Bloggings on Immigration Law
by Roger Algase
At the Republican presidential debate in Des Moines, Iowa, Newt Gingrich provided further details about his plan to bring "humanity" to America's deportation policy. The result? Not much different from Barack Obama's policy: a lot of deportation and not much humanity.
As Matthew Kolken writes in his December 2 ID blogging. the Pew Hispanic Center estimates that if the threshhold period of presence in the US were set at 10 years in order to qualify for any form of relief from deportation under Gingrich's plan, possibly as many as two thirds of all unauthorized immigrants might be eligible to apply for some form of legal status. If the period were raised to 15 years, 35 per cent might still be eligible.
These are, no doubt, significant numbers. But they are not Newt Gingrich's numbers. At the Iowa debate Gingrich made clear that the threshhold for relief would be 25 years presence in the US. (By comparison, the amnesty that was passed under the "hero" of all Republican candidates, Ronald Reagan, required only 5 years presence.) Even for the comparatively few who could meet the 25 year test, legal status would not be automatic, but would depend on the decisions of "community boards", a/k/a deportation panels.
In places like New York or San Francisco, community boards might show some leniency. How much leniency would they show in Alabama, Arizona or Utah? And what would be the fate of the overshelming majority of unauthorized immigrants, namely those who have been in the US for less than 25 years? According to Gingrich, it would be expedited deportation. Gingrich, evidently, has only one word to say to his previous suggestion of introducing reality and humanity into our deportation system: adios! No more "bravos" for Newt.
Roger Algase is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He has been practicing business immigration law in New York City for more than 20 years.
The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.