Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Immigration News Roundup - June 9, 2009

1. DHS gives break to widowed immigrants: USA Today reports that the Homeland Security Department is giving a break to widows who have not become legal U.S. residents before their American-citizen spouses die. The department says it will suspend any actions, including deportations, against such widows and widowers for two years and also will not take action against their young children. The announcement was made Tuesday afternoon.

2. Holder Says Immigrants Can Appeal Removal Orders Over Lawyer Errors: Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. last week overturned a Bush administration ruling in January that immigrants do not have a constitutional right to effective legal counsel in deportation proceedings. In vacating the decision his predecessor, Michael B. Mukasey, issued two weeks before President George W. Bush left office, Holder restored one of the most common grounds cited by immigrants for appealing removal orders: that their attorneys were incompetent.

3. Harry Reid wants immigration bill this year: The Senate's top Democrat said he wants to take up comprehensive immigration reform this year, opening a new front on a divisive issue that sparked a roiling national debate two summers ago. Passing immigration reform is “going to happen this session,” Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), referring to the 111th Congress. “But I want it this year if at all possible.” At a press conference with Hispanic leaders touting the Supreme Court nomination of the Sonia Sotomayor, Reid said that he wants Congress to pass a bill with tougher border security measures, improved employer sanctions, a guest-worker program and a path for citizenship to the country’s illegal immigrants...

4. USCCB Splits Support on Family Reunification Legislation: Bishop John C. Wester of Salt Lake City, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration, expressed the Committee’s support for the Reuniting American Families Act (S. 1085) introduced May 20. He did so in a June 2 letter to Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ)....Bishop Wester also issued a second letter indicating that the bishops’ Committee on Migration is not supporting similar legislation (H.R. 2709) in the House. In a June 2 letter to Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA), Bishop Wester wrote: “As you know, the USCCB supported H.R. 6638, similar legislation that you introduced during the 110th Congress. Unfortunately, however, while the bishops support many of the provisions in the Reuniting Families Act, your decision to include in the bill the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA), which would provide marriage-like immigration benefits to same sex relationships, makes it impossible for the bishops to support this year’s version of your bill.”

For the record, H.R. 2709 has 57 cosponsors while S. 1085 only has 3.....hmmm....wonder what that says...


  1. For the record, H.R. 2709 has 57 cosponsors while S. 1085 only has 3.....hmmm....wonder what that says...

    hmm..perhaps because the bills are in two different divisions of congress? or perhaps because one is a senate bill and one is a house bill (?) and since there are 435 members in the house and 100 in the senate the chances of early sponsorship is a lot greater in the house. If you do the math it's only a difference of 13% and 3% It's still early in the game.

  2. Actually, in politics, a double-digit difference is significant, but it IS true that the House can be more liberal than the Senate and that it is early in the game.

    It's probably also irrelevant that 19 of the 57 cosponsors of the House version that the USCCB rejects are Roman Catholic.

    The United States is somewhat of an anomaly in the developed world in not permitting binational same sex partners access to immigration through sponsorship. Nineteen countries now allow such sponsorship, including Canada and the United Kingdom. Rectifying this injustice would provide stability to these households, which often involve children as well.

    More information about how American immigration laws specifically affect gays and lesbians can be found on the Immigration Equality web site.

    My point is that the average American -- and, as we saw from the Gallup poll back in April that we blogged about, the average Catholic -- is more open to stable homosexual couples than the Catholic Church hierarchy. We don't buy the argument that their existence is a threat to traditional marriage.

    The question is: If the final version of the bill comes out with the language protecting gay couples intact, will the USCCB choose to support our immigrant families or will it yield to homophobia?

  3. I am not writing as a catholic, just my own opinion. I support the bishops in this matter. Marriage is between a man and a woman.
    I agree that same sex couples should be protected by the law with legislation that allows them to have share property contracts, inheritance, visitation rights in case of illness, etc.
    Immigration sponsorship of this kind would be equal to a husband sponsoring a wife or vice versa and this is not the case here.
    They are a couple, like and heterosexual couple may be, not husband and wife.
    What’s next? Are they going to want to bring in the kid that are "raising together"? Adopt? Have surrogate mothers to keep the child later?
    I don’t believe that this kind of unions are a threat to traditional marriage because of simple reason that I don’t consider it a marriage.
    Please, don’t call me homophobic, just old fashioned in family values.

  4. Hi! We at Kartemquin are reaching out to bloggers like yourself that care about issues facing immigrants in the world today. We hope you'll check out the PBS broadcast of our series, The New Americans. It's a chronicle of immigrant families from all over the world trying to adjust to theirs lives in the United States. Feel free to check out more info at our website: www.kartemquin.com. We'd love to hear from the blogging community!


  5. To JuanMM: Not "homophobic", but I think that sometimes there is a gulf between the older generation of immigrants and the current one. Sometimes the older generation forget where they came from, or choose to ignore the fact that they didn't come from the same place as far as education and economic opportunity are concerned. And that translates into remarks like: "What's next? Are they going to want to bring in the kid that they are 'raising together'?"

    Also the more general complaints about the "failure" of the new generation of immigrants to master English -- even though studies have shown that the children of this generation not only learn English but forget their language of origin -- or the argument that they should "get in line like everybody else" as if the entire system were fair and not in serious need of reform.

    Why not err on the side of compassion? Why not let gay immigrants sponsor their partners, if they can afford to do so? Believe me, the sponsorship requirements are so high that nobody is going to sponsor someone they just met in a bar. And it's far better than "marriages" of convenience and other ways people sneak their partners into the country.

  6. My point of view is simple here, nothing to do with economics, education, etc. I am just the type that happens to believe that marriage is between a man and woman. To me the gay lifestyle is not compatible with having kids in the household. It may be very funny in the movie: “La cage aux folles”, but this is real life.
    And I know is true that many conventional marriages are not good or ready to have kids in the household neither.
    Therefore sponsoring a gay partner as if were a marriage doesn’t fly. I don’t think that's even legally possible that I know. If so, why then a boyfriend couldn’t sponsor his girlfriend? When I came to this country with student visa, I had a girlfriend of long time. She earned her Green Card working as a live in baby-sitter, I did the same working for an Italian family. We couldn't sponsor each other.
    I am not anti gay; I had gay friends and even a gay person in the family for awhile. I love (or at least try) people for what they are.
    I know, I am being too logical and stubborn, but this is the way I see it, but I understand what you're trying to tell me, R.G.