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Access Washington – Weekly Immigration Update

New America Media, News Digest, Wendy Sefsaf Posted: Jun 23, 2008

Editor’s Note: NAM’s Access Washington Weekly Immigration Update is a column summarizing key developments in the immigration debate. This column is produced by New America Media’s Washington, D.C., office and is available in Spanish, Chinese and Korean.

Traducción al español

Supreme Court Grants Some Immigrants More Time

The Supreme Court, in Dada v. Mukasey, ruled 5-4 last week that foreigners who overstay their visas can remain in the country to seek legal status. The ruling will likely benefit those married to American citizens and also has set a precedent that gives leniency and more time to immigrants who are actively trying to adjust their legal status.

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GAO looking into Local Policing of Immigration

The House Homeland Security Committee has asked the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the investigative arm of Congress, to review the state and local enforcement of immigration law through the 287(g) program. Section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) allows state and local jurisdictions that enter into a memorandum of agreement with Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) to perform immigration enforcement-related duties.

According to the GAO, ICE is responsible for providing participating jurisdictions with relevant training, guidance and supervision. The GAO will examine 29 localities that have entered into 287(g) agreements and review the program's objectives and priorities and to what extent ICE has designed controls to govern implementation. They will also look at what resources ICE and participating jurisdictions provide to the program and what results are achieved.

Joan Friedland of the National Immigration Law Center noted that 287(g) hasn’t been scrutinized by outside auditors the way other federal initiatives to crack down on illegal immigration have, such as the federal E-Verify database that is designed to help companies check the legal work status of new employees. She said such rigorous examinations are important because, in the case of E-Verify, they exposed numerous shortcomings.

While the GAO reviews the program, ICE launches its new Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in South Carolina.

America’s Voice Launches Lou Dobbs for Governor Web Site

Immigrant advocacy group America's Voice has launched a spoof Web site that asks for input on what Dobbs’s campaign slogans should be if he runs for governor of New Jersey.

Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice, said the Web site will call attention to "Dobbs and pundits like him, who think they can stir-up waves of anti-immigrant hysteria and ride them all the way to the statehouse, the White House or the governor's mansion."

Some possible campaigns slogans listed on the site include “Build a Fence Around New Jersey” and “Deport the Statue of Liberty back to France.” Visitors to the site can submit their ideas -- in English only -- for a Dobbs campaign slogan contest.

Dobbs, who owns a 300-acre horse farm in New Jersey, reportedly denies that he plans to run for governor of the state.

"Let's hope he remains as far away from the governor's mansion as he does from good journalism" said Sharry.

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