Immigraton proposals would lead to harsh border enforcement in ohio
January 30, 2013 · Print This Article
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All eyes have been on immigration since the White House and Congress announced they would be working toward immigration reform and both Democratic and Republican Senators met last week and Monday released what is now a day is a show of rare bipartisanship.
The ad-hoc senate committee released a four page document proposing immigration reform, though Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill), admittedly said it was not much different from proposals in the past, it was a step in the right direction. Tuesday President Obama told the American people his plan of action to remedy the problem of illegal immigration and deal with those who are in the United States unlawfully. Obama released a fact sheet which focuses on four aspects of immigration reform.
1. Border Security 2. Harsher penalties for those who hire undocumented workers
3. Provide a way for illegal immigrants to earn citizenship 4. Streamline immigration
The 2010 Census shows Ohio’s population is slightly below 11,500,000 citizens and according to the Northern Ohio Data and Information Services based out of Cleveland State University, Ohio’s foreign born population is about 4.1 percent of the total state population, so though the demographic is not as huge as southwestern states, it is a sizable number.
These undocumented immigrants provide a reliable workforce and keep the state’s agricultural (amongst others) industry going. Both the President’s document and the Senate document express interest in providing a pathway for undocumented immigrants to become legal. Immigration attorney Farhad Sethna believes border security will be a sticking point and border security as a huge issue in Ohio.
“Many of my clients come from the turnpike”, said Sethna. “People don’t realize border security can ask for identification from anyone within 100 miles of the border.” And with Lake Erie stretching across much of northern Ohio, undocumented immigrants are susceptible to being pulled over and asked for their diver’s license without cause. “The border control maintains a substantial amount of people on the turnpike”, Sethna continued. “How does the border patrol know who to pull over? How do they make that determination”?
Sethna believes the Obama administration needs to focus their enforcement efforts on other crimes.
“They need to focus on drug trafficking, arms smuggling, fugitives, things of that sort,” he said. “[The Obama administration] has deported 400,000 each year but they’re low-lying fruit, these are the easy people, for the most part. They are not breaking any laws.”
Richard Herman, immigration attorney and author of Immigration Inc. Why Immigrant Entrepreneurs Are Driving the New Economy (and how they will save the American worker) agrees.
“The administration spent 18 billion dollars on immigration enforcement,” he said. “A lot of our nation’s energy is spent on arresting busboys and gardeners. They are misplaced priorities.”
Herman questioned the wisdom of dedicated more dollars on border security considering many in the country illegally came to the United States lawfully and stayed beyond their allowed time.
If immigration reform is ever passed, the GOP has said stronger border security will be essential to passage, meaning Ohio’s border may have even more patrol – spending more money safeguarding Lake Erie and driving along Ohio’s turnpike.
“How do we assess successful border security,” Herman asked. “Forty percent of the undocumented come into the country legally, they just overstayed their VISA. We need to change the conversation on immigration. Its really important that we humanize immigrants so we can get a clearer picture of who they are, they are our doctors, they are your neighbor.”
Below is the portion of the president’s proposal on border security as well as the portion of the bipartisan Senate proposal on border security
Continuing to Strengthen Border Security
- Strengthen border security and infrastructure. The President’s proposal strengthens and improves infrastructure at ports of entry, facilitates public-private partnerships aimed at increasing investment in foreign visitor processing, and continues supporting the use of technologies that help to secure the land and maritime borders of the United States.
- Combat transnational crime. The President’s proposal creates new criminal penalties dedicated to combating transnational criminal organizations that traffic in drugs, weapons, and money, and that smuggle people across the borders. It also expands the scope of current law to allow for the forfeiture of these organizations’ criminal tools and proceeds. Through this approach, we will bolster our efforts to deprive criminal enterprises, including those operating along the Southwest border, of their infrastructure and profits.
- Improve partnerships with border communities and law enforcement. The President’s proposal expands our ability to work with our cross-border law enforcement partners. Community trust and cooperation are keys to effective law enforcement. To this end, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will establish border community liaisons along the Southern and Northern borders to improve communication and collaboration with border communities, boost funding to tribal government partners to reduce illegal activity on tribal lands, and strengthen training on civil rights and civil liberties for DHS immigration officers.
- Crack down on criminal networks engaging in passport and visa fraud and human smuggling. The President’s proposal creates tough criminal penalties for trafficking in passports and immigration documents and schemes to defraud, including those who prey on vulnerable immigrants through notario fraud. It also strengthens penalties to combat human smuggling rings.
- Deporting Criminals. The President’s proposal expands smart enforcement efforts that target convicted criminals in federal or state correctional facilities, allowing us to remove them from the United States at the end of their sentences without re-entering our communities. At the same time, it protects those with a credible fear of returning to their home countries.
- Streamline removal of nonimmigrant national security and public safety threats. The President’s proposal creates a streamlined administrative removal process for people who overstay their visas and have been determined to be threats to national security and public safety.
- Improve our nation’s immigration courts. The President’s proposal invests in our immigration courts. By increasing the number of immigration judges and their staff, investing in training for court personnel, and improving access to legal information for immigrants, these reforms will improve court efficiency. It allows DHS to better focus its detention resources on public safety and national security threats by expanding alternatives to detention and reducing overall detention costs. It also provides greater protections for those least able to represent themselves.
Creating a Path to Citizenship for Unauthorized Immigrants Already Here
that is Contingent Upon Securing the Border and Combating Visa Overstays
Our legislation will provide a tough, fair, and practical roadmap to address the status of
unauthorized immigrants in the United States that is contingent upon our success in securing
our borders and addressing visa overstays.
To fulfill the basic governmental function of securing our borders, we will continue the
increased efforts of the Border Patrol by providing them with the latest technology,
infrastructure, and personnel needed to prevent, detect, and apprehend every unauthorized
Additionally, our legislation will increase the number of unmanned aerial vehicles and
surveillance equipment, improve radio interoperability and increase the number of agents at
and between ports of entry. The purpose is to substantially lower the number of successful
illegal border crossings while continuing to facilitate commerce.