Top BBB Stories for April 1

April 1, 2013


Wall Street Journal: Deal Reached on Key Immigration Hurdle

By Sara Murray March 30, 2013

A bipartisan group of senators could be a week away from a comprehensive immigration overhaul deal after top representatives from business and labor signed off on a guest worker plan Friday evening.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D., N.Y.), a member of the bipartisan group, spoke with both AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Donohue Friday evening, according to someone familiar with the discussion. On a call, the trio confirmed that business and unions had reached a deal on a new visa program for future low-skilled immigrant workers, one of the most difficult issues that had been holding up an immigration deal.

“This issue has always been the dealbreaker on immigration reform, but not this time,” Mr. Schumer said in a statement Saturday.

On Saturday Mr. Schumer briefed White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough on the agreement.

“The president continues to be encouraged by progress being made by the bipartisan group of Senators,” said Clark Stevens, a White House spokesman. “We look forward to seeing language once it is introduced, and expect legislation to move forward as soon as possible.”

The last hurdle will be getting all eight senators – Mr. Schumer, John McCain (R., Ariz.), Jeff Flake (R., Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.), Marco Rubio (R., Fla.), Dick Durbin (D., Ill.), Bob Menendez (D., N.J.) and Michael Bennet (D., Colo.) – to sign off on a broad deal. While there are still outstanding issues, senators have said the guest worker program was the most challenging to resolve.

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New York Times (Urbina and Rentz Op-Ed): Immigrant Detainees and the Right to Counsel

By Ian Urbina and Catherine Rentz March 30, 2013

DO immigrants who are incarcerated while their legal status is resolved deserve a lawyer?

On a given day, roughly 34,000 immigrants are held in a patchwork of local jails and prisons, awaiting court hearings that determine whether they have the legal right to remain in the United States or will be deported. The recent revelation that roughly 300 immigration detainees are being held in solitary confinement — conditions that the United Nations special rapporteur on torture and others have said can constitute torture — highlights how punitive, costly and legally fraught American immigration policy has become.

Fifty years ago, the landmark case Gideon v. Wainwright required state courts to provide counsel in criminal cases for defendants who could not afford lawyers. But people who are detained do not typically have lawyers because immigration law, unlike criminal law, does not provide a right to counsel. Immigrant detainees are allowed to hire lawyers, but more often than not, they cannot afford counsel or are shuffled through the system before they have a chance to find help.

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SOJOURNERS (Bauman Post): Welcoming Christ by Welcoming the Stranger

By Stephan Bauman March 30, 2013

The night was cold and dark as the family approached the border. Ahead of them were miles of desert that would test their will and drain their stamina. What they were doing defied the law. But they were a family, and families will do anything for the sake of their children. The law they defied was that of Herod.

The family: Joseph, Mary and the Christ-child.

As Christians prepare to celebrate Easter, let us remember that the life that ended on the cross began on the road. This Easter, let us remember that Christ the Savior began his life as an immigrant, fleeing the land where he was born to escape Herod’s wrath.

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