This week, law enforcement officials from around the country (Iowa, Virginia and California) came forward to denounce enforcing federal immigration laws, noting that immigrants’ fear of deportation is hindering efforts to solve crimes. In the same vein, top candidates for the Mayor’s office in Morristown, New Jersey, all said in a forum this week that they would abandon the previous mayor’s 287(g) agreement. Officials are clearly waking up to the idea that immigration enforcement is a federal responsibility and dwindling local budgets do not allow for state and local agencies to carry this additional burden at the cost of their communities.
Also this week a CNN poll highlighted the public’s desire for comprehensive immigration reform. The poll found that ¾ of those questioned want to see “illegal” immigration decreased and roughly 60% do not support a deport-them-all approach—in other words let’s keep them here, but get them legal.
On its way to the President for his signature is a conference report accompanying the FY 2010 Homeland Security spending bill (H.R. 2892), which is long on common sense and short on anti-immigrant sentiment. The final version was stripped of provisions for a permanent re-authorization of E-Verify (instead, Congress authorized a three-year extension of the current voluntary program), eliminates the reinstatement of the no-match program and denies funding for the completion of 700 miles of fencing to nowhere along the Southern border.
The conference report also includes funding for an $11 million immigrant integration initiative, requested by President Obama. The initiative seeks to establish a new Immigrant Integration program in the Office of Citizenship at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Also of note, the “widow penalty” was brought to an end. Provisions in the bill will allow widows of fallen American soldiers to complete their immigration proceedings and naturalize.
Finally, the Politico reports that today Senator Ted Kennedy’s office will close and his photos and mementos will be sent to the JFK Library. This office holds a lot of history—including his long fight for immigration reform. The Politico writes:
Kennedy’s posh hideaway is seen as the most coveted in the Senate, with its grand views of the National Mall, Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument. And it was another place to bond and make deals. As a small group of negotiators attempted to broker a deal in the heat of the 2007 immigration debate, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) recalled how Kennedy called a “timeout” because “everybody was at each other’s throats.” He asked Graham to return to his hideaway, where Kennedy explained to him why he equated the immigration bill with the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964—and showed him memorabilia of the Kennedy family.