SANTA FE, NM (By Jon Garrido) June 15, 2010 — It was a good week for Lou Barletta. The U.S. Supreme Court handed down a favorable ruling on the issue that brought the Congressman to national fame when he was still the mayor of Hazleton.
The Court issued a ruling in favor of Hazleton’s Illegal Immigration Relief Act Ordinance and ordered the Third Circuit Court of Appeals’ to reconsider the law, which it struck down in 2007.
The Hazleton Illegal Immigration Relief Act Ordinance, passed in 2006, allowed the town to fine landlords $1,000 per undocumented immigrant found renting and required employers to verify a citizens legal status before hiring.
Proponents say the measure was adopted to curb the inflow of undocumented immigrants into Hazleton.
The ordinance gained national attention because it was the harshest anti-illegal immigration law at the time. Opponents argued the law hurt Hazleton saying the influx of immigrants, both legal and illegal, revitalized the town by bringing in new business. They challenged its constitutionality on the grounds of the “Supremacy Clause” stating it contradicted existing federal law.
Before it could be put into effect, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) challenged it. Initially the courts sided with the ACLU.
Barletta celebrated the recent Supreme Court decision. “This is great news for the City of Hazleton and all municipalities in cities and states trying to cope with the burden of illegal immigration…This certainly is not good news for those that support illegal immigration.”
Attorneys from the ACLU responded to Barletta’s assertion saying “any celebration by the Hazleton officials would be premature. We’re certainly not putting up the white flag. There’s much battle left to be done in this case.”
Barletta believes the ordinance is on firm ground to be upheld by the federal appeals court citing the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of similar legislation in U.S. Chamber of Commerce versus Whiting.
In addition, Barletta introduced legislation to Congress similar to the ordinance passed while he was mayor saying “I don’t think the Obama administration is serious at all about solving our illegal immigration problems.”
Only Immigration Reform will End SB1070
One day before Arizona's new tough immigration law was supposed to go into effect, a federal judge temporarily blocked some of its controversial provisions.
Some aspects of the law will be carried out on schedule but Judge Susan Bolton of the Federal District Court in Phoenix issued a preliminary injunction against sections that required immigrants to carry papers with them at all times and that called for the police to check a person’s immigration status while enforcing other laws. She also delayed the part of the law that made it illegal for undocumented workers to solicit employment in public places.
Gov. Jan Brewer's legal team filed an expedited appeal of the judge's order with the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit which is a federal court with appellate jurisdiction over the Arizona District Court.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld Judge Susan Bolton's ruling and Gov. Jan Brewer's legal team is now preparing an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The United States Supreme Court
Justice Anthony Kennedy, who already decides whether liberals or conservatives win the Supreme Court's most closely contested cases, is about to take on an even more influential behind-the-scenes role with the retirement of Justice John Paul Stevens.
By virtue of seniority, Kennedy will inherit Stevens' power to choose the author of some court opinions, an authority that has historically been used – including in as big a case as the landmark Roe v. Wade abortion decision – to subtly shape a ruling or preserve a tenuous majority.
This change might keep the court's most liberal justices from writing some of its biggest decisions.
An unwritten high court rule gives the senior justice in the majority, most often the chief justice, the power to assign opinions.
When the liberals win an ideologically driven case by a 5-4 vote, the court's two senior justices – Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Antonin Scalia, both conservatives – are sure to be on the losing side. With Stevens gone, Kennedy now is next in line.
The overall balance of power on the court is unlikely to change, with President Barack Obama's choice of Elena Kagan replacing liberal-leaning Stevens.
But a former Bush administration solicitor general, Paul Clement, said putting the power to assign opinions in Kennedy's hands is the "single most important dynamic change" brought on by Stevens' departure.
David Garrow, a Cambridge University historian who has written about the court, said the 74-year-old Kennedy already writes a disproportionate share of the court's big decisions and will have even more chances to do so now because he can assign opinions to himself.
