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April 1, 2014 2

Anti-Immigrant Movement Pushes State Strategies In 2014

While the push for immi­gra­tion reform at the fed­eral level is cur­rently at a stand­still, the immi­gra­tion debate at the state and local level is in high gear. Con­tin­u­ing the trend of the past few years, law­mak­ers are intro­duc­ing large num­bers of pro-immigrant leg­is­la­tion in states around the country.dc-march-for-jobs-380

In response, the anti-immigrant move­ment is imple­ment­ing a multi-pronged strat­egy at the state and local level with sev­eral key goals in mind.  These include attempts to block leg­is­la­tion at the state level grant­ing in-state tuition to qual­i­fied stu­dents, as well as driver’s licenses and other pub­lic ben­e­fits to Deferred Action for Child­hood Arrivals (DACA) recip­i­ents. In June 2012, Pres­i­dent Obama issued the DACA exec­u­tive order, which allows some eli­gi­ble undoc­u­mented youth who were not born in the U.S. but who were brought to the coun­try at a young age to apply for tem­po­rary work autho­riza­tion, and calls for ICE agents to refrain from deport­ing them.

The anti-immigrant move­ment is also going beyond try­ing to pre­vent pro-immigrant leg­is­la­tion. Activists in the move­ment are attempt­ing to get restric­tive laws and poli­cies on the books such as greater voter reg­is­tra­tion restric­tions in the form of voter ID require­ments and English-only laws at the state and local level.

Please see “Anti-Immigrant Move­ment Imple­ments Nativist State Strate­gies in 2014” for more information.

 


El movimiento anti-inmigrante pro­mueve las estrate­gias estatales en 2014

Mien­tras que el impulso a la reforma migra­to­ria a nivel fed­eral está actual­mente fre­nado, el debate sobre la inmi­gración en el nivel local y estatal está en plena mar­cha. Con­tin­uando la ten­den­cia de los últi­mos años, los leg­is­ladores están intro­duciendo numerosas leyes en favor de los inmi­grantes en esta­dos de  todo el país.

En respuesta, el movimiento anti-inmigrante está imple­men­tando una estrate­gia mul­ti­facética a nivel estatal y local con var­ios obje­tivos en mente.  Estos incluyen inten­tos para blo­quear leyes a nivel estatal con­ce­di­endo tar­i­fas de matrícula estatal a estu­di­antes cal­i­fi­ca­dos, así como licen­cias de con­ducir y otros ben­efi­cios públi­cos a quienes cumplen los req­ui­si­tos del Deferred Action for Child­hood Arrivals (Aplaza­miento de Acciones con­tra Menores)(DACA). En junio de 2012, el Pres­i­dente Obama emi­tió la orden ejec­u­tiva DACA que per­mite a algunos jóvenes indoc­u­men­ta­dos que no nacieron en Esta­dos Unidos pero lle­garon al país a una edad tem­prana solic­i­tar per­miso de tra­bajo tem­po­ral  y pide a los agentes del ICE  que se absten­gan de deportarlos .

El movimiento anti-inmigrante tam­bién va más allá al tratar de evi­tar la leg­is­lación pro-inmigrantes. Los activis­tas del movimiento inten­tan imple­men­tar leyes y políti­cas restric­ti­vas tales como may­ores restric­ciones en la inscrip­ción de votantes en forma de req­ui­si­tos de iden­ti­fi­cación de votantes y leyes para que se util­ice úni­ca­mente el inglés a nivel local y estatal.

Para mayor infor­ma­ción, por favor con­sulte “Anti-Immigrant Move­ment Imple­ments Nativist State Strate­gies in 2014”.

 

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January 17, 2014 1

Momentous Times For Voting Rights

Every year Mar­tin Luther King, Jr. Day pro­vides a time to reflect on how far we have come in the quest for civil rights and how much more we have to do.  Two momen­tous devel­op­ments in vot­ing rights law give us rea­son to hope that 2014 will be a good year for ensur­ing that, nearly 50 years after the pas­sage of the Vot­ing Rights Act of 1965 (VRA), all Amer­i­cans can exer­cise their fun­da­men­tal right to vote.

Yes­ter­day, mem­bers of Con­gress set aside their par­ti­san dif­fer­ences and intro­duced cru­cial new leg­is­la­tion to fix the gap­ing hole in the VRA cre­ated by the Supreme Court’s rul­ing last year in Shelby County v. Holdermlk-voting-rights-adlIn June the Supreme Court struck down the part of the law that deter­mined which states and local­i­ties with a his­tory of dis­crim­i­na­tory vot­ing prac­tices would have to “pre-clear” their laws with the fed­eral gov­ern­ment, essen­tially gut­ting the heart of the leg­is­la­tion.  In the 5–4 opin­ion Chief Jus­tice Roberts said that “Con­gress may draft another for­mula based on cur­rent conditions.” 

