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11/21: Immigrant News - "CLEAR" introduced in Senate + more

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  • SIUHIN@aol.com
    Immigrant News! CLEAR introduced in Senate + more  Date: 11/21/2003 6:19:49 PM Pacific Standard Time From:
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 21, 2003
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      Immigrant News! "CLEAR" introduced in Senate + more 
      Date: 11/21/2003 6:19:49 PM Pacific Standard Time
      From: <A HREF="mailto:nnirr@...">nnirr@...</A>

      1.. ALERT: Republican Senators Sessions (AL) and Miller (GA) introduce
      "CLEAR," police-immigration collaboration bill, in the Senate.
      2. BBC news on lawsuit by immigrant workers against Wal-Mart after
      3. Fromaboutimmigration.com article "For Gay and Lesbian Couples
      "Immigration" is a Dirty Word"

      +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 1

      Bill would let police enforce immigration law

      Latinos vow to defeat plan
      Ana Radelat
      Gannett News Service
      Nov. 21, 2003 12:00 AM

      WASHINGTON - Two Southern conservative senators unveiled a bill Thursday
      that would allow local police to arrest undocumented immigrants, but the
      nation's Latino groups say they'll make the defeat of the legislation
      their top priority.

      "This would further alienate our community," said Michele Waslin,
      immigration policy advocate at the National Council of La Raza.

      Sens. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., and Zell Miller, D-Ga., said they are
      pushing a bill that would allow police officers to arrest undocumented
      immigrants so they could be deported because the immigrants are
      scofflaws who make a mockery of the legal system.

      Sessions said police officers are frustrated because they sometimes
      detain undocumented workers during traffic stops and other routine
      business and are forced to let them go because only the federal
      government is authorized to enforce immigration law.

      "This is really weird," Sessions said. "It is not a rational system."

      But the law enforcement community is split over the issue. Some
      officers, including the Los Angeles Police Department, say Sessions'
      bill would hurt their relationship with immigrant communities.

      Others, including the National Sheriffs' Association, have endorsed the

      The Fraternal Order of Police refused to back a similar House bill
      introduced earlier this year because it would strip money from police
      departments that didn't comply. But the Senate bill wouldn't punish
      police departments that didn't want to enforce immigration law.

      The new bill would allow police officers to detain undocumented
      immigrants during the performance of regular duties on their beats. It
      also would increase the number of immigrant detention centers and
      require all states to give driver's licenses only to legal immigrants
      and make the licenses expire on the same day an immigrant's permission
      to stay in this country expired.

      Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., avoided including these provisions in his
      wide-ranging immigration proposal that would help undocumented workers
      become legal residents.

      Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., could not be reached for comment.

      Waslin and other immigration advocates say the law would hurt police
      officers' ability to do their jobs.

      "It would make immigrants fearful to report crimes or suspicious
      activities, which means we will all be less safe," she said.

      The Congressional Hispanic Caucus also said they'd fight the bills.

      Caucus Chairman Rep. Ciro Rodriguez, D-Texas, called them "dangerous
      pieces of legislation that place the safety of Americans in jeopardy by
      overburdening officers and should not be allowed to see the light of

      With Congress in its last days of business for 2003, the new immigration
      bill won't get very far this year.

      But Miller said he and Sessions will push the issue next year.

      "It's time to bring this matter forward," he said.

      ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 2

      Wal-Mart faces immigrant lawsuit
      A group of nine illegal immigrants arrested in a federal raid on
      Wal-Mart stores are suing the retail group over alleged discrimination.
      The workers, employed as janitors by subcontractors, say they were paid
      lower wages and offered fewer benefits.

      The plaintiffs, who face deportation, were among 250 people arrested in
      an October immigration crackdown at 60 Wal-Mart stores in 21 states.

      The nine's lawsuit states they are seeking more than $200,000 in back

      Overtime claim

      Lawyer Gilberto Garcia said the lawsuit, filed in New Jersey Supreme
      Court, seeks to represent all the detained illegal immigrants who had
      worked for Wal-Mart.

      They accuse Wal-Mart and its cleaning contractors of failing to pay for
      overtime, withhold taxes or make required workers' compensation

      The plaintiffs say they worked at least 56 hours a week and were not
      paid time and a half for overtime, hours worked beyond 40 a week.

      They say they were paid $350 to $500 a week.

      The workers, mainly Eastern Europeans, were arrested by the US
      Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Bureau, in an investigation
      known as Operation Rollback.

      'Nothing wrong'

      Wal-Mart acknowledged it is the object of a federal investigation
      related to the employment of the undocumented workers.

