to navigate a child through that process also is ludicrous.”

But Robin Hvidston, executive director of the anti-illegal-immigration group We the People Rising and an Upland resident, said taxpayers shouldn’t foot the bill for the migrants.

“What kind of country provides legal assistance to lawbreakers when our own citizens are suffering?” she asked.

Hvidston and other anti-illegal-immigration activists believe the child migrants shouldn’t be able to stay in the United States while their cases are heard.

They are calling for laws on the matter to be changed, if necessary, so the government quickly returns the children to their home countries.

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IMMIGRATION: Fighting for their kids to stay in the country

IMMIGRATION: Fighting for their kids to stay in the country

 Daniel Guzman, legal-resources coordinator of Justice for Immigrants Coalition of Inland Southern California, in foreground, confers with Elva Marroquín and Angel Rosales at a Subway restaurant in downtown Los Angeles on March 11, 2015, before an immigration-court hearing involving two of the couple s children. Their U.S.-born baby, Emmanuel, is in the stroller.


Immigration-court judges can order the deportation of a migrant who does not show up for a hearing.

About 80 percent of unaccompanied minors attended their first court hearing between July 18, 2014, and Feb. 24, 2015, according to the U.S. Executive Office for Immigration Review, which oversees immigration courts.

During that time period, judges ordered the deportation of 3,902 children in absentia, which means a hearing was conducted in the child’s absence. That is out of 20,316 cases in which there was a first hearing held.

Victor Nieblas, president-elect of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, said some children and their parents or guardians are not receiving the notices of court dates. Others are told to report to court in the border area where the child was apprehended, rather than near the child’s current home, he said.

When Guatemalan immigrants Elva Marroquín and Angel Rosales wake up every morning, they wonder whether that will be the day they find out their children will be deported.

Angel, 11, and Dulce, 8, are among the tens of thousands of Central American child migrants who last year left their violent homelands for the United States. Marroquín and Rosales are fighting in immigration court to keep their kids with them in their Rialto home. They fear the children will be killed if the U.S. government returns them to Guatemala.

Across the Inland area and the nation, the parents of other migrants are immersed in similar court battles and face the same uncertainty about their children’s future.

Nearly 60,000 cases involving children were filed in federal immigration court in fiscal 2014, nine times the number as in 2011, an illustration of the magnitude of the last few years’ influx of Central American kids, which peaked in 2014. The federal fiscal 2014 ended Sept. 30.

Rosales, 34, has lived in the United States since he illegally crossed the border into Arizona in 2008. Marroquín, 27, crossed into Texas in 2009. The married couple intended to return to their hometown in the Guatemalan highlands, so they left Angel and Dulce with the kids’ maternal grandparents. But, they said, the increasing violence there – Marroquín’s cousin was killed last year – led them to send for their children.

The three countries that were the source of most of the wave of child migrants are among the most dangerous. Honduras had the world’s highest homicide rate in 2012, according to a United Nations report released last year. El Salvador ranked fourth, Guatemala fifth.


Angel and Dulce were apprehended by the Border Patrol shortly after they crossed from Mexico into Texas in June 2014, when the phenomenon of Central American children arriving en masse in the United States exploded into the national consciousness with dramatic media images from the border.

A few weeks later, Murrieta received international attention when anti-illegal-immigration protesters blocked a bus carrying Central American migrants from entering a Border Patrol station there for processing.

Immigration authorities sent Dulce and Angel to Rialto to live with their parents until the government decides their fate.

Meanwhile, Marroquín and Rosales have been planning to apply for protection from deportation under an Obama administration program that a federal judge in February put on hold.

On March 11, Marroquín and Rosales traveled to immigration court in downtown Los Angeles for the second hearing in their children’s cases.

Daniel Guzman, legal-resources coordinator of Justice for Immigrants Coalition of Inland Southern California, picked them up at their Rialto home at 5:40 a.m. for the 9 a.m. hearing. Their trip in the pre-dawn darkness down I-10 took just over an hour, but they didn’t want to take the risk that an accident or traffic jam would make them late. Some judges deport children whose parents miss a hearing.