Con­gress heard that call.  The Vot­ing Rights Amend­ment Act of 2014 (H.R. 3899/S. 1945) cre­ates a new for­mula to deter­mine which juris­dic­tions must pre-clear their laws going for­ward.  It also strength­ens courts’ abil­i­ties to mon­i­tor local­i­ties that imple­ment dis­crim­i­na­tory vot­ing laws, makes it eas­ier for vot­ers to spot vot­ing rights vio­la­tions, and reduces hur­dles to fix­ing dis­crim­i­na­tory vot­ing laws.  The bill is not per­fect, but it pro­vides a very good start­ing point for ensur­ing that all Amer­i­cans will be able to make their voices heard in the demo­c­ra­tic process.  ADL looks for­ward to work­ing with mem­bers of Con­gress to strengthen the bill even fur­ther, and to pass­ing mean­ing­ful reform.

In another vic­tory for vot­ing rights, today a judge in Penn­syl­va­nia, in a case called Apple­white v. Com­mon­wealth of Penn­syl­va­nia, struck down the state’s law requir­ing vot­ers to show one of an enu­mer­ated list of government-issued photo iden­ti­fi­ca­tion to be able to vote.  Rec­og­niz­ing that “the over­whelm­ing evi­dence reflects that there are hun­dreds of thou­sands of qual­i­fied vot­ers who lack com­pli­ant ID,” and that “dis­en­fran­chis­ing vot­ers through no fault of the voter him­self is plainly uncon­sti­tu­tional,” the judge struck down the voter ID law.  He con­cluded that “vot­ing laws are designed to assure a free and fair elec­tion; the Voter ID Law does not fur­ther this goal.”  Stud­ies have con­sis­tently shown that voter ID laws, like the one struck down today in Penn­syl­va­nia, dis­pro­por­tion­ately impact minor­ity, low income, elderly, and young vot­ers.   Today’s rul­ing clears the way for more cit­i­zens to exer­cise their fun­da­men­tal right to vote.

Days before we cel­e­brate MLK Day we are heart­ened to know that Dr. King’s legacy of fight­ing for civil rights and equal­ity for all lives on.  Dr. King once famously said that “the arc of the moral uni­verse is long but it bends towards jus­tice.”  Over the last two days we have taken two steps for­ward on that arc, get­ting closer to a day when all Amer­i­cans will be able to exer­cise their right to vote, free of dis­crim­i­na­tory hurdles.

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November 9, 2012 0

Anti-Muslim and Anti-Immigrant Speakers to Appear at Religious Right Conference in Dallas

Kris Kobach

The “Pro­Fam­ily Leg­isla­tive Net­work Con­fer­ence,” which will be held in Dal­las, Texas, next week­end, will fea­ture one speaker with an anti-immigrant agenda, and a sec­ond who has vil­i­fied Mus­lims. Anti-immigrant lawyer Kris Kobach will report­edly speak on “Pre­serv­ing the Sanc­tity of Our Elec­tions: How to Stop Voter Fraud,” and Lt. Gen. William Boykin, who has a his­tory of mak­ing anti-Muslim state­ments, will deliver a pre­sen­ta­tion titled “Never Surrender.”

The con­fer­ence is being orga­nized by Wall­Builders, an Aledo, Texas-based orga­ni­za­tion that pro­motes the idea that the United States was founded on Chris­t­ian pre­cepts. Their con­fer­ence, designed for state leg­is­la­tors from around the coun­try, will address cur­rent pub­lic pol­icy issues “in a man­ner that hon­ors our Judeo-Christian her­itage and the vision of our Found­ing Fathers.”

Kobach, the Sec­re­tary of State of Kansas, has drafted some of the harsh­est anti-immigrant laws in the nation. Kobach and the broader anti-immigrant move­ment often use alle­ga­tions of voter fraud as a jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for attempt­ing to pass voter-ID laws in states around the coun­try. Though the anti-immigrant groups claim that non-citizens are vot­ing in U.S. elec­tions, there is lit­tle to no evi­dence to sup­port those asser­tions, and the voter-ID laws passed in the name of defend­ing against voter fraud dis­pro­por­tion­ately affect minorities.

Boykin, the for­mer U.S. Deputy Under Sec­re­tary of Defense for Intel­li­gence, is noto­ri­ous for mak­ing con­tro­ver­sial state­ments about Mus­lims, often voic­ing the con­spir­acy the­ory that the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood is infil­trat­ing the U.S. gov­ern­ment. Boykin once stated that Islam “is not just a reli­gion, it is a total­i­tar­ian way of life.” He went on to say that Islam “should not be pro­tected under the First Amend­ment, par­tic­u­larly given that those fol­low­ing the dic­tates of the Quran are under an oblig­a­tion to destroy our Con­sti­tu­tion and to replace it with Shariah law.”

Over the past few years, the issues of immi­gra­tion and Islam are increas­ingly becom­ing impor­tant top­ics of dis­cus­sion at con­ser­v­a­tive and reli­gious right gath­er­ings such as the Con­ser­v­a­tive Polit­i­cal Action Con­fer­ence and the Value Vot­ers Sum­mit. Kobach and Boykin’s planned appear­ances at the Pro­Fam­ily Leg­isla­tive Net­work Con­fer­ence are just the lat­est exam­ple of this trend.

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