As if to emphasize Kennedy's increasing clout, he and Scalia now sit on either side of Roberts when the justices take the bench. Like most things at the court, the seating is by seniority. The justices who have been there longest sit on either side of the chief justice, who wields the gavel regardless of tenure.
Scalia, a justice since 1986, now is the longest-serving. He occasionally will get to assign an opinion, but typically not in the big cases that split the liberals and conservatives. Kennedy has been on the court since 1988.
In an important free speech case in 1971, the justices voted 5-4 to overturn a criminal conviction for wearing a jacket with a phrase that used a four-letter expletive to oppose the military draft. Justice William O. Douglas "immediately assigned it to John Marshall Harlan who was clearly the weakest link," said Lucas A. "Scot" Powe Jr., a Texas law professor who was a law clerk for Douglas.
It's difficult to assess the effect of Kennedy's new power.
His pivotal role until now – somewhere between the more conservative and the more liberal justices – has allowed him to dictate how far the court could go in many areas.
In 2007, for instance, Kennedy was unwilling to join the four conservatives to eliminate considerations of race in voluntary efforts by public school systems to increase diversity in their classrooms.
Perhaps, Garrow said, Kennedy might move away from the conservatives in close cases, knowing disagreeing with them "would put him in the decision maker's seat."
Or, he said, Roberts might come to the realization "he needs to work all the more to keep Kennedy inside the conservative tent."
Another possibility is Kennedy might keep an opinion for himself that Stevens would have handed off to another liberal justice. Kennedy might write the same decision more narrowly than Stephen Breyer or Ruth Bader Ginsburg would have, Dorf said.
Doug Kendall, president of the liberal-leaning interest group Constitutional Accountability Center, worried Stevens' retirement means there is "no guarantee any of the term's biggest opinions will be written by a member of the court's left flank."
Stevens, who was the senior justice since 1994, was accomplished at producing 5-4 opinions that "moved the law significantly in a progressive direction," Kendall said.
With Kennedy calling the shots, he said, the liberals might have to get used to smaller victories.
Translation: The probability is high, the appeal of Arizona Law SB1070 will be decided 5-4 by the United StatesSupreme Court overturning a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruling and upholding Arizona SB 1070.
If Arizona SB 1070 is upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, the only alternative is passage of Comprehensive Immigration Reform that will end SB1070.
Why Immigration Is the Sleeper Issue for 2012
If you follow the national debate in Washington decisions and the factors underlying them often have deeper causes.
A good illustration comes via the latest Allstate-National Journal Heartland Monitor Poll, which examined how people of different races view the country's rapidly changing demographics and how these views shape their outlook on the economy. It strongly suggests, while Washington may be ignoring it, illegal immigration has become a central and divisive force in American politics, and will have major implications in the 2012 election.
First, some background. The 2010 US Census showed large increases in the minority population relative to the one before. Whites accounted for only 8 percent of the population growth. Today, minorities comprise more than 36 percent of the entire nation, and nearly half of all Americans under 18. The United States is on track to become "majority-minority'' around 2040.
For a country undergoing such sweeping changes, the poll contains plenty of encouraging news. Attitudes among different racial groups are converging: White and minority Americans largely agree on the benefits of a free-market society, on the importance of education and individual effort in getting ahead, and on the idea we are making real progress toward equal opportunities for all.
Remarkably, only 2 percent of respondents said racial or ethnic background was the most important determinant of economic success. One of the most pernicious divisions in American history, that between whites and blacks, appears to be dissolving because the number of blacks is significantly decreasing.
For many Americans, the old division between blacks and whites has been replaced by a new division between white native-born citizens and Hispanic immigrants whose numbers are geometrically increasing. This is most apparent in the stark difference in economic outlook between whites and Hispanics. Whites are far more pessimistic about their prospects and their children's prospects — and mistakenly believe undocumented are the primary culprit.
Asked what they thought was causing the minority boom, 53 percent of whites said illegal immigration, 29 percent said higher birth rates, and 11 percent said legal immigration. "That has it almost exactly backward,'' said Jeffrey Passel, a senior demographer at the Pew Hispanic Center.
