How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Anti-deferred action lawsuit brought by ICE agents and activists

A lawsuit filed today against top Homeland Security officials by immigration agents opposed to deferred action, which promises to grant temporary legal status to some young undocumented immigrants, has the support of high-profile immigration restriction advocates.

SB 1070 legal author and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is representing a handful of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents led by Chris Crane, president of the ICE agents' union, in a lawsuit alleging that the new Obama administration policy directs ICE agents to violate federal immigration laws or face consequences on the job. Legal costs are being paid by NumbersUSA, an immigration restriction advocacy group in Arlington, Virginia.

It's not the first time the ICE union has complained about recent Obama administration immigration policies that aren't tied to enforcement, but rather offer leniency to some otherwise deportable immigrants. Earlier this year, the agents' union protested the administration's implementation of prosecutorial discretion guidelines aimed at weeding out non-criminal immigrants who might be spared from deportation.


What the Supreme Court's SB 1070 decision settles - and what it doesn't

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

Protesters rally in Phoenix on July 29, 2010, the day SB 1070 was partly enacted with four provisions blocked.

Arizona v. United States has been decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, but this doesn't mean the legal battle over Arizona's SB 1070 is anywhere near over. In fact, the court didn't even address the law's most controversial aspect.

What the justices decided today is whether four contested sections of the 2010 anti-illegal immigration law encroached upon the federal government's ability to set immigration policy, and thus were preempted by federal law. This was the basis of the Obama administration's July 2010 legal challenge, filed shortly before the law took effect.

On the eve of its implementation, a federal judge in Phoenix issued a temporary injunction blocking SB 1070's four most controversial provisions. Today's decision marked the end of a long and costly appeal by the state of Arizona.


Highlights from today's SB 1070 decision

Photo by Kitty Felde/KPCC

The crowd outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. as the court heard arguments on Arizona's SB 1070 April 25, 2012

It's been a very big news day with the U.S. Supreme Court announcing its decision on Arizona's SB 1070 this morning, and I've been posting updates directly to the KPCC website instead of here on Multi-American.

But I'd like to share what my colleagues and I have put together on the decision by now, which is quite a bit. In a nutshell, the justices decided to uphold the most controversial section of the law, while striking down three other provisions in question. There's more to come, but here are some highlights from our reporting and talk shows today so far:

Supreme Court upholds key provision of SB 1070, strikes down the rest Initial reporting on the court's decision, with a breakdown of which provisions of the law were struck down and upheld. The provision the justices upheld was Section 2(B), which empowers local police to check for immigration status if there is "reasonable suspicion" that someone is here illegally.


Romney prepares to tackle his 'Latino problem': Three signs

Photo by Tim Sloan/AFP/Getty Images

Mitt Romney, March 2010

Now that Rick Santorum has dropped out the race and Mitt Romney is fairly assured of the Republican presidential nomination, his campaign seems to be working double-time to woo Latino voters.

It's not going to be easy. Throughout his campaign so far, Romney has taken a hard line on immigration, alienating Latino voters on an issue that may not rank as high as the economy, but is one that Latinos tend to take personally. And while immigration has been a sore point for both Romney and President Obama, Latino voters still favor Obama by a wide margin.

But recent developments in the Romney camp suggest there will be a heavy focus on reaching Latino voters as November nears, starting with:

1) Romney distancing himself from Kris Kobach, the Kansas secretary of state and activist attorney who has written many recent state anti-illegal immigration laws. From ABC News:


Top five immigration stories of 2011, #4: Birthright citizenship

Photo by Victoria Bernal/Flickr (Creative Commons)

The political battle over birthright citizenship exploded almost a year ago, when a series of states began introducing bills seeking to cut off the children born to undocumented immigrants from automatic U.S. citizenship.

The United States, like most countries in the Americas but unlike many European nations, has had a longstanding practice of jus soli citizenship, meaning citizenship is granted to those born on U.S. soil (jus soli is Latin for "right of the soil). Other nations, such as Germany, abide by versions of jus sanguinis (Latin for “right of blood”) citizenship, which there is granted only to children of citizens and/or legal residents.

The notion of barring the children of undocumented immigrants from receiving U.S. citizenship had long lingered on the more extreme fringes of the immigration restriction lobby. But in the anything-is-possible climate that followed the approval of Arizona's stringent SB 1070 last year, a group of like-minded state legislators banded together and, with the aid of attorneys who worked on SB 1070, created one-size-fits-all model state legislation that would distinguish between babies born to undocumented immigrants and other children when issuing state birth certificates.