“I’m a bit nervous,” Rosales said in Spanish before the hearing as he sat with a cup of coffee at a Subway restaurant near the courtroom.

Marroquín sat next to him with their 18-month-old U.S.-born son Emmanuel. Across the table was Guzman, who in addition to driving the couple to court appointments explains the legal process to them and translates.

Rosales said he was even more nervous in January when a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services official in Anaheim interviewed Angel and Dulce. The children are requesting asylum, and the official asked them questions about their lives in Guatemala.

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Immigration consultant facing 88 fraud-related charges

A Toronto man is facing 88 charges in connection with a months-long immigration fraud investigation.

Nageshwar Rao Yendamuri, a regulated immigration consultant, was charged at the end of a 14-month investigation into his conduct, the Canada Border Services Agency said in a statement Friday.

Yendamuri worked as a consultant with the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council, the national regulatory authority designated by the Government of Canada.

The ICCRC is meant to safeguard those who seek Canadian immigration advice and representation, the website says.

All immigration consultants — working in Canada or abroad — who provide Canadian immigration services for a fee must be registered with the ICCRC.

The CBSA said Yendamuri was arrested last week in Toronto, and is facing 44 charges under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act for counsel misrepresentation and misrepresentation. He is also facing 44 charges under the Criminal Code for forgery and use of forged documents.

Yendamuri is accused of submitting multiple immigration applications on behalf of religious workers for temporary resident visas, visitor extensions and visitor status restoration. Border agents allege he supported the documents with forged and/or fabricated documents.

He is currently out on bail with a $100,000 bond and several conditions, including that he not have contact with any witnesses who will be called to testify against him, and that he not conduct any immigration-related work.

The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with more information, or details on any other suspicious cross-border activity, is asked to call the CBSA at 1-888-502-9060. All calls are confidential.

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Campaign seeks to put pro-immigration case

From left to right: Mary Sithole, S Chelvan, Lois Lau and Nicolette Moonen with "I am an immigrant" posters

A campaign group is making a case for immigration in the UK, saying it is “gravely concerned” by politicians’ rhetoric on the issue.

The Conservatives, Labour, Lib Dems and UKIP are all proposing tighter border controls, with a recent poll suggesting immigration was the third most important election issue behind only the NHS and the economy.

It has proven a catalyst for a wider debate about Britain’s place within the European Union, with UKIP arguing that free movement of workers and a rising migrant population is putting too much pressure on public services and driving down wages by undercutting British workers.

Against this background the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) – which campaigns against discrimination – is spending £44,000 on a UK-wide poster campaign, with the aim of “humanising the debate”.

BBC News met four people who are some of the charity’s faces of the “I am an immigrant” campaign:


The barrister

S Chelvan

“Without immigrants the NHS would collapse,” says 40-year-old S Chelvan, who arrived in the UK from Sri Lanka aged four.

His parents moved him to the UK to escape riots in his home country, and his mother worked in the NHS.

He says: “The seismic shift recently has been to concentrate on EU migrants. That didn’t really used to be part of the debate 10 years ago. The reason for this is that various political parties felt they were losing the debate on Europe on other issues, so migration is the easiest way of opening the anti-Europe debate.”

Mr Chelvan says many of those who are against immigration “fear difference” and often blame migrants for “failings in their own lives”, adding: “So now we have the dehumanisation and stigmatisation of the migrant.”


The musician

Nicolette Moonen

“As a musician I have always moved around,” says violinist Nicolette Moonen, who moved to the UK from Holland in 1992 and teaches at the Royal Academy of Music in London.

In 1996 Nicolette founded The Bach Players and the group holds a regular concert series in London and has performed all over the UK.

“Wherever I go my common language is music,” says the 59-year-old.

And she believes immigration is an issue that the whole nation needs to address.

“The dog barks at the stranger, but when the dog knows the person it wags its tail. We want to this to happen with society’s view of migrants,” she says.


The customer services advisor

Mary Sithole

Mary Sithole says in the last five years she has noticed the debate around immigration become more vitriolic.

“It has made me wonder if I’m really in the right country,” says the 40-year-old, who escaped from Zimbabwe in southern Africa when she was just 20 because her family feared for their lives.

