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Beyond Borders

A blog about immigration in the New York region

Archive for the 'elections' Category

Immigration and the midterm elections

October
26

Just a week before the 2010 midterm elections, it’s a fun time to visit the immigration page on PolitiFact.com, where several campaign statements have earned the “pants on fire” fact-check rating. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer and her statements on desert beheadings are also in there, along with some exchanges between Sharron Angle and Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada.

(Added: Speaking of truth-telling, one of Reid’s aide’s has been fired over allegations of marriage fraud.)

The site’s Obameter also notes President Obama’s “promise broken” on introducing immigration an immigration bill in his first year. The president renewed the promise on a radio show Monday.

Among New Yorkers, Mayor Michael Bloomberg gets a “false” for a dubious comparison of skills-based immigration policies in the U.S. and Canada.

For the big picture on immigration and the elections, here’s a backgrounder from the Council on Foreign Relations.

Posted by Leah Rae on Tuesday, October 26th, 2010 at 12:16 pm |
| | 1 Comment »

In court motion, NY Latinos seek Sept. 22 citizenship deadline

April
3

As part of a lawsuit on behalf of legal, Latino immigrants in New York City, attorneys have filed a motion seeking a Sept. 22 deadline for the processing of citizenship applications that are more than six months old. Inordinate delays will otherwise prevent the immigrants from being able to vote in the November elections, say attorneys from the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has been under pressure to address the pileup of paperwork that came in just before the July 30 fee increase. The agency announced yesterday that it was on course to complete naturalization applications in 13-15 months, down from earlier projections of 16-18 months. USCIS says it is hiring almost 3,000 new employees and quadrupling the funding for overtime.

USCIS and the FBI also announced an effort to deal with one of the typical holdups, the FBI “name checks.” (Name checks are required for various applications including those seeking citizenship, green cards and asylum.) USCIS is asking the FBI to prioritize 29,800 naturalization cases submitted to the FBI before May 2006 in which applicant was already interviewed, according to a press release.

Read more of this entry »

Posted by Leah Rae on Thursday, April 3rd, 2008 at 1:56 pm |
| | Comments Off on In court motion, NY Latinos seek Sept. 22 citizenship deadline

News roundup: Census stats, ID cards and Latino voters

March
24

From today’s Journal News:

New York City and the northern suburbs are growing in population while other parts of the state continue to shrink, according to the latest numbers out from the Census Bureau. Immigration is making a key difference here. You can call up population data for each county here.

id.jpg Brewster police are warning local businesses not to place any credence in a “Non government photo ID card” that immigrants have been buying for $20 apiece as a form of identification, Marcela Rojas reports. The police have somehow stopped a merchant from selling the cards, even though they’re not technically illegal. Village Hispanic liaison Victor Padilla says many immigrants are desperate for any form of ID. A plan for the Guatemalan consulate to distribute IDs was canceled last year when political opponents of then-Mayor John Degnan said the plan would help illegal aliens get public benefits.

On the Opinion page, former Ossining Mayor Miguel Hernandez makes fun of the presidential candidates’ efforts to “woo” Latino voters. “We are a polite people,” he writes, “and seem to tolerate these lame efforts to bond with us.” He includes not one but two Puerto Rican proverbs involving chickens.

Posted by Leah Rae on Monday, March 24th, 2008 at 11:30 am |
| | 1 Comment »

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Richardson to Obama: Sí, se puede

March
21

From the Associated Press report on Gov. Bill Richarson’s endorsement:

“I believe he is the kind of once-in-a-lifetime leader that can bring our nation together and restore America’s moral leadership in the world,” Richardson said in a statement. “As a presidential candidate, I know full well Sen. Obama’s unique moral ability to inspire the American people to confront our urgent challenges at home and abroad in a spirit of bipartisanship and reconciliation.”

Posted by Leah Rae on Friday, March 21st, 2008 at 10:40 am |
| | 95 Comments »

More on Port Chester, Hispanics and local elections

March
19

No Hispanic has won elective office in Port Chester, despite being nearly half Latino. That fact has been oft-repeated in the voting rights case, which found that the election system discriminated against Hispanics. But the absence of Hispanic officials is technically beside the point. The Justice Department wanted to highlight this issue after my recent story about the latest development in the case.

“The issue for the Government is not Latinos winning elective office,” spokesman Herb Hadad points out. “It is that candidates supported by Latinos have never won. We have filed numerous briefs in this case that list white Italians as the preferred candidates of choice of Latinos. These candidates lose too.”

What the government needed to prove in this case was that Hispanics were politically cohesive and voted as a bloc, and that the white majority voted sufficiently as a bloc to defeat the minority’s choice. Judge Stephen Robinson wrote in his decision:

The evidence here is clear that in 12 of the 16 elections this Court views as most probative in this case, the candidates of choice of Hispanic voters in Port Chester were defeated by the candidates of choice of non-Hispanic voters.

