Perry: No new state services for illegal immigrants

Mike Ward of the Austin American Statesman reported on 8/20/2012:

Joining a growing chorus of complaints about President Barack Obama’s new policy giving some illegal immigrants a two-year reprieve from deportation, Gov. Rick Perry has advised state agencies that the federal move will not change Texas’ policies against providing services for those who remain in the country.

In a letter distributed to state agencies on Monday, Perry calls the president’s plan “a slap in the face to the rule of law.”

“To avoid any confusion on the impact of the Obama administration’s actions, I am writing to ensure that all Texas agencies understand that (Homeland Security) Secretary (Janet) Napolitano’s guidelines confer absolutely no legal status whatsoever to any alien who qualifies for the federal ‘deferred action’ designation,” Perry said.  Read more » Man on hunger strike for illegal immigrants

Dreamers arrested for disrupting a legislative hearing about immigration in North Carolina.  Uriel Alberto is still in jail:

Raleigh, N.C. — A Winston-Salem man on a hunger strike at the Wake County jail and facing deportation says that he wants to bring attention to U.S. immigration laws and how they are affecting immigrants who have been raised in America yet cannot obtain citizenship as adults.

“I had no control over whether or not I wanted to come to this country, but I’m here, and I’m a contributing member of society,” 24-year-old Uriel Alberto, an illegal immigrant from Mexico, said Monday.

Alberto began fasting 10 days ago – two days after he and two other people with the advocacy groups El Cambio and N.C. Dream Team – were charged Feb. 29 with misdemeanor disorderly conduct after they interrupted a legislative committee meeting on immigration laws.

“The last two days have been extremely difficult to stay with it mentally,” he said. “I’m getting through it.”

Already having lost 20 pounds, he plans to fast another 10 days in an effort to empower others to speak out for the way, he says, illegal immigrants have to live under the radar and often fear being deported.

“We can’t live in the shadows, because if we do, then the same things that have happened (legislation regarding illegal immigrants) in Alabama and in Arizona are going to happen here,” Alberto said.  Read more …

NYT: Vying for Campus President, Illegal Immigrant Gets a Gamut of Responses

We are proud of Jose Luis Zelaya and his supporters.  They are not the “leaders of the future” but the leaders of now.

COLLEGE STATION, Tex. — Jose Luis Zelaya stood with a crowd of other students waiting to hear the news. It was election day at Texas A&M University here, and he was running for student body president. A victory for Mr. Zelaya, a 24-year-old graduate student from Honduras, would make history at Texas A&M: He would become its first Hispanic student body president — and the first illegal immigrant to hold the position.

Mr. Zelaya came to the United States at age 14, fleeing an abusive father and gang violence and hoping to reunite with his mother and sister in Houston. Last year, at a campus rally organized by supporters of the proposed Dream Act, which would provide a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants who go to college, he spoke of being undocumented, and described his journey from cleaning windshields at stoplights and sleeping under a bridge in the Honduran city of San Pedro Sula to attending the sixth-largest university in the United States. Read more …

CBS News: Court blocks parts of Ala. immigration law

March 8, 2012:

ATLANTA – A federal appeals court on Thursday blocked two more sections of Alabama’s tough new law targeting illegal immigration pending the outcome of lawsuits that seek to overturn the law entirely.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued an order temporarily halting a section that says courts can’t enforce contracts involving illegal immigrants and another that makes it a felony for an illegal immigrant to do business with the state.

The law adopted last year was challenged by both the federal government and a coalition of activist groups. A three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit heard arguments last week but said it won’t rule on the overall case until the U.S. Supreme Court decides a federal challenge to a similar law in Arizona. The appeals court is also weighing Georgia’s law.

Lawyers in the Alabama case had asked the court to at least temporarily stop the two sections and others, claiming they were causing harm to people in the state.

“We are very pleased that the Eleventh Circuit understood the harms these provisions were causing in Alabama, and saw fit to enjoin them,” said the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Sam Brooke, who argued before the panel last week. “This is a great day for the residents of our state.”

Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange said he strongly disagrees with the court’s decision.  Read more …

NYT: Illegal Immigrants Get Scholarships While Aid Bill Idles

Kirk Semple reports on March 8, 2012:

Among all the numbers that populate Nataly Lopez’s life — including phone digits, addresses, pass codes and friends’ ages — there is one that she never forgets: the cost of a semester’s tuition at Baruch College, where she is a sophomore.

Ms. Lopez, 21, is an illegal immigrant from Ecuador and has struggled to make ends meet, working several jobs to be able to pay for school.

“Two thousand eight hundred and five,” she said. “I know that number because I have to reach it to get to the next semester.”

