User-agent: * Allow: / Legal news, political opinion, Satire, and lawyer thinking by Tim Paynter, Attorney at Law: 2011-01-02

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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Republicans Attack Immigrant Youth

Yesterday, State law makers met in Washington DC with the express purpose of attacking children of undoucmented workers.  The result was a nasty display from those who have everything telling those who have nothing their status as “nothingness” would become even worse.  We are in a tragic fight in our country between the haves and the have nots.  The Republican Party of my youth was never a party of have-not.  Rather, it was a party of opportunity.  Odd, what the winds of time bring about.

This article originally was published as Lawmakers Attack 14th Amendment, Create Caste System on Blogcritics, by Tim Paynter

State Republican lawmakers from Georgia, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma and South Carolina met in Washington DC Wednesday to announce their plan to create a new class of citizen called a “State Citizen” according to Reuters.  A State Citizen is a person born to undocumented immigrants while in the US and who would be denied citizenship in derrivation to the 14th Amendment. The child would be issued a different type of birth certificate and would be refused access to various state services, presumably health care and education. Eventually, the State Citizen would be deported.

Colorado activists protest Secure Communities, the melding of federal and state data bases including ICE and which would be used to identify State Citizens in many cases.

The question the legislators failed to answer is, deported to where? The Republican legislators who propose the law define a State Citizen as a person “Who owes no allegiance to any foreign sovereignty, or a child without citizenship or nationality in any foreign country” reports AJC of Atlanta, Georgia.  If the child owes no citizenship to another country then no country would be obligated to take him as one of their own. That includes the country of his birth parents.

For example, a child born in the US to undocumented parents from Mexico would be a State Citizen of the United States.  Mexico would likely refuse to accept the child into their country.  That would leave the person stranded eternally in the US, either as a prisoner in one of the blossoming prisons for profit used by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or free on the streets with no access to basic services or even a job.

With no means of legal support, no education and no options open, the State Citizen would be forced into the underground labor market.  Eventually, the US would be forced to spend billions building new prisons to house what heretofore were US lawful citizens by birthright.  These citizens currently live productive, tax paying lives.

State Citizens who escape incarceration or deportation would belong to a lower caste of citizens, as is common in some third world countries.  Insuring all people are treated equally is part of the American principle of freedom.  The foundation for the battle cry, "No taxation without representation" happened during the Boston Tea Party.


Viet Nam Vet To Be Deported 

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Various countries often refuse to accept their citizens especially if they have a criminal record, including China and Cuba.  At the very least, the proposed law would leave criminal aliens in the united states.  In the past, ICE has incarcerated alien criminals with non-violent offenses for life when a country refused to accept them.

The group of lawmakers who proposed the changes to the 14th Amendment call themselves State Legislators for Legal Immigration including Sen. Jack Murphy (R-GA).  Their objective is to force the Supreme Court to review the current interpretation of the 14th Amendment.

"I feel that the birthright citizenship issue must not be taken lightly and loopholes that allow for individuals to unlawfully remain in our country and take advantage of valuable taxpayer resources must be closed,” said Sen. Murphy who co-chairs a study committee on immigration. “Members of our committee must begin to look at legislation that will close these loopholes in Georgia and protect our citizens.” AJC reports.

    Dream Act Poster

The State lawmakers announced their plan after the Republicans in the US Senate defeated the Dream Act during the lame duck session.  The Dream Act would have allowed students of undocumented immigrants to go to college or serve in the military.  After paying a fine which would have added billions to the treasury and after a ten year wait, the students could petition to become permanent residents. 

Republicans also refused to vote on the Start Treaty and the gays in the military issue until Democrats agreed to extend unfunded tax cuts to millionaires, giving each millionaire an extra $139,000 in spendable funds.   The law makers who proposed the change to the 14th Amendment will benefit from the tax cut and resent granting public services to citizen children of undocumented immigrants.

The battle over the 14th Amendment has brought together an unusual alliance of civil rights groups including the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People which have sometimes been at odds on the issue of immigration.  The new coalition calls itself Americans for Constitutional Citizenship. The coalition labeled the Republican proposals “unconstitutional, un-American and divisive”, according to AJC.

“For the first time since the end of the Civil War, these legislators want to pass state laws that would create two tiers of citizens.  A modern-day caste system, with potentially of millions of natural-born Americans being treated as somehow less than entitled to the equal protection of the laws that our nation has struggled so hard to guarantee,” Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, was quoted as saying.

