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  1. #1
    Senior Member Brian503a's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    California or ground zero of the invasion

    Cities, states tackle illegal immigration on their own

    Cities, states tackle illegal immigration on their own

    Conflicting laws and a bitter divide emerge

    12:14 AM CDT on Saturday, August 26, 2006

    By DIANNE SOLÍS / The Dallas Morning News

    FARMERS BRANCH – This tidy Dallas suburb solicited European settlers through the Texas Emigration and Land Co. in the 1800s, but now it's debating how to control illegal immigration.

    Some Farmers Branch City Council members want to pass an ordinance that would discourage illegal immigrants from living and working in the city.

    Efforts by cities and states to crack down on illegal immigration are gaining traction across the country as an overhaul of the nation's immigration laws stalls in Congress.

    Now this city in the immigrant gateway of Texas may follow in the footsteps of Hazleton, Pa., which passed its controversial Illegal Immigration Relief Act last month.

    This year, municipalities have made at least three dozen attempts and state legislatures more than 550 to enact immigration policy on a patchwork basis.

    The proposals range from statutes that prohibit landlords from renting to illegal immigrants to ordinances that deny business permits to companies that employ illegal immigrants. But they also include measures that help illegal immigrants, such as funding for day labor sites.

    "Unless the federal government acts with a strong voice on this ... we will continue to have these post-hoc initiatives all over the states, and many will contradict each other," said Marcelo Suárez-Orozco, the co-director of immigration studies at New York University.

    The assorted laws and ordinances against illegal immigrants are raising legal challenges as a divided public weighs in on the issues.

    César Perales, president and general counsel at the Puerto Rican Education and Legal Defense Fund, believes that the ordinances – including the one recently adopted in Hazleton – can be overturned on the theory of pre-emption, which states that only the federal government can make immigration laws. Other legal tools include civil rights laws that prohibit national-origin discrimination, he said.

    His group, citing its civil rights mission, is suing to block Hazleton's ordinance and is tracking "copycat legislation."

    "It's scary," Mr. Perales said. "Every time we pick up a newspaper, we read about another Hazleton."

    Bonnie Gibson, a lawyer at employment law firm Littler Mendelson, said Hazleton copycats spell chaos for big employers.

    "If I'm a multistate employer and I have to now deal with laws by municipality by municipality, I'm going to say: "Puhleeze, help me. I can't deal with this.' "

    Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, won't directly criticize the grass-roots policymakers in her home state.

    But she does say immigration policy is "our responsibility" in the federal government and has introduced a bill that would offer work visas to many illegal immigrants. "I don't think we should take the onus off the federal government," she said.

    In Farmers Branch, the City Council is studying the matter and hasn't said if or when it might bring such an ordinance to a vote.

    Its potential phrasing would bar landlords from leasing to illegal immigrants and punish businesses that hire them.

    And it could include a declaration that English is the city's official language, a possibility that caught the attention of one federal agency.

    "Do you create language vigilantes by making people think they have to comply with some language ordinance?" asks Robert Canino, the managing attorney of the Dallas office of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

    "Any time there are English-only rules, we are going to look at it to see if it is discriminatory based on national origin and to see if there is a business justification for it."

    Many states are also taking action on illegal immigration, according to a tally kept by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

    For example, Colorado now prohibits state agencies from entering into contracts with businesses that knowingly employ illegal immigrants.

    While federal law has prohibited employers from knowingly hiring illegal immigrants since 1986, this state law also requires that the contractors participate in a government program that verifies Social Security numbers. That program, known as Basic Pilot, is open to employers nationally on a voluntary basis.

    At the same time, some state and local governments are taking steps that either directly or indirectly help illegal immigrants.

    In Vermont, a new law requires courts to advise defendants of immigration consequences when pleading guilty to criminal offenses. Those consequences include denial of U.S. citizenship or deportation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

    Some cities fund day labor sites, where illegal immigrants and U.S. citizens alike gather to seek work. Among them is Plano, which has operated a site since 1993 after businesses complained about men clustering around downtown and darting into traffic.

    About 200 people a day now use the site, where a lottery system helps keep order. The contractor must check the work documents of those hired, explains Bob Buffington, neighborhood services manager for the city of Plano.