Since 2000, Passel says, there have been 19.3 million minority births, 8.4 million legal immigrants, and 5.6 million undocumented immigrants.
This widespread misconception stems from a lack of information that's largely due to both the Democratic and Republican parties' unwillingness to pursue immigration reform, after years of failed attempts.
These numbers appear to be driven by two things, said Brent McGoldrick of Financial Dynamics, which conducted the poll. The aftershocks of the immigration debate, which was never really resolved, but still permeates how people look at the economy and the future of the country; and the bad economy, which has made whites feel particularly pessimistic and sharpened these attitudes.
The political effects of these aftershocks show up in the differing attitudes toward government. Hispanics have a positive view of government and prefer that it play an active role in the economy; never the less, Hispanics are also pro business. Whites are more critical of government activism and tend to favor only the private sector. These views correlate with party preference. They suggest Hispanics tend to vote Democratic (the party of government but pro business), while whites are likely to vote Republican (the party of only free markets). The upcoming presidential election seems tailor-made to highlight these differences.
As the country still struggles to emerge from recession, the poll indicates, rather ominously, that ideas about how best to do so break down by race. The shame of it all is while economic growth is the surefire way to mitigate these tensions — a rising tide lifts all boats — agreeing on how best to bring it about will be hard, and harder still because a major source of the dispute is neither being acknowledged nor addressed in Washington because racism in Washington toward Hispanics dictates. Immigration bill is new chapter of inequality
"RIP Civil Rights Legacy," was one of the signs demonstrators carried as they rallied against HB 87, passed by the Georgia legislature last month. Short and dramatic, it was perfect placard material. But it also contained much to unpack about the bill and how we benefit from that legacy.
HB 87 provides new tools for law enforcement to handle the harboring and transporting of undocumented immigrants . It also gives police the ability to identify undocumented immigrants during the course of an investigation, and grants powers of civil action to the Attorney General to ensure compliance.
While the bill's intended purpose is to crack down on illegal immigration, the psychological research suggests it is likely to increase the use of stereotypes, prejudices and profiling toward those suspected of being undocumented immigrants . Findings from this body of work maintain while most people no longer consciously endorse stereotypes, many still harbor implicit (subconscious) racism toward Hispanics.
These biases are beliefs and feelings which harness stereotypes and prejudice even without intent or control. As such, people often utilize them in their perceptions and reactions to members of other groups automatically and with little conscious effort. When people feel threatened or under time pressure — as police officers often are — these automatic processes are even more influential.
This research speaks to the fact implicit racism can have a careless and unparalleled impact on social policies. The great danger in HB 87 and other types of reforms like this is they give social and legal cause to such racism. This in turn may actually worsen prejudicial practices.
The impact on the social and psychological life of both documented and undocumented immigrants can be profound. One need not look far to see the manifestations of discrimination and prejudice as they take the form of mental and physical health disparities for members of Hispanic immigrants.
Studies showed Mexican women experienced frequent hostility and distress during the implementation of the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act. This distress was often due to the women's feelings society, with the implementation of reform, wanted them out of the country and perceived them as criminals. More recent research showed feelings of exclusion based on race or immigrant status can lead to doubts about social acceptance.
Similar surveys of African American university students found that those who expected to be rejected and excluded because of the color of their skin reported lower sense of happiness showed a steady decline in their grades and expressed less trust in the university. Because many immigrant groups are stigmatized in similar ways, it is realistic to believe that they too will show the negative impact of these experiences.
"RIP Civil Rights Legacy" is an accurate declaration. HB 87 will only undermine the core impact of the civil rights movement: fairness and equality to all people. Certainly we need to address immigration reform, but the strong and at times insensitive discussion is reminiscent of the rhetoric of difference in our recent past.
