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Editorial - SB 590: An Arizona-style invitation for litigation

March 16, 2011
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Indiana Lawyer Editorial

By Angela D. Adams

angela adams Adams

The past weeks have brought heated debate about immigration policy to our state. The Indiana General Assembly is currently considering various anti-immigrant bills. Among them is Senate Bill 590, modeled after Arizona’s immigration law. Currently being challenged in Federal District Court on constitutional grounds, Arizona’s law has invited much criticism and proved costly to the state’s economy. Indiana should not be next in line.

Pursuant to Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, regulation of immigration is a power exclusively granted to the federal government. Allowing states to set their own immigration policies violates the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution.

Immigration laws and ordinances passed by states and municipalities have led to costly litigation battles. Most have been enjoined or invalidated, or they are currently pending in court. Arizona’s 2007 employer sanctions law, which was upheld by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, is currently pending before the U.S. Supreme Court. Ordinances penalizing renting to or employing undocumented immigrants were struck down as unconstitutional in Hazelton, Pa., repealed in Riverside, N.J., and suspended in Fremont, Neb. A housing ordinance ruled unconstitutional in Farmers Branch, Texas, is currently under appeal. In Valley Park, Mo., a housing ordinance was blocked and an employment ordinance was upheld, but the forthcoming decision in Arizona 2007 calls this ordinance into question. Taxpayers bear the burden of these exorbitant litigation costs.

States are frustrated because the federal government has failed to fix our broken immigration system. Often overlooked are the reasons why the immigration system is broken. Why can’t undocumented immigrants just get legal?

Most undocumented immigrants would prefer to have lawful status. However, for the vast majority of those who have come to the U.S. without inspection or overstayed their visas, this is not an option. Backlogs for family-based permanent immigration preference categories can be anywhere from five to 20 years. Employment-based permanent immigration categories often take five to seven years. These backlogs are the result of a quota system that is outdated and does not reflect the current demand for labor.

Those who entered without inspection or overstayed their visas are ineligible for adjustment of status in the U.S. and must apply at the consulate abroad. Upon departure from the U.S., they face additional obstacles depending on how long they have been in the U.S. unlawfully. Accumulation of 180 days of unlawful presence in the U.S. triggers a three-year bar; one year of unlawful presence triggers a 10-year bar. The three- or 10-year bar can only be waived by demonstrating that a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse or parent would suffer “extreme hardship” if the applicant could not return to the U.S. Those without a qualifying family relative are ineligible for the waiver of the three- and 10-year bars, and thus are effectively foreclosed from obtaining any lawful immigration status abroad. In plain terms, they can’t stay and they can’t go.

Others may be in administrative removal (deportation) proceedings awaiting a hearing for many months or even years. Only an immigration judge can decide whether someone is removable, and in many cases the respondent may be eligible for certain types of relief which can only be sought in removal proceedings. Even if local police arrest every undocumented person in the state, it is still ultimately up to the federal government to charge them, put them in proceedings, and, if necessary, deport them.

The decision to stay or go is often a personal and difficult one. Many immigrants are part of mixed-status families where some members have lawful status and others do not. For children brought to the U.S. at a young age through no fault of their own, Indiana may be the only home they have ever known. Our current immigration laws often lead to family separation and do not allow for families to be reunified in a timely manner.

State anti-immigrant proposals like Indiana’s SB 590 will not solve the problems of our federal immigration system. However, there is a way that we can contribute positively to the immigration debate. Many government officials, attorneys, businesses, social service providers, faith-based leaders, and other concerned Hoosiers have signed on to the Indiana Compact, a statement of five principles to guide rational debate on immigration policy in Indiana. The Indiana Compact declares that immigration is a federal issue; that law enforcement should focus on crimes; that strong families are the foundation of successful communities; that Indiana should be a welcoming state; and that the way we treat immigrants says more about us than it does about them. See www.indianacompact.com.

As attorneys, we have a duty to challenge the status quo, urge our government officials to lead efforts to strengthen and reform federal laws, and uphold the U.S. Constitution. I invite you to join in the discussion.•

__________

Angela D. Adams is an attorney with the law firm of Lewis & Kappes concentrating on immigration matters. She is board president of the Immigrant Welcome Center, chapter secretary for the American Immigration Lawyers Association, and on the steering committee for the Alliance for Immigration Reform in Indiana. The opinions expressed in this column are the author’s.

