Photo by Chad Miller/Flickr (Creative Commons)
Los Angeles city leaders have become the latest elected officials to shun the federal Secure Communities immigration enforcement program, which allows for the fingerprints of people booked into local jails to be shared with immigration authorities.
The City Council voted 11-1 today to support a California bill that would allow the state to renegotiate its contract with the Homeland Security department, letting cities and counties opt out of the program. The bill recently cleared the state Assembly and goes to the Senate next.
The vote on the Los Angeles resolution is more symbolic than anything, as at present, individual jurisdictions can't choose not to participate, with the agreements between the federal government and the states. In recent weeks and days, the governors of Illinois, New York and most recently Massachusetts have announced plans to withdraw their states from Secure Communities, although federal officials have said it's not so easily done.
A post yesterday told the story of "22,000 Tears," a Facebook page set up by disappointed would-be immigrants to the United States who learned in early May that they had won immigrant visas in an annual federal lottery, then were soon informed there had been a computer error and that the lottery results would be voided.
Some 22,000 people were left in the lurch, hence the name of the Facebook group, through which some have been circulating a petition, posting protest videos and connecting from the countries they call home. Not surprisingly, the visa lottery story has made the global rounds. (I discussed it yesterday in an interview with the BBC.) And now, some readers who identify themselves as being among those whose hopes were crushed have been posting messages on this site.
Source: Visa Bulletin for May 2011, U.S. Department of State
Nations with current longest waits for family-sponsored based immigrant visas: The priority dates shown are when applicants now up for processing filed their petitions. (Source: Visa Bulletin for May 2011, U.S. Department of State)
Now that it's June, it's time for another look at the U.S. State Department’s monthly Visa Bulletin. Who has been waiting the longest time for an immigrant visa this month?
As is the norm, the line of people being sponsored by relatives to come to the United States legally has been inching along slowly. Like last month, those who have endured the longest wait are hopeful immigrants from the Philippines who filed their petitions back in the late 1980s.
Here's the breakdown of the top four categories who have endured the longest waits:
1) Brothers and sisters of adult U.S. citizens from the Philippines, a wait of more than 23 years (petitions filed May 1, 1988).
2) Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens from the Philippines, a wait of more than 19 years (petitions filed March 8, 1992)
3) Unmarried adult (21 and over) sons and daughters of U.S. legal permanent residents from Mexico, a wait of close to 19 years (petitions filed August 22, 1992)
4) Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens from Mexico, a wait of close to 19 years (petitions filed November 15, 1992)
Supreme Court ruling on tuition for immigrant students likely to bolster legislation nationwide - Los Angeles Times The U.S. Supreme Court decided yesterday that California may continue granting reduced in-state tuition to college students who are undocumented. The decision is expected to bolster similar proposals, as well as a California measure to that would allow these students access to public financial aid.
Two Plead Guilty In Utah Immigration 'Hit List' Case - NPR The charges stem from the distribution of an immigration "hit list" to reporters and law enforcement by Utah state employees, along with an anonymous demand that the people named be deported. The list included personal information, including social security numbers, birth dates and even due dates for pregnant women.
Illegal Immigration Focus Switches To Employers - NPR Two weeks ago, the Supreme Court upheld an Arizona law that penalizes employers who knowingly hire unauthorized workers. Many other states approved roughly similar legislation, and many more look set to follow.
Last month, when the U.S. State Department scratched the results of its 2012 green card lottery due to a computer glitch, thousands of hopeful immigrants who had thought they'd won a chance to live in the United States were crushed to learn they wouldn't be coming here after all.
So some of them took their disappointment online.
The members of a Facebook group of irked lottery winners called "22,000 Tears" have been rejoicing news that the federal government plans to investigate the visa lottery program, and have been taking some of the credit. The page is named for the roughly 22,000 people who were notified they had won the lottery before being told the results would be voided, and that they would have to enter the drawing once more.
The Facebook page was launched in protest, complete with several videos and a petition urging supporters to sign it "so the US Goverment can do something about it," as the petition page reads. After news stories of a planned investigation began appearing, members on the page today posted elated messages from their native countries: