U.S. Immigration Reform: December 2007 Archives

Update below - 12/20/07 10:58 EST

From the website of Surviving Spouses Against Deportation:


Marlin Coats didn't hesitate to jump in the water to try to save two drowning teens caught in a riptide at San Francisco Beach Park.  He lost his life that Mother's Day in 2006, but because of his heroism those two teenagers survived.  So why is the U.S. now responding to Coats' ultimate sacrifice by deporting his wife Jacqueline Coats?

U.S. Army contractor Todd Engstrom of Illinois gave his life for his country when he was killed in Iraq, and now the federal government is telling his wife Diana she too must go.  And so must Dahianna Heard of Florida, whose husband Jeffrey Heard was shot in the head by insurgents in Iraq.  What will happen to their children?

Because of a flaw in the law, women and men who entered this country legally are facing deportation when their spouses die during the lengthy administrative visa process.  There are scores of these cases across the country affecting women, mothers and children.

The "widow penalty" is an obscure interpretation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) that puts widows or widowers of U.S. citizens at risk of deportation if they have not been married for at least two years and are waiting for an application for permanent residence (the "green card") to be approved.  I say it's an "interpretation" of the INA because several federal courts that have ruled on the issue have disagreed with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services' (USCIS) interpretation of the statute.  More on this below.

**contact your Senators and Congressional Representatives to end the widow penalty**

It was a lot of fun watching Kieth Olbermann lay the smackdown on Lou Dobbs for his complicity in hiring the same migrants that he rails against nightly.  Yave wrote a brilliant post on this, and Duke writes that the blogosphere was way ahead of Olbermann on this one.  Still, there was one part of Olbermann's monologue, quoted below, that bothered me a bit.

I'm proud to have another link in the pro-migrant blogroll, today.  T. Don Hutto is a blog "dedicated to providing information on the growing movement to shut down Hutto and prevent this model of immigrant detention from spreading nationally". 

The "Don Hutto Family Residential Facility", was the first prison designed specifically for immigrant families.  It is run by the Corrections Corporation of America, the U.S.'s largest for-profit corrections company.   If the thought of profiting from one of the largest prison populations in the world isn't sickening enough, check out the information the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has on the Hutto Detention Center.  The letter I've pasted here, from a detained child identified as Kevin to the Canadian Prime Minister, has haunted my dreams.  I will quote it below.

(Picture from the American Civil Liberties Union)
My favorite quote from today's NPR/Iowa Public Radio Democratic debate.  Senators Hillary Clinton (NY), Barack Obama (IL), Christopher Dodd (CT), Joseph Biden (DE), former Senators Mike Gravel (AK) and John Edwards (NC), and Representative Dennis Kucinich (OH) answered questions about Iran, China, and immigration.  If you missed it, check back for streaming and downloadable audio later this evening after 6 p.m. EST.

Due to the format of the debate, with each speaker introduced before he or she spoke, it was sometimes unclear who was speaking.  As I listened, I was also working, so once in a while a statement caught my attention, only to leave me frustrated as they moved on at the end of the statement without thanking the speaker by name.  This was, unfortunately, the case with the above quote.  Therefore, the candidate who made that statement will have to remain a mystery until I re-listen to the debate in the quiet of my home this evening, or until one of our readers posts the answer in comments.

UPDATE: I was ready to bet the farm that it was Kucinich who said this, but as it turns out, it was Joe Biden

Via Nezua comes word of a proposed reality TV game show show called "Who Wants to Marry a U.S. Citizen" that "aims to create televised matrimony between legal citizens and immigrants who have temporary visas."

The show's backers at Morusa Media hope to make a sort of love match between reality TV and a national obsession with immigration. But the producers make no promise that a marriage will occur or lead to U.S. citizenship.

That's partly because any marriage that resulted from a game show with marriage to a U.S. citizen as the prize would lead to a strong presumption that the marriage was entered into for the sole purpose of circumventing the country's immigration laws--hence, no green card.