State proposals that would make government financial aid available for illegal immigrants like Ms. Lopez are pending in Albany. Frustrated with the pace of federal and state legislative action, advocacy groups, with the support of New York City officials, have developed a stopgap solution — for a small number of needy students, at least.  Read more…

The Christian Science Monitor: Allowed to stay, Miami student becomes face of Obama immigration policy

On March 7, Patrick Jonsson reported:

The Obama administration has given a reprieve to a high-achieving Florida high school student, Daniela Pelaez, a Colombian national who faced deportation before graduating as valedictorian of North Miami High School.

Daniela’s fight to stay in the United States, to which she emigrated from Colombia as a 4-year-old, will continue despite the deferral handed down by the US Department of Homeland Security, but she’ll be able to graduate with her class in June and start preparing for college. She has a 6.7 grade point average and wants to attend an Ivy League school in the US.

The administration’s decision Tuesday to defer a deportation order, which had been issued by a federal judge Feb. 27, is likely to make Daniela the poster child for Obama’s tweaked immigration policy that pursues “criminal aliens” first and deemphasizes deportation for otherwise law-abiding illegal immigrants who are children or seniors, or who have strong family ties to the US. Read more …

Houston Chronicle: New Service Puts Legal Help in the Hands of Immigrants Seeking to Naturalize

On March 7, 2012, the Houston Chronicle published this press release from PRWeb regarding a new service from CitizenshipWorks:

CitizenshipWorks Text Messaging Campaign Provides Local Information about Naturalization Assistance

CitizenshipWorks, an online resource committed to increasing naturalization rates among eligible immigrants, recently announced the launch of its nationwide text messaging campaign, which sends immigrants information about United States citizenship and helps them to access free or low-cost legal help in their area.

Users can text “citizenship” (“ciudadania” in Spanish) to 877877 and receive the location and contact information of nearby legal services providers as well as information about naturalization and alerts about upcoming naturalization workshops and events in their community. Available in English and Spanish, the campaign addresses the unmet need for information about becoming a U.S. citizen and directs users to local organizations providing naturalization assistance.

Nationally, it is estimated that there are 8.5 million lawful permanent residents who are eligible to apply for citizenship. However, less than 1 million naturalize every year. For many immigrants, the complex laws and regulations that govern the process of naturalization are intimidating. Others simply lack the resources to hire an attorney to begin the process.

The CitizenshipWorks website ( provides free, easy-to-use, online tools to help individuals answer questions about their eligibility for naturalization, better understand the naturalization process, and prepare for the naturalization tests. CitizenshipWorks is a project of the Immigration Advocates Network (IAN), a collaborative effort of leading immigrants’ rights organizations; the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, national experts on the naturalization process; and Pro Bono Net, a national nonprofit that develops innovative and collaborative technology platforms to increase access.  Read more …

Las Vegas Sun: Looking at immigrant populations and immigration enforcement laws by state

Tovin Lapan reports on March 2, 2012:

As immigration issues keep getting peppered into presidential debates and the back and forth between the GOP and Democrats in the lead up to the general election, a lot of interesting and informative reports are being released on immigration, many of which are making good use of the 2010 census data.

The March/April issue of Mother Jones has an analysis of the immigration laws passed across the country since 2010.

Nevada does not factor into the analysis much, but it is an interesting analysis of the various laws passed throughout the US and which states have crafted the most legislation regarding immigrants.

The article is accompanied by a database that list all of the laws passed since 2010 in each state.

The Mother Jones article also maps Pew Hispanic Center data showing changes in state populations of unauthorized immigrants.

Read more … (Mississippi) – Big push for immigration bill

Reporting on February 29, 2012 about Alabama-style immigration bill moving through the Mississippi legislature:

Supporters of the Alabama-style proposed immigration legislation argued at a Capitol news conference Wednesday that illegal immigrants are taking jobs from Mississippians, bloating the state’s 10.4 percent unemployment rate.

“There are an estimated 90,000 illegal immigrants in our state, and over 133,000 Mississippi citizens have actively looked for a job in the past two months and are still unemployed,” said Rodney Hunt, president of the Mississippi Federation for Immigration Reform and Enforcement.

“We believe more jobs will open up for Mississippians as a result of House Bill 488.”

The bill has passed House Judiciary B Committee and must be passed by the Education Committee before Tuesday’s deadline to make it to the House floor for a vote.

Read more …

L.A. Times Reports Los Angeles PD Chief Backs Driver’s Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants

Joel Rubin and Paloma Esquivel of The L.A. Times reported on February 23, 2012:

Wading into a divisive, politically charged debate, Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said Wednesday that California should issue driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants.

The chief becomes one of the most prominent local figures to support the idea that state lawmakers have battled over repeatedly in the last 15 years. And Beck’s stance is certain to further inflame critics who are already angry at the chief for his efforts to liberalize rules on how his officers impound the cars of unlicensed drivers.

“My personal belief is that they should be able to” have licenses, Beck said in response to a question during a meeting with Times’ reporters and editorial writers. “The reality is that all the things that we’ve done