      But Mona Williams, Wal-Mart vice president of communications, said the
      company did not know about the alleged labor violations, or that the
      contractors used illegal immigrants.

      She said Wal-Mart has long insisted that its contractors obey the law.

      "We have seen absolutely no evidence showing that Wal-Mart did anything
      wrong", she said.

      Wal-Mart, is the world's largest retailer and the largest private
      employer in the United States, with 1.1 million domestic employees and
      about 3,500 stores.

      Story from BBC NEWS:

      ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 3


      Unlucky in Love

      For Gay and Lesbian Couples "Immigration" is a Dirty Word

      "I could feel my head start to pound and my mouth go dry when they told
      me there was nothing I could to do sponsor him," says Rob. "I am a
      citizen. I pay taxes. And it's just too late now. We're together. He's
      here...... I never thought I'd be harboring an illegal alien."

      It's inevitable. Every morning when we go to read our e-mail, we find
      that some unsuspecting soul is about to revisit the school of hard
      knocks for gay and lesbian couples. Sometimes the e-mail is from an
      American citizen who has fallen for a Latin lover. Other times it's from
      a foreign national who has just received his H-1B working visa for the
      job of a lifetime and wishes to know how to go about applying for his
      life-long partner to accompany him. The short answer is: He can't.

      Every year hundreds of thousands of people turn down jobs, suffer
      economic and emotional hardships, move out of the US, or become illegal
      aliens because US immigration laws refuse to acknowledge same sex
      relationships and the families that are increasingly based on them.

      "She's their other mom," says Dawn, a woman whose live-in lover has a
      soon-to-expire working visa. "If she goes my kids are going to ball for
      weeks. They'll never be the same."

      If the notion of "gay immigration" sounds funny to heterosexuals and
      others deeply involved in the immigration process, it's because even
      legally wed couples wait one to three years for the alien spouse to get
      a green card. Permanent residents are kept from their spouses and
      children for up to four years. But at least there is hope in site for
      heterosexuals, one of our forum posters points out.

      In most cases, that is true, unless the foreign spouse has a criminal
      record or the American citizen or permanent resident cannot provide
      financial support. In addition, those with serious communicable
      illnesses are barred and common law marriages are not recognized at all
      by the INS.

      The former poses a problem for HIV infected partners and the latter is
      the official INS excuse for why immigration based on same-sex marriages
      simply doesn't exist.

      "It's just not allowed, not for heterosexuals, not for homosexuals, not
      for anybody. It has nothing to do with sexual orientation," says Allan
      Whitte, who maintains that the US will never have an immigration
      category for domestic partners.

      But many other countries already do, including Canada, France and
      Australia. So much for the notion that the United States is the easiest
      of the popular countries to immigrate to. (Of course anyone familiar
      with the process in any capacity has already met with the reality).

      So what can a binational same-sex couple do to live together in the US?

      Most couples naturally look first at family sponsorship: If the foreign
      partner has immediate family in the US they can immigrate that way. The
      next most popular avenue is work sponsorship: H-1Bs and L visas are for
      those with degrees or the equivalent and who are in specialty or
      executive positions. H-2Bs are for skilled and unskilled workers and
      take far longer. (For Canadians there are slightly easier allowances and
      options.) Then too, those who have achieved international acclaim in
      their field may opt to self-petition as individuals of extraordinary
      ability, or, if they have a substantial amount of money, they can
      immigrate as investors. (For more information on these and other
      options, see our green card and visa section.)

      An alternative route is that of asylum. If the foreign partner comes
      from a country where homosexuals are politically or criminally
      persecuted, that individual just might qualify, but with growing
      awareness of this possible option, the number of applicants is
      increasing and it becomes more and more difficult to obtain.

      Of course, the majority of aspiring immigrants will not fall into any of
      these categories--and until and unless gay marriages are legally
      recognized--they will continue to be faced with some pretty bleak
      prospects. Nevertheless, progress has been made in this decade alone.

      Until 1991, homosexuality was grounds for exclusion from admission to
      the United States, because gays and lesbians were classified as "sexual
      deviants" under the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. The
      Immigration Act of 1990 saw triumph for gays and lesbians as they were
      removed from this category.

      That was the first round, hard won. Now for the second.

      Join the Debate in our Forum

      Of course, stay tuned for our upcoming stories on the challenges of
      family and marriage-based sponsorship.


      National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (NNIRR)
      310-8th St., Ste. 303
      Oakland, CA 94607
      510.465.1885 (fax)
      Visit us at www.nnirr.org

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