Sunday, February 10, 2013

Immigration reform: Combating crime

Barack Obama: Pretty specific here. He wants to establish community liasons along the border to improve communication and collaboration with border communities. He wants to increase funding o help reduce illegal activity on tribal lands. He wants to strengthen the civil-rights training for immigration officers. There are a few more things. He wants to crack down on criminal networks that engage in passport and visa fraud. He wants to create new penalties for transnational crime organizations that traffic people, drugs, weapons, and money. He wants to expand enforcement efforts that target convicted criminals in federal or state correctional facilities. He wants to remove them from the United States at the end of their sentence without allowing them to return to their communities. He wants to create a streamlined administrative removal process for those who have overstayed their visas and have been determined to be a threat to national or public safety. He also wants to increase the number of immigration judges and staff, invest in training for court personnel, and improve access to legal information for immigrants. He also wants to expand alternatives to detention and drive down detention costs.
Gang of Eight: Doesn’t offer specifics. Instead wants to create a commission of border state governors, attorney generals, and community leaders to determine security metrics and when they have been met.
General notes: This isn’t all that surprising. The political idea behind this portion of the Gang of Eight’s proposal is federalism. It’s not the federal government’s responsibility to determine what is right for every state and what is the best way to combat such an issue in each state. The type of immigrant who goes through Texas might be very different compared to the one who goes to California. But if each state can decide how they want to do it, perhaps they can come up with a solution that is missed at the federal level.

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