She adds: “If people are saying things about the Polish and Romanians then it only makes me think, ‘what are they saying about me?’”


The sportswoman

Lois Lau

Lois Lau, 32, moved from Malaysia to the UK, aged 13, because her mother worked for the NHS.

On 29 April she will be representing England in the international touch rugby finals in Australia. She was also part of the England team that won gold in the non-contact sport at the European championships last year.

“For me people’s attitudes on immigration have not got any better than when I first arrived in the country,” she says.

immigrants plus Saira Grant on the right

Saira Grant, far right, says it is “ridiculous” for parties to try to cap net migration to the UK

Saira Grant, legal and policy director for Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) says that the tone of public discussion about immigration is “contributing to a climate of hostility and fear”.

Her campaign is not party political, she says, but argues it is “absolutely ridiculous” for parties to put a specific cap on net migration. The Conservatives were criticised for missing a target to reduce immigration to “tens of thousands” by May, as it rose to 298,000.

Labour has said it got it wrong on immigration when last in government, failing to take into account the impact on public services and driving down wages.

Meanwhile, UKIP leader Nigel Farage has said he would like to see the number of immigrants to the UK “below 50,000 a year” but says an overall cap on net migration would be “ludicrous”.

From Monday 13 April, posters will go up at 400 London Tube stations, with larger posters appearing on billboards at railway stations across UK.

Graph showing net migration since 1964

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Obama immigration battle moves to 5th Circuit after judge upholds stay

In an expected move that leaves the status of up to 5 million immigrants in the U.S. illegally unchanged, a federal judge in Texas  refused to lift his order putting on hold President Obama’s executive action dealing with the politically charged issue.

In a pair of rulings late Tuesday night, U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen refused a government request to allow the Obama programs to resume while the broader issues are being litigated.

A coalition of 26 states led by Texas is fighting Obama’s executive action, announced in November. The action expanded the pool of people who could receive some legal immigration standing to include the parents of U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents.

Obama also wanted to increase from two years to three years the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program, designed to help so-called Dreamers.

Texas officials praised the judge’s rulings while the White House condemned it.

“The district court in Texas has wrongly continued to prevent those lawful, common sense policies from taking effect — even in the many states where local leaders and law enforcement officials have said they support the executive actions and expect their communities to benefit from them,” said a White House represtivative speaking on background. “The Department of Justice has appealed the district court’s decision and sought an emergency stay from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit.”

In a statement, Texas Atty. Gen. Ken Paxton again attacked the Obama administration.

“As the judge has affirmed, once put into effect, President Obama’s executive amnesty program will be virtually impossible to reverse,” Paxton said. “Any premature implementation could have serious consequences, inflicting irreparable harm on our state, and this ruling is key in determining the extent to which the federal government did not present the full truth in this case.”

Jose Palacios, 23, of Tampa, Fla., received DACA relief and his mother — who came to the United States illegally from Mexico more than 20 years ago — had hoped to apply for a similar program for parents known as DAPA before the lawsuit. Three of Palacios’ siblings have DACA status, five are citizens.

Palacios said he was not surprised by the conservative South Texas judge’s ruling.

“We knew his stance … what his intentions are: to continue to hurt immigrant families across the country,” Palacios told the Los Angeles Times.

“It looks like we have to continue to fight,” he said, while opponents of the executive action “continue to attack our community.”

Since the lawsuit began, he said his mother has grown “discouraged.”

“Sometimes my mom loses hope that anything is going to happen,” Palacios said.

He said he planned to explain Tuesday’s ruling to her, adding that he would be in New Orleans next Friday to protest ahead of the 5th Circuit’s hearing on the appeal,” Round 2 of this fight.

Nora Preciado, a staff attorney with the National Immigration Law Center based in Los Angeles, said she planned to attend the appeals court hearing.

“This is just the first step in the legal battle,” Preciado said, adding, “We are all looking forward to the hearing on the same motion to stay at the 5th Circuit” next Friday in New Orleans.

Her group submitted an amicus brief supporting the federal government to the 5th Circuit this week.

“It’s highly unusual for the court to hear arguments on a motion to stay,” she said, “I think it shows the court will carefully consider the arguments …. We remain hopeful that they will suspend the injunction while the case moves forward on the merits.”