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  • CuteAnjeli
    Really appreciate this post. It’s hard to sort the good from the bad sometimes, but I think you’ve nailed it. send flower lebanon || send flowers ireland
  • ...
    know nothing indeed..
  • Know nothing
    Its always a safe position for lawyers to advocate the pro immigration position. Its American as apple pie since the days when Mr Lincoln press ganged Irish immigrants into his Civil War right off the boat. Does anybody care about the natives? Well some representatives get it and they will win votes while a lot of hand wringing happens in the meantime.
    • Good Article
      Good job Angela! That's an excellent article. Very informative, realistic point of views and good reasoning. I compliment you for that.
      Renny

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    1. Have been seeing this wonderful physician for a few years and was one of his patients who told him about what we were being told at CVS. Multiple ones. This was a witch hunt and they shold be ashamed of how patients were treated. Most of all, CVS should be ashamed for what they put this physician through. So thankful he fought back. His office is no "pill mill'. He does drug testing multiple times a year and sees patients a minimum of four times a year.

    2. Brian W, I fear I have not been sufficiently entertaining to bring you back. Here is a real laugh track that just might do it. When one is grabbed by the scruff of his worldview and made to choose between his Confession and his profession ... it is a not a hard choice, given the Confession affects eternity. But then comes the hardship in this world. Imagine how often I hear taunts like yours ... "what, you could not even pass character and fitness after they let you sit and pass their bar exam ... dude, there must really be something wrong with you!" Even one of the Bishop's foremost courtiers said that, when explaining why the RCC refused to stand with me. You want entertaining? How about watching your personal economy crash while you have a wife and five kids to clothe and feed. And you can't because you cannot work, because those demanding you cast off your Confession to be allowed into "their" profession have all the control. And you know that they are wrong, dead wrong, and that even the professional code itself allows your Faithful stand, to wit: "A lawyer may refuse to comply with an obligation imposed by law upon a good faith belief that no valid obligation exists. The provisions of Rule 1.2(d) concerning a good faith challenge to the validity, scope, meaning or application of the law apply to challenges of legal regulation of the practice of law." YET YOU ARE A NONPERSON before the BLE, and will not be heard on your rights or their duties to the law -- you are under tyranny, not law. And so they win in this world, you lose, and you lose even your belief in the rule of law, and demoralization joins poverty, and very troubling thoughts impeaching self worth rush in to fill the void where your career once lived. Thoughts you did not think possible. You find yourself a failure ... in your profession, in your support of your family, in the mirror. And there is little to keep hope alive, because tyranny rules so firmly and none, not the church, not the NGO's, none truly give a damn. Not even a new court, who pay such lip service to justice and ancient role models. You want entertainment? Well if you are on the side of the courtiers running the system that has crushed me, as I suspect you are, then Orwell must be a real riot: "There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always — do not forget this, Winston — always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever." I never thought they would win, I always thought that at the end of the day the rule of law would prevail. Yes, the rule of man's law. Instead power prevailed, so many rules broken by the system to break me. It took years, but, finally, the end that Dr Bowman predicted is upon me, the end that she advised the BLE to take to break me. Ironically, that is the one thing in her far left of center report that the BLE (after stamping, in red ink, on Jan 22) is uninterested in, as that the BLE and ADA office that used the federal statute as a sword now refuses to even dialogue on her dire prediction as to my fate. "C'est la vie" Entertaining enough for you, status quo defender?

    3. Low energy. Next!

    4. Had William Pryor made such provocative statements as a candidate for the Indiana bar he could have been blackballed as I have documented elsewhere on this ezine. That would have solved this huuuge problem for the Left and abortion industry the good old boy (and even girl) Indiana way. Note that Diane Sykes could have made a huuge difference, but she chose to look away like most all jurists who should certainly recognize a blatantly unconstitutional system when filed on their docket. See footnotes 1 & 2 here: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html Sykes and Kanne could have applied a well established exception to Rooker Feldman, but instead seemingly decided that was not available to conservative whistleblowers, it would seem. Just a loss and two nice footnotes to numb the pain. A few short years later Sykes ruled the very opposite on the RF question, just as she had ruled the very opposite on RF a few short years before. Indy and the abortion industry wanted me on the ground ... they got it. Thank God Alabama is not so corrupted! MAGA!!!

    5. OK, take notice. Those wondering just how corrupt the Indiana system is can see the picture in this post. Attorney Donald James did not criticize any judges, he merely, it would seem, caused some clients to file against him and then ignored his own defense. James thus disrespected the system via ignoring all and was also ordered to reimburse the commission $525.88 for the costs of prosecuting the first case against him. Yes, nearly $526 for all the costs, the state having proved it all. Ouch, right? Now consider whistleblower and constitutionalist and citizen journalist Paul Ogden who criticized a judge, defended himself in such a professional fashion as to have half the case against him thrown out by the ISC and was then handed a career ending $10,000 bill as "half the costs" of the state crucifying him. http://www.theindianalawyer.com/ogden-quitting-law-citing-high-disciplinary-fine/PARAMS/article/35323 THE TAKEAWAY MESSAGE for any who have ears to hear ... resist Star Chamber and pay with your career ... welcome to the Indiana system of (cough) justice.

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