Headlines: Immigration

President Obama readdressed DREAM Act legislation that would open legal pathways for young immigrants seeking permanent residency during a talk at the Chamizal National Memorial in El Paso, Texas this week. The bill, first introduced in 2001, was most recently blocked by a Senate filibuster in December, 2010. The President’s speech focused on the economic advantages of the bill which would simultaneously reduce the number of immigrants who enter illegally. Full transcript here.

The Associated Press has obtained details of an illegal immigration bill being considered by lawmakers this year that will target human smugglers and others who prey on illegal immigrants. However, the bill will do nothing to penalize employers who hire illegal workers. The measure also authorizes state and local law enforcement to recommend immigrants for certain types of visas if the immigrants report and aid in the investigation of illegal criminal activity.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada said Wednesday if the House passes legislation requiring employers to use E-Verify, an Internet-based, free program run by the U.S. government that determines whether a person is eligible to work in the U.S., the Senate could attach the DREAM Act to that bill when it gets to the Senate. Republicans want to require more employers to use E-Verify to make sure they hire people allowed to work in the U.S. While Reid says he would need to see the details of a House E-Verify bill, he promises that Democrats “are not drawing any lines in the sand.”

Today marks the three year anniversary of the raid on the Agriprocessors Inc. kosher slaughterhouse and meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa. The little town which had been a beacon of diversity and opportunity in rural Iowa was shattered. Click here for an interview with Pastor David Vasquez as he reflects on the raid’s long-term effects on the Postville community and on rural communities throughout the United States.

A federal judge in Utah on Tuesday temporarily barred a state law to curb illegal immigration from taking effect, saying he wanted to give both sides in the lawsuit more time to prepare their arguments. Last week, the  American Civil Liberties Union and the National Immigration Law Center filed a class-action lawsuit against the State of Utah seeking to block a law that gives police new powers to question people they stop about immigration status.

U.S./Mexico border officials and immigrant activists have recently identified the emerging trend of using cellphones during illegal border crossing. Since increased enforcement has made it difficult to enter the U.S. and in an effort to avoid stiff prison terms, so-called cybercoyotes are using cellphones to guide border-crossers from afar. Click here to read the NYTimes article.

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