Immigration bill is new chapter of inequality
Immigration Is the Top Issue Driving the Latino Vote
Latino Decisions and ImpreMedia released polling this week that shows Latino voters prioritize immigration, and do so because they view the issue through a personal lens. These are some of the important findings that should catch the attention of both political parties as the 2012 cycle begins:
Immigration is personal and a top priority for Hispanic voters who see this as an issue involving family, future and full acceptance. Both parties must be concerned about their image among Hispanic voters. Republicans should recognize anti-immigrant policies are damaging their ability to compete for and connect with Hispanics. And Democrats, although in a better position than Republicans, should be concerned about the disillusionment among Hispanic voters regarding the party’s commitment to change immigration policy. Democrats have to deliver on their promises of immigration reform if they want Hispanics to deliver in return.
The finding Hispanic voters prioritize immigration contrasts sharply with the claims of leading anti-immigrant organizations and their lawmaker allies. The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), the “think tank” for the nativist movement, and Rep. Lamar Smith, the hardline Chairman of the Judiciary Committee who is committed to expelling and deporting as many of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. as possible — seem to fancy themselves as experts on Hispanic voting behavior and their views on immigration.
A recent CIS analysis asserted “immigration is not one of the top issues for Hispanics,” while Rep. Smith took to the pages of Politico to assert Republicans’ mass-deportation policies would have little political consequence. Wrote Smith:
“Time and again, American voters — including Hispanics — have defeated amnesty attempts, including the 2007 comprehensive immigration reform legislation. Contrary to the claims made by some, the record shows Republicans will continue to attract Hispanic voters...”
The results in this poll strongly suggest otherwise. As La Opinión editorialized, Hispanic voters are very concerned about the lack of immigration policy reform that reflects and addresses our time. Immigration will be an important issue in the upcoming presidential election and whoever focuses on immigration and takes a strong stance that isn’t “aggressive and punitive” against undocumented immigrants will get the support of Hispanic voters.
The 2010 census counted 50.5 million Hispanics and 38.9 million blacks — compared with 35.3 million Hispanics and 34.7 million blacks in 2000. But those figures have not translated into Hispanic clout in Congress, where — not including delegates or members of Portuguese ancestry — they have 24 House members (17 Democrats and seven Republicans), compared with 42 black representatives (40 Democrats and two Republicans).
It is only with a significant increase in House members in the Congress that Immigration Reform will ever be achieved.
Of most importance is there is not one Hispanic U.S. Senator of Mexican, Central America or South American descent. There are two Cuban Americans but Cuban Americans as well as Puerto Rican Americans do not view Immigration Reform as a priority.
From New Mexico, where it is least expected, from behind and within, comes the Hispanic revolution to end racism and inequities. The vehicle is Solidarity USA being organized by Hispanic News and Latino News to make change in America by electing Hispanic Americans who are strong advocates for Immigration Reform to public office.
The days of having white elected officials represent us has not worked.
Success will not come with only one election but with each passing election more and more Hispanic members in the House and Senate will enable vote trading to finally achieve Immigration Reform. Most importantly, organizing a new organization modeled after Numbers USA which Republicans used to kill Immigration Reform will now be a priority for Solidarity USA to defeat racist elected officials who now are determined to eliminate Hispanics from the United States.
In addition, Hispanic News will have a mandate to eliminate racism. Today, minorities comprise more than 36 percent of the entire nation, and nearly half of all Americans under 18. The United States is on track to become "majority-minority'' around 2040. Eventually, the Hispanic population will be the driving force in the United States eliminating white racism toward Hispanics because eventually all racists in the United States will have died from old age.
Change is inevitable. Change is constant. "Benjamin Disraeli."
Content from: "Supreme Court Sides With Hazleton Immigration Law" by Jared Edgerton, Politics PA; "Immigration Is the Top Issue Driving the Latino Vote" by Matt Barreto of Latino Decisions and Mónica Lozano, ImpreMedia; "Why Immigration Is the Sleeper Issue for 2012" by "Immigration Bill is New Chapter of Inequality" by Krystal Perkins Ph.D, professor at The University of West Georgia and "Only Immigration Reform will End SB1070" by Jon Garrido National News.