Earlier this week, a panel of the 5th Circuit rejected a challenge to Obama’s 2012 executive action, upholding a lower court’s earlier ruling in a case involving Mississippi and some border agents.

In the latest actions, Judge Hanen issued two orders — one refusing to lift his injunction, the other detailing what he called the federal government’s misleading statements. He ordered the government to provide more information by April 21.

A clearly annoyed Hanen said he would not throw out the government’s pleadings, even though that was “perhaps merited based upon the government’s misconduct.” But, he continued, that would not “be in the interests of justice or in the best interest of this country.” Instead, the issues “should be decided on their relative merits according to the law.”

The latest ruling came after several testy exchanges with prosecutors, who took 15 days to inform the judge that federal officials had granted 108,000 applications for deferred action after Obama announced the program in November. That delay, Hanen wrote in the Tuesday night order, “was neither prompt nor fully candid.”

At issue, lawyers for the federal government say, is confusion over a pair of Obama’s immigration actions.

The Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA, would affect more than 4 million people who have lived in the United States for at least five years and are the parents of U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents.

It would offer three-year work permits to parents who qualify, and would not be open to recent arrivals or to people with serious criminal records.

The DAPA action also included a provision to change DACA. And this is where the confusion began.

The DAPA executive action included expanded deferred action for qualified DACA applicants, from a two-year reprieve to three years. Although 26 states were suing to block DAPA, federal government lawyers allowed DACA applicants to apply for a three-year reprieve.

More than 100,000 of them did.

Hanen, at times visibly angry in the hearings, wasn’t informed of the accepted applicants for weeks after the suit began and threatened to sanction the Justice Department if he found that government lawyers had misled him about the rollout of the immigration actions.

“The court expects all parties, including the government of the United States, to act in a forthright manner and not hide behind deceptive representations and half-truths,” Hanen wrote Tuesday night.

Hennessy-Fiske reported from Houston, Duara from Tempe, Ariz., and Muskal from Los Angeles. Times staff writer Christi Parsons in Washington, D.C., contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times

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California Democrats unveil immigration bills, jab Congress on inaction

Flanked by immigration advocates and lawmakers from both houses, California legislative leaders unveiled Tuesday a slate of new proposals to aid those in the country illegally, including offering state-subsidized healthcare and increasing legal protections against deportation.

“Today we remind the rest of the nation that California is different,” said Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles). “We respect immigrants and recognize the contribution that they have made to this state from the very beginning.”

Lawmakers used the Tuesday morning news conference — conducted in English and Spanish — to blast Congress for failing to pass an overhaul of federal immigration laws.

The 10-bill package unveiled Tuesday “is a reflection of the dereliction of duty of Congress,” said De Leon, which he chalked up to “either intellectual laziness or a lack of work ethic on this issue.”

The most sweeping proposal would extend Medi-Cal coverage to people living in the country illegally. Lawmakers acknowledged that such an expansion of state-paid healthcare for the poor could come at significant costs, but the bill’s author, Sen. Ricardo Lara, said he was lobbying authorities in Washington for the federal government to shoulder part of the burden.

The proposal’s price tag could pose a challenge to California’s delicately balanced budget.

Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) acknowledged that not all of the proposals will face easy passage.

“If we thought this were easy, it would be done,” Atkins said. “D.C. would be doing something if it were easy. We intend to set the model. We intend to set the tone.”

Senate Republican leader Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar), noting that his caucus supports federal immigration overhaul, said California is being overburdened by trying to act in the federal government’s place.

“We understand the burdens facing immigrants who want to go to work and raise their families in safe neighborhoods, and the rationale behind these bills is admirable,” Huff said in a statement.  ”But without money from Congress and President Obama, it will be very difficult and costly for California taxpayers to fund all of these bill proposals.”

Other measures in the package would:

–Change California’s civil-rights law to extend anti-discrimination protections to immigrants.

–Require defense attorneys to inform their clients of the immigration consequences of certain judgments or plea deals. 

–Establish an Office of New Americans in the governor’s office to assist immigrants with naturalization and other services.

Follow @melmason for more on California government and politics.

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times

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