Thursday, February 23, 2012

El Partido Loco

This morning, The Sun published a story on immigrants who have been duped by "notarios" promising work permits and legal residency for clients... But who later fail to deliver

[I]n 1996, [Cesar Silva] saw an ad from an immigration legal services agency saying it secured work permits and legal residency for immigrants.

At the agency, the person helping Silva called over another client. The client showed Silva a work permit and explained how the agency helped him get it in just a few months. Silva, thinking he was on his way to legal status, was delighted.

The agency, however, never helped Silva. After taking roughly $8,000 from him, it only had made it harder for him to eventually obtain a legal status. [...]

Wherever there are significant immigrant populations, there are people trying to take advantage of them with various scams, authorities say. In some cases, people who have no license to practice law misrepresent their credentials, then file paperwork stating their clients are representing themselves. Other times they may take a client’s money and do not file anything, all the better for not attracting scrutiny from the authorities. In other cases, such as Silva’s, scam artists use their knowledge of the convoluted immigration system to give the appearance they are working on their client’s behalf.

Without Silva’s knowledge, the agency filed paperwork for him under an asylum provision that was in place for Nicaraguans. Once the paperwork was filed, immigration services issued a temporary work permit to Silva. Wheels were in motion, he thought, and he willingly paid more fees.

However, his application was bound to be denied as the company filed it with Silva’s Mexican birth certificate, Flores said.

The agency essentially announced Silva’s presence in the country to immigration enforcement and then on the paperwork indicated he was representing himself. Inevitably, Silva received a deportation notice.

“I brought the notice into them,” he said. “They just told me, ‘Oh, it’s fine. That’s all part of the process. We are working on your behalf.’”

Last September, ICE arrested Cesar Silva and planned to deport him... Until a number of folks in the local community threw protests, pushed local elected officials to denounce the deportation, and ultimately shamed ICE into dropping plans to deport Silva after jailing him for a week. Now, ICE is granting him a one year stay while it reviews his case and gives Silva's current legal team time to make a case for granting him legal status.

And Cesar Silva isn't the only immigrant who was misled into believing a "notario" can make all one's ICE problems go away for a "small fee". Crap like this happens all the time.

Yet G-O-TEA hopefuls like Mitt Romney just don't care.

Mitt Romney has actually said he wants to veto the DREAM Act. And Mitt Romney has actually claimed "self-deportation" as "the solution to illegal immigration". And Mitt Romney has an extreme anti-immigrant activist with ties to known racist hate groups writing his immigration policy. And despite Romney's own run-ins with immigration law...

He doesn't seem to want to give anyone else a break. Even though people like Cesar Silva are trying to fix their situation and pursue legal residency, today's G-O-TEA is so mired in nativist, xenophobic fantasy that it lost touch with reality long ago. No wonder why we saw this in Arizona last night.

And it's not just Mitt Romney with his head in the sand. Dean Heller continues to join him there. He may strut into a Hispanics in Politics meeting and talk about a "mutually agreeable" solution, but his view of a "solution" is way to the right of REPUBLICANS like George Bush and John McCain. Heller's embrace of "tea party" nativist extremism is just as craven as Romney's, and his "solutions" that he proposed in the not-so-distant past are just as unworkable. This is why I can't believe the crocodile tears Heller's campaign team are shedding over Heller being compared to that other G-O-TEA Senate candidate who infamously embraced xenophobia.

In turn, [Shelley] Berkley and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee have their own Spanish radio ad, tying Heller on immigration issues to the ultimate Nevada bugbear: Sharron Angle, the very right-wing GOP Senate nominee in 2010, who lost to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid despite the national Republican wave.

“The party of Sharron Angle, but this time, in Spanish! Can you believe it?” the announcer says mockingly. “The Republicans have ads that attack Democratic Congresswoman Shelley Berkley and President Obama, who support the Dream Act and immigration reform.

“Who is their candidate now? Dean Heller: the Republican who wants to copy the anti-immigrant Arizona law here in Nevada, who voted to cut funds to Head Start and student scholarships, who is against immigration reform and would deport grandparents and separate children from their mothers.”

She also adds: “In the Republican Dean Heller we have another Sharron Angle.”

As we saw this morning, there are real people who are looking for real ways to earn real legal status in this country. And yes, there are real obstacles getting in the way that we need to deal with. But with the likes of Romney, Heller, and Angle wanting to punish people like Cesar Silva for trying to do the right thing, they just show us that today's G-O-TEA doesn't even want to discuss real, rational, comprehensive immigration reform.

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