    "It wasn't that we set out to do anything about legals or illegals," Mr. Buffington says. "This was the way we needed to solve a problem."

    A few years ago, Austin police led the nation in pushing for the acceptance of the Mexican consular identification card at banks so Mexican immigrants would get accounts, making them less a target for muggings.

    Just this month, El Paso Mayor John Cook held a public hearing to encourage lawmakers on Capitol Hill to pass comprehensive immigration reform. A resolution was drafted, saying that enforcement of federal immigration laws is "neither a state nor local responsibility."

    That's why many took note of Farmers Branch and are watching to see if the City Council will pass an ordinance similar to Hazleton's.

    Farmers Branch dates to the 1840s, when the first empresarios were given land contracts. Empresarios take their name from contract law with even deeper roots, when the area was part of Mexico.

    Today, with one-fourth of the city foreign-born, many businesses and churches feature Chinese lettering and Spanish-language signs such as Tijera Magica, or Magic Scissors, and Panchita's Bodas, or Frannie's Weddings.

    Maria Mancilla manages an apartment complex with many Latino families and said it would be difficult for her to reject an immigrant family that's in the U.S. illegally.

    Besides, many families are of mixed status, with some family members here illegally and others who are not, she noted.

    There are anti-discrimination laws to contend with, too, she said, listing several.

    "Immigrants are the most punctual ones with their rent," Ms. Mancilla said. "And they respect property rights, too."

    When Farmers Branch resident Thomas Bohmier heard of the potential for a Hazleton copycat ordinance, he said: "Wow. It's about time."

    He said he has nothing against Hispanics, but the influx of Spanish-speaking illegal immigrants into the schools is causing too much disruption. His third-grade son suffered, and that's why he recently transferred the boy to a school with fewer immigrants.

    The possibility that some of these children might be the U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants doesn't mute his views. "If the parent is here illegally, they need to go back to where they came from," said Mr. Bohmier, a father of three.


    Here's a look at the types of state laws passed this year that concern illegal immigrants:

    Employment: Nine states enacted bills. They range from Colorado, which requires all contractors to participate in the federal government's voluntary program to check Social Security numbers, to Louisiana, which allows any state agency or department to conduct an investigation of a contractor's hiring policies if unauthorized immigrants are found.

    Law enforcement: Five states enacted bills. They include Oklahoma, which requires that all police and peace officers prove U.S. citizenship or legal immigration status before they are certified as officers.

    Legal services/assistance: Four states enacted legislation, all assisting the immigrant. Among them is Kansas, which requires that notaries public advertise that they are not authorized to practice law or give advice as immigration lawyers. In many Latin American countries, notarios are trained lawyers.

    Trafficking/smuggling: Eight states passed laws against smuggling or human trafficking

    into forced labor. Mississippi has a tough anti-trafficking law that includes a possible prison sentence of up to 20 years.

    ID/driver's licenses: Five states have laws. South Carolina mandates that an individual is guilty of fraud if he uses another person's personal information, such as a Social Security card, to gain employment.

    Gun permits: Three states passed laws. They include Virginia, which denies anyone unlawfully in the U.S. permission to obtain a handgun permit.
    Support our FIGHT AGAINST illegal immigration & Amnesty by joining our E-mail Alerts at

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    North Carolina
    "If I'm a multistate employer and I have to now deal with laws by municipality by municipality, I'm going to say: "Puhleeze, help me. I can't deal with this.' "
    There would be no problem if the "multistate employer" didn't hire illegals in the first place.
    Join our efforts to Secure America's Borders and End Illegal Immigration by Joining ALIPAC's E-Mail Alerts network (CLICK HERE)

  3. #3
    Senior Member sippy's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Salt Lake City, UT
    "Immigrants are the most punctual ones with their rent," Ms. Mancilla said. "And they respect property rights, too."
    Maybe in never never land they respect property rights. But I'm sure soon Peter Pan will have to deal w/ illegals too.

    "Any time there are English-only rules, we are going to look at it to see if it is discriminatory based on national origin and to see if there is a business justification for it."
    So how is wanting our national language of English discriminatory? If we tried to pass English only laws in Mexico, we would be the minority screaming disciminatory!
    "Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting the same results is the definition of insanity. " Albert Einstein.

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