FAIR Legislative Update November 29, 2010
Reid to Call Cloture Vote on DREAM Act
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) told senior aides that he plans to file a cloture motion on the DREAM Act early this week, which will allow the Senate to vote on whether to begin debate on the bill as soon as Wednesday (National Journal, Nov. 23, 2010; CRS Report, June 4, 2007)
By bringing the DREAM Act to the floor, Sen. Reid would be fulfilling a campaign promise he made to Latino voters throughout his re-election campaign. Although Reid had promised several times to bring immigration legislation to the floor during 2010, he had been unsuccessful each time. Finally, the weekend before the midterm elections Sen. Reid promised to bring the DREAM Act to the Senate floor during the lame duck session of Congress. (The New York Times, Oct. 31, 2010)
Amnesty advocates are now leaning hard on the Senate Majority leader to follow through on his promises. “Harry Reid has a debt and he made special promises in the midst of the election. Certainly immigration reform and the DREAM Act were part of his platform … That means he’s got a very specific and very immediate promise to deliver on,” said Ana Navarro, a Republican political strategist. (Roll Call, Nov. 10, 2010) Rosaline Gold at the National Association of Latino Elected Officials similarly remarked, “Democratic candidates cannot take the Latino vote for granted …They are going to have to reach out, to engage and continue to address the issues that are important for Latinos.” (ColorLines, Nov. 3, 2010)
The Senate failed to invoke cloture on the DREAM Act the last time the legislation came to the floor as a stand-alone bill in 2007. (S. 2205, SeeRoll Call Vote 394) Both the House and the Senate return Monday, November 29th for the remainder of the lame-duck session. Stay tuned to FAIR for updates during the week…
UVA Study Shows Immigration Enforcement Ordinance in Virginia a Success
Last week, the University of Virginia released a 3-yr study of Virginia’s Prince William County’s immigration enforcement ordinance which concluded that the ordinance had helped reduce the county’s illegal alien population by 2,000 to 6,000 over the course of two years. (Evaluation Study of Prince William County’s Illegal Immigration Enforcement Policy, Nov. 18, 2010) During the same time period, hit-and-run accidents in the county went down by nearly half and aggravated assaults dropped by 47 percent. In addition, the study showed that the ordinance helped reduce serious problems of overcrowding in housing in certain areas of the county. Finally, the study also found that there was “no evidence of overzealous or inappropriate immigration enforcement actions by police.” (Id. at 17) While the study suggested that the ordinance disrupted some police-community relationships, it found that these quickly returned. (Id. at 16)
In 2007, Prince William County enacted a simple policy which required the police officers to check the immigration status of anyone detained and for whom the police had probable cause to believe was illegally in the country. In 2008, the County Board of Supervisors amended the ordinance to require only that police check the immigration status of all persons physically arrested. (Id. at 7)
Prince William County Board Chairman Corey Stewart, who has spearheaded the county’s fight against illegal immigration, said the legislation was intended to improve public safety and to identify and removal illegal aliens who commit crimes. “By that yardstick, the policy has succeeded beyond our expectations,” he said. (The Cavalier Daily, Nov. 18, 2010)
After the report was released, Prince William County’s Board of Supervisors approved a policy statement which called the county’s immigration policy “effective” and said that given its “successful implementation,” it should be used by all law enforcement agencies across Virginia. (The Washington Post, Nov. 21, 2010) Virginia Delegate Jackson Miller (R-Manassas) is said to be drafting similar legislation for the General Assembly session that begins in January. (Id.)
Hate Crimes Against Hispanics Drop Three Years in a Row
Newly released FBI hate crime data show that for the third consecutive year, the number of Hispanics nationwide who fell victim to hate crimes decreased dramatically. In 2009, the FBI recorded 692 victims of anti-Hispanic hate crimes compared with 792 in 2008 and 830 in 2007. This decline is further magnified when one takes into account that the number of law enforcement agencies contributing data to the FBI hate crime reports has increased nine percent since 2007.
Since 2007, there have been calculated efforts, spearheaded by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), to manipulate hate crime data to suggest that advocates for immigration reduction and enforcement were directly responsible for what they termed “a wave of hate.” At one time, the National Council of La Raza actually claimed on its website that one in seven Americans (a remarkable 45 million individuals) belonged to hate or extremist groups.
FAIR released a statement last week to highlight the drop in hate crimes against Latinos and the falseness of the SPLC’s calculated campaign, designed to shut down debate on one of the most critical public policy issues facing Americans today. “[C]ontrary to the hysteria that has been whipped up by mass immigration advocacy groups,” said FAIR President Dan Stein, “there is no connection between a healthy debate about immigration policy and crimes directed against any group in our society…. But even more conclusive is the evidence that SPLC and others have manipulated and distorted data in order to prevent the debate from continuing.”