This week in immmigration

California DREAMers Exhibit High Levels of Civic Participation, Yet Face Significant Hardships

There are roughly 5 million undocumented children and young adults currently living in the U.S. today, 24% (or 1.1 million) of whom live in California. As in other states, California’s undocumented youth face a unique and challenging paradox. On one hand, they work hard, excel academically, participate in their communities and have high educational and career aspirations in the only country they’ve ever known. On the other hand, their immigration status severely limits their opportunities, aspirations and ability to contribute fully to U.S. society. A new research brief highlights the experiences of undocumented youth in California—many of whom disproportionally experience economic and personal hardships.

Secretary Napolitano Clarifies President’s Deferred Action Plan…Again
Today, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano testified before the House Judiciary Committee and, as expected, defended the administration’s use of prosecutorial discretion and recently announced deferred action policies for qualified DREAMers—fielding questions and accusations from those who would rather take Napolitano to task than focus on creating smart, humane, and effective immigration policies.

Critics Try to Sink Obama’s Deferred Action Program Before It Even Begins
Now that a majority of the Supreme Court has blessed the use of prosecutorial discretion as a legitimate function of the executive branch, critics of deferred action for DREAMers have moved on to a golden oldie: raising the specter of fraud in order to defeat or delay the program. In a recent letter to ICE Director John Morton, Judiciary Chair Lamar Smith argued that the new initiative will invite thousands of undocumented immigrants to fake documents proving that they meet the requirements of the program, likening it to the Special Agricultural Worker legalization program of 1986. By conjuring up ghosts of the past, Congressman Smith not only confuses the nature of legalization and deferred action, but ignores the dramatic changes in immigration adjudication and enforcement that have taken place since 1986.

New Injunction Sought in Challenge to Arizona SB 1070
Late Tuesday night, opponents of Arizona SB 1070 filed new papers in court seeking to block Section 2(B) from taking effect, arguing that state legislators were driven by anti-Latino bias and that the provision will inevitably result in constitutional violations. The motion, filed by civil rights groups, cited numerous previously undisclosed emails from former State Sen. Russell Pearce, the main sponsor of SB 1070, containing inflammatory comments about Mexico and unauthorized immigrants. The filing, submitted in federal district court in Phoenix, also sought an injunction against a separate provision of SB 1070 that attorneys argue is invalid under the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Arizona v. United States.

Why the Administration Should Avoid a Fight Over Anti-Detainer Laws
Yesterday’s TIME Magazine carried a story on what it billed as the Obama administration’s “next immigration battle”—the spread of state and local laws around the country preventing jails from holding immigrant detainees on behalf of the federal government. California and Chicago appear poised to join the list, and federal officials have floated the possibility of taking legal action to block such measures. This battle, however, pits states and localities trying to limit inappropriate detention against the federal government’s desire to cast a wide net for potential immigration violators. It’s a fight the federal government should think twice about taking on.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio to Stand Trial on Racial Profiling Charges

MaricopaCounty Sheriff Joe Arpaio may finally face the music this week in a federal trial inPhoenix. The renowned anti-immigrant media glutton and self-proclaimed “America’s Toughest Sheriff” stands accused of discrimination and harassment charges in a class action lawsuit involving the ACLU and MALDEF. Arpaio has a long history of abuse and discrimination in the name of immigration enforcement—from a segregated tent city to unlawful stops and forcing inmates to wear pink underwear. In fact, Arpaio is also the subject of a lawsuit filed by the Department of Justice earlier this year alleging that Arpaio and his officers targeted Latino drivers during traffic stops and neighborhood sweeps and used ethnic slurs against Latino inmates in county jails.

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