Monday, April 2, 2012

Lamar Smith: Long On Criticism; Short On Solutions (?)

The Leftist immigration lawyer below accuses the GOP of bad faith  in their approach to a White House regulatory reform

But who is responsible for the bad faith?  When Obama releases tens of thousands of illegals even after they are caught, how can anyone have faith that he is honestly doing his best to enforce the laws he has sworn to uphold?  It is his actions that make all that he proposes automatically untrustworthy and worthy of rejection.  If you play a rough game, you've got to expect the other side to do likewise

If illegal immigration were under control the proposals might be reasonable and acceptable, but it is not under control.  As it is, they are just another way  of weakening the small amount of deterrence that still exists in American immigration practice

If Obama wants co-operation, why doesn't he start deporting ALL illegals who are apprehended and blow a large trumpet declaring that he is doing that?

Sometimes it's hard to tell whether Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) is chair of the House Judiciary Committee or the head of the "Just Say No To Any Immigration Solution" crowd.

As if on cue, Smith criticized a processing tweak -- proposed Friday by the Obama administration -- which will allow undocumented immigrants to remain in the U.S. while the Department of Homeland Security determines whether or not denial of their green card would cause extreme hardship to their U.S. citizen spouse or parent. Smith's predictable knee-jerk reaction included the same old tired claim that the administration was trying to pull an "end around" the immigration law. I expect Smith's restrictionist friends will soon chime in with a hearty chorus of "backdoor amnesty".

Smith should have read the proposed rule change before he opened his mouth. Under the law -- which, contrary to what Smith claims, would not change one bit under the administration's proposal -- undocumented husbands, wives, sons and daughters of U.S. citizens cannot apply for a green card in the U.S. Yet, when they leave the U.S. to get right with the immigration law, they are barred by statute from returning for up to 10 years -- kind of a legal "Catch-22".

Immigrants who face the unlawful presence bar can ask the government for a waiver if they can prove their U.S. citizen spouse or parent will suffer extreme hardship -- a very difficult standard to meet. Unfortunately, due to backlogs, the overseas waiver process takes months, sometimes even years. In the meantime immigrants remain stuck abroad, separated from their loved ones in the U.S. Over the years immigrants have been seriously injured, even murdered, while waiting in dangerous cities like Ciudad Juarez.

Lost in Smith's reflexive denunciation is that the rule change would do little more than allow an immigrant to file a waiver application in the U.S. before going abroad to apply for an immigrant visa. The rigors of the law have not been altered one bit: the applicant still must meet the exacting legal standard of proving his spouse or parent would suffer extreme hardship and, if the waiver is granted, the applicant still must leave the U.S. to apply for the immigrant visa abroad. Smith also fails to note that the administrative change will reduce backlogs at U.S. embassies, leading to more efficient government and smarter enforcement.

If Lamar Smith were truly interested in making the immigration system work for American families he would wholeheartedly support the administration's stateside waiver proposal. The proposal is far from perfect and needs several key adjustments, but it is a welcome step in the right direction. If implemented, it will keep American families safe and together, make visa processing more efficient and secure, and guard the rule of law. The nation deserves Congressional leaders who are committed to fixing America's broken immigration system, not politicians who offer little more than hot air.


Australia: Immigration detention time limits won't work, say conservatives

Opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison says capping the amount of time asylum seekers spend in detention will further complicate the system.

A federal parliamentary committee has urged the Government to put a 90-day limit on detaining asylum seekers.

It says asylum seekers who pass initial health, character and security checks should immediately get a bridging visa or be moved to community detention.

The committee's report says detaining people for longer than 90 days makes them vulnerable to serious mental health problems.

The Government has welcomed the report, but stopped short of making any promises on time limits, saying it is not always possible to process asylum seekers quickly.

And Mr Morrison says the Coalition does not think an arbitrary time limit is the answer.

"We don't have a problem with people being processed quickly," he told Insiders this morning.

"What we have a problem with is creating a regulatory standard or requirement that provides another form of appeal that further frustrates and complicates the system.

"By all means people should be processed in an expeditious manner, but to create further regulation around this I think only makes matters worse."

Mr Morrison says the Government would not have to worry about time limits if it had effective border protection policies.

A recent United Nations study showed the number of asylum seekers coming to Australia dropped by nine per cent over the past year.

In comparison there was a 20 per cent jump for the rest of the world.  But Mr Morrison says that can hardly be called success.

The parliamentary inquiry, which made more than 30 recommendations, has also called for the Immigration Minister to be stripped of their role as guardian of unaccompanied children in detention.

It says the move is needed to remove the perceived conflict of interest that exists in having the same person responsible for detaining asylum seekers.

The committee also wants spy agency ASIO to come under much greater scrutiny, including periodic reviews of adverse ASIO findings.

They recommended laws be amended to allow for the Administrative Appeals Tribunal to review ASIO's security assessments of asylum seekers.

The majority of the report was supported by Labor and Greens members of the committee, along with independent MP Rob Oakeshott.

But the Coalition has supported only 16 of the 31 recommendations and has issued a dissenting report.


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