President Obama's meeting with immigration reform leaders has yet again been postponed, and is now scheduled to take place on the week of the 22nd. The Hill presents the perspectives of disheartened activists, quoting one source to say, "It’s starting to feel like the guy who has your phone number and will never call you." Mercury News details the stakes of current immigration reform, setting a lighter tone with a statement from Angela Kelley, vice president at the Center for American Progress, on President Obama's attitude towards immigration reform: "So far there's been a serious flirtation but not a marriage proposal."
Washington Post reports that Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano proposed the Pass ID program in an effort to repeal the Real ID Act. Pass ID will eliminate the most costly element of its predecessor, namely the demand for a national database. However, it keeps other unsettling aspects of Real ID, including the requirement that states verify applicants' identities and legal status by checking federal immigration, Social Security and State Department databases. On the other side of the table, New York Senator Charles Shumer proposed a national worker identification card that will, in the Senator's words, "make it easy for employers to avoid undocumented workers, which will allow for tough sanctions against employers who break the law, which will lead to no jobs being available for illegal immigrants, which will stop illegal immigration." The proposal so far has earned the support of business groups while drawing criticism from labor activists and the ACLU.
The latest New York Times Editorial on immigration lauds Attorney General Eric Holder's efforts in reversing former Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey's ruling (or, as the editorial characterizes it, "mischief") that immigrants have no constitutional right to legal representation in deportation hearings. Mr. Holder's ruling is a positive step toward immigration reform, although the editorial notes that Mr. Holder's order "appears to leave Justice Department lawyers free to argue in deportation cases at the federal appeals court level that there is no constitutional right to effective lawyers for immigrants."
At a local level, San Francisco, one of the few cities that offers muncipal id cards for undocumented immigrants, is caught in conflict over a new law enforcement policy that would report minors with felony charges to the ICE for deportation regardless of whether they are ultimately charged. New York immigration groups, including Make the Road New York and the New York Immigration Coalition, participated in the recently-launched national Reform Immigration for American campaign, according to a report by Daily News.
Stay tuned, for upcoming news on the East Harlem Community Dialogue that took place this Monday, June 15, at Little Sisters of the Assumption.