He notes that Hispanics did see their preferred candidate win in three recent elections – Mayor Dennis Pilla’s victory in 2007 and two trustee races in 2006. But that doesn’t negate the overall trend, he wrote.

In sum, it is clear to this Court that Hispanic voters and non-Hispanic voters in Port Chester prefer different candidates, and that non-Hispanic voters generally vote as a bloc to defeat Hispanic-preferred candidates.

(For the record, only two Hispanics have ever been on the ballot for village board: Jose Santos, as a Republican, in 1992, and Cesar Ruiz, as a Democrat, in 2001. Both finished last.)

The Justice Department is proposing that Port Chester hold a special election next year for all six trustee seats. This time each trustee would represent a particular district, and one of those districts would have a Hispanic majority among eligible voters. After the special election, two trustee seats would be up for election each year.

The village is proposing to elect all six at-large trustees simultaneously through cumulative voting. Voters would be able to cast up to six votes for the same candidate.

Posted by Leah Rae on Wednesday, March 19th, 2008 at 1:33 pm |
| | 1 Comment »

Waiting for citizenship and hoping to vote?

March
13

If you’re one of the million-or-so people hoping to become a U.S. citizen in time to vote in November, here are some deadlines to keep in mind. I checked this out with Bob Brehm of the state Board of Elections today:

votingbooth.jpgThe general deadline to register to vote in New York is 25 days before the general election. That would be Oct. 10 this year. If you’re registering by mail for the Nov. 4 election, your application must be postmarked by Oct. 10 and arrive by the 15th.

There’s a little extra time if you are naturalized AFTER Oct. 10. In that case, you may register in person up until Oct. 24 at the Board of Elections office in the county where you live. But that’s specifically for those naturalized between Oct. 10 and 24. The rules are written in the New York State Election Law, Section 5-210, Paragraph 4.

Not every state allows this extra time. Given the spike in prospective citizens this year, it could make a difference to a lot of applicants.

(Photo: Kathy Gardner / The Journal News)

Posted by Leah Rae on Thursday, March 13th, 2008 at 1:09 pm |
| | Comments Off on Waiting for citizenship and hoping to vote?

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David Paterson on immigration

March
11

So, just for the sake of discussion: If David A. Paterson were to become New York governor, what would that mean for immigrants?

paterson.jpgAs lieutenant governor, he has certainly spoken up for immigrants’ rights. In September, The Daily News reported on his enthusiasm over the fact that noncitizens, in 22 states, were once allowed to vote.

“Let’s just remember that America used to be a land of opportunity. We can bring it back,” he was quoted as saying at a breakfast before the West Indian American Day Carnival Parade. Paterson, who has Grenadian and Jamaican ancestry, said later that he wasn’t actually seeking a policy change.

Noncitizen voting, by the way, is one of the topics to be discussed Friday morning at an immigration forum at Dominican College in Sparkill, organized by the Rockland Immigration Coalition. Ron Hayduk will speak on “Non-citizen Voting in Local School Board Elections: An Old Idea Making a Comeback.” Legal, permanent residents were allowed to vote for New York City school boards until 2002, when the boards were dissolved.

(Photo: AP)

Posted by Leah Rae on Tuesday, March 11th, 2008 at 2:25 pm |
| | 4 Comments »

NY lawsuit demands timely naturalization

March
7

A lawsuit filed yesterday on behalf of legal immigrants in New York demands that long-delayed citizenship applications be handled in time for the November election.

The complaint, linked here, names several Latino plaintiffs from New York City and is filed on behalf of other citizenship applicants served by the New York district office of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. (NYC, Westchester, Rockland and Putnam are part of the district.) One plaintiff is a Navy veteran who is unable to get a government job for lack of citizenship; another cannot get a visa for his elderly mother so that she can visit the United States from Mexico. And all, of course, cannot vote for the next president if their cases remain stalled. The suit was brought by the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund.

The complaint demands that applications filed before March 26 by those found eligible for citizenship should be able to naturalize in time to vote. (New Yorkers must register to vote 25 days in advance of the election.) Officials at USCIS in New York said last week that they have stepped up processing to handle a spike in paperwork filed last year, but they repeated estimates that applications would now take 16-18 months on average. The suit says more than 140,000 cases are on hold because of FBI “name checks,” and that hundreds of thousands of applicants are waiting up to two and three years. The law calls for processing to be completed with 180 days.

Other documents related to the case can be found here.

Are you waiting in line for citizenship? Let us know whether or not your application is delayed and how it’s affecting you.

Posted by Leah Rae on Friday, March 7th, 2008 at 9:37 am |
| | 6 Comments »

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Reporters from The Journal News track the latest developments in immigration. Beyond Borders explores the news, the cultures and controversies.
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