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Whether or not you like the view expressed, it is a clear analysis of what happens when a country refuses to grant birth certificates to those born in their land.  Please “like” it on facebook, leave your comments for us to ponder and pass it on to your favorite politico.  We need a good discussion but how can that happen without everyone having the same information?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Manuel Valenzuela Viet Nam Vet Fights Deportation

 This article originally appeared Viet-nam-vet-valenzuela-continues-in deportation on technocrati

 While immigrant’s rights groups have been protesting for comprehensive immigration reform and the Dream Act, a travesty of justice has been taking place in a silent corner of the immigrant community. Unbeknownst to most, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Administration (ICE) has been busy deporting veterans.

The most recent victim of an “Order For Removal” is Manuel Valenzuela who survived another round in the government’s effort to deport him today. Valenzuela appeared in Denver Immigration Court dressed in a tightly fitting Marine Corp uniform. His continued fight was placed on the docket for September of 2012 in endless legal wrangling perhaps even the judge did not understand.

“Is Mariela Sogastume representing you?” the judge asked.

“Yes, Sir!” replied Valenzuela.

You could not help but notice this was not the ordinary “Yas, your honor” reply. In fact, Valenzuela responded to the judge as if he were summoned by the general. If you didn’t get the point with the uniform, the manner and directness of his reply screamed “I am a veteran!”

Yes, the uniform was tightly fitting. What do you expect after being out of the service for over 25 years? Yep. Manuel not only is a veteran, he is a Viet Nam veteran. He is the same guy who volunteered for service when an entire generation was seeking refuge in college. They called it "deferment" in those days.  The idea was to go to school for so long that the war would be over before the student could graduate.

Maybe something good came out of Nam after all. Thousands of not-so-studious youths got multiple degrees in perfectly useless things like geology while waiting for others to get the dirty work over with, or die trying. Lots of soldiers died trying.

Needless to say, as men bled to death in Southeast Asian rice paddies, and a nation started singing Kum Ba Yah, Manuel was facing Viet Cong resistance flying rescue missions into mainland hot zones and pulling other soldiers out of harms way. These were the days when VC commandants considered soldiers more expendable than bullets because they had a lot more manpower than gun powder, and they had plenty of both!

The news was all about “body counts” and we are not talking about how many hippies you can stick into a VW bug. This was a guerilla war of attrition in which uniforms were not always worn and the enemy spy was flashing a smile at you during the day because he planned to come back and gut you after dark.

One of the reasons why deporting of veterans has remained so quiet is most of them don’t consider themselves immigrants. Valenzuela came here as a little tike, the child of a US citizen born in New Mexico. Everything about him says US citizen. If Uncle Sam is successful in his effort to repatriate a 50 plus year old to his “homeland” it will be to a place he hardly knows, with no means of support, with no family. Imagine waking up and finding you don’t have a country any more, or the country you volunteered to die for does not want you. If you can’t fathom how it would feel, Valenzuela has a word for it. “Devastating.” Marines don’t cry.  Often.  At least not in public.

Lest you think this is one lone royal foul up by ICE, there are two Valenzuelas facing deportation. Manuel’s brother, Valente, also is doing battle with an ungrateful ICE. Valente had a special clearance that put him in working contact with the three letter boys. If he ever gets through his own deportation nightmare he may write a best seller about his work with the CIA in far off jungles and his exposure to Agent Orange.

At the end of his tour, Valente came home with a bronze star and a lifetime of nightmares and post traumatic stress, the nightmares and post traumatic stress being gifts he shares in common with brother Manuel. Lest you think these are two lone royal foul ups by ICE, ask the brothers to talk about the many veterans who have contacted them after already being deported.

Lest you think the USA has an odd way of showing gratitude towards its veterans, well you are damn right about that. In fact, maybe they should put “We Deport Veterans” on the recruiting posters along with “See The World!”

Fortunately, the brothers are in the hands of a very capable attorney who knows her stuff. Her court room decorum tells you this is a pro without the immense ego most legal beagels carry with them. Her modesty comes from her own struggles and personal experience as an immgrant in the land of Oz. Mariela Sogastume "get's it" when someone faces injustice, which gives her a quiet passion about her work.

Perhaps it was a good day in immigration court. Before the proceeding was adjourned, an “officer of the court” which is a code word in the legal profession for “attorney”, announced he must say something in Manuel’s defense.

“Your honor.” the man insisted. “I am an officer of the court and a veteran myself.” and then turning to Valenzuela he shouted in a voice which needed no loud speaker to amplify it. “And I salute you!”   Perhaps he wished he had become a rich geologist instead of a hard working attorney, perhaps not, but there was no mistaking his patriotism!

Everyone froze for just a second after the words zinged through the air. The question for the rest of us who are grateful for men who put their lives on the line for their country, is this the way to treat a veteran? I felt like standing up and joining the salute and then parading out onto the street in protest. This can’t be happening in America, and if it is, it must stop. That was my impression, and U?

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