Senator Marco Rubio of Florida is one of the Gang of Eight. He’s also a Republican and he’s taken a lot of criticism over pushing immigration reform. During the height of the immigration reform frenzy, Senator Rubio set up a really good website on immigration reform. The website has a news tab that provides links to news about immigration reform. However, the news tab hasn’t been updated since June. Since Senator Rubio has stopped updating the news page of his website about immigration reform, does he still care about immigration reform???
I’ve been enjoying the summer a little too much and I’ve fallen behind on my blogging. Here’s some of the things I should have been blogging about:
1. The Immigration bill – An immigration bill passed in the Senate, but appears to be going no where in the House of Representatives. House Republicans want to take a piece meal approach to immigration reform by passing several smaller immigration laws, rather than a single comprehensive immigration bill. House Republicans are also against a pathway to citizenship. It’s not clear at this point if there will be any immigration reform. For everyone who got excited about the Senate immigration bill, I am reminded of the School House Rock cartoon, I’m Just a Bill. Ultimately, the Senate immigration bill was just a bill. I have been getting calls from people asking about whether they would be covered by the “new” immigration law. I tell them that we don’t have a new immigration law – it’s just a bill and until we have an actual law, I cannot comment on whether anyone would benefit from it.
2. DOMA has been overturned! On June 26, 2013, the Supreme Court decided Windsor v. United States, which struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”). Windsor was not an immigration case. However, since DOMA was struck down, it can no longer be used to prevent same sex spouses from filing immigrant petitions. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service has announced that it is now accepting petitions filed on behalf of same sex spouses.
3. On June 29, 2013, I spoke at the AILA National Conference. I spoke on a panel entitled, “”Becoming an Effective Litigator: Making the Most of Your Client’s Day in Court.”
4. I’ve had some success stories the last two weeks. I had a client obtain adjustment of status. I had a client approved for naturalization. I had another client get her application for deferred action for childhood arrivals (“DACA”) approved.
Yesterday, it was in the news that because of the pending federal budget sequestration the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was releasing detainees. What ICE is doing is utilizing alternatives to detention such as supervised release and ankle bracelets. Today, ICE provided the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) with the following statement about the releases:
As fiscal uncertainty remains over the continuing resolution and possible sequestration, ICE has reviewed its detained population to ensure detention levels stay within ICE’s current budget. Over the last week, ICE has reviewed several hundred cases and placed these individuals on methods of supervision less costly than detention. All of these individuals remain in removal proceedings. Priority for detention remains on serious criminal offenders and other individuals who pose a significant threat to public safety.
Ultimately, the question to be asked is why were these people placed on these methods of supervision that are less costly than detention in the first place? Obviously, since ICE is doing this, it believes that it has the legal authority to do so. Thus, why detain non-dangerous people at tax payer expense when they can be subjected to less costly methods of supervision. Hopefully, someone at ICE will realize that placing non-dangerous immigrants facing deportation on supervised release, instead of detention, is something that should happen all the time and not just when there are budget problems.