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Old 10-17-2010, 07:35 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Immigrants trying to do civic duty; registered to vote, now getting deported

Quote:
Immigrants Find Voting Can Come At a Cost
The way Joseph E. Joseph tells it, he was just doing his civic duty.

On his way home from work one evening in 1992, he came across a group of volunteers in Brooklyn registering people to vote. Mr. Joseph, a legal permanent resident who had immigrated from St. Kitts eight years earlier, decided it was time to sign up. He cast a ballot in that year’s presidential election, he said, and in every one since.

His participation in American democracy came at a steep cost: The government is now trying to deport him.
First and foremost, this is about IMMIGRANTS not ILLEGALS. This is about legal green card holding residents.

For me this is pretty simple. I grew up as the children of immigrants. I remember my father's green card. He explained to me that this gave him some rights in the US but not all rights, specifically the right to vote. My father understood this very well. He could/would talk about politics, but knew he could never affect them in any way until he became a citizen. When the time came for him to be able to choose to be a citizen, he held out staying a national of his country for economic interests "back home." When I was in my teens, my mom became a citizen because my father felt it was in the interest of the family to participate in the voting process. My father finally had to become naturalized when we were going to be expatriated to Singapore.

Now, some of this article speaks to the confusion of whether you can or cannot vote in a particular election. I find it confusing too because some primaries I can vote, others I cannot. So I know that because it's too complex many don't vote at all that can.

Should these types be deported or their naturalization be jeopardized? I don't think so. I think they should pay a simple fine, or even do some community service of some sort and that's it. Deportation seems a bit harsh.
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Old 10-17-2010, 08:20 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Deportation is incredibly harsh, especially in cases where there is confusion. The article points out that some volunteers will give out incorrect information when registering voters. That's a problem.

I think there should be a bigger push to inform people on electoral processes. At the same time, I think that the punishments should be made more reasonable. Ejecting migrant workers for voting instead of fining them is essentially disruptive and unnecessarily expensive, I imagine. It removes a gainfully employed individuals (and possibly the family) from the system, and at what cost otherwise? What is the cost to the employer and to the government?

Base the punishment in a fine and mandatory education on the system they fall under (green card, temporary worker or whatever). These people may be working towards citizenship, and to disrupt the process because of their desire to be a part of the political process (no matter how misinformed) could hurt America in the long run. One of the main benefits of immigration that leads to citizenship is that it can guarantee worker pools that might otherwise be unavailable or restrictive domestically.

Deportation seems too draconian.
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Last edited by Baraka_Guru; 10-17-2010 at 08:23 AM..
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Old 10-19-2010, 09:19 PM   #3 (permalink)
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thats totally wrong. if these people took the legal process to become citizens, they should enjoy the same benefits as all citizens regardless of prior civil status
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Pretty simple really, do your own thing as long as it does not fuck with anyone's enjoyment of life.
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Old 10-19-2010, 10:59 PM   #4 (permalink)
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It's cliche but ignorance of the law is no excuse. Citizens hear it all the time.

On one hand, I feel like it may be a little harsh, especially if the person was misled into believe they were obligated to vote as Mr. Joseph seems to be almost saying. On the other if you genuinely want to become a citizen of another country you should start by learning and respecting its laws.

Here is the NY state voter registration form. The first bullet under "To Register you must:" is "-Be a US Citizen;". Now that I've seen that I have a whole lot less sympathy for the guy.
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Old 10-20-2010, 04:35 AM   #5 (permalink)
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It is the government job to review someone’s registration to vote. And I can say in New York City they do a horrible job of it. I registered to vote 4 times since they kept getting my name wrong (and i switched to another building in the neighborhood). Needless to say in 4 different buildings i can vote every election in theory. There was no verification by the board of elections

I can give other examples that are known. But this is a board of elections issue, and they should have caught it right away and sent him a letter saying we appreciate your desire to help in the democratic process, but sadly you are just a permanent resident and currently not a citizen. If you become a citizen please do register again, voting for non-citizens is a crime.

This is just a failure on the government side. That being said I do think he did commit a crime, and should be informed of it, but deportation is way out of line to cover for the governments mistake.
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Old 10-20-2010, 04:57 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I was researching H.R. 2883 a while back. I could have sweared they passed a law that prevented LPRs who inadvertently voted from being deported. Perhaps it was retroactive only.

Anyway. Our immigration laws are *really* jacked up, and premised upon xenophobia--which is extremely dangerous given globalization. IIRC, prior to the opium wars, China adopted a strict xenophobic policy resulting in them falling far behind in technology and getting their asses kicked.

Consider that foreigners who come to the U.S. to obtain Ph.D's must have an intent to return to their country of origin upon entering. So, we're educating some of the best and brightest--then sending them away so that they may bolster a foreign country's tech.
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Old 10-20-2010, 05:47 AM   #7 (permalink)
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KirStang, you bring up a couple of important points.

1) One problem with American innovation and unemployment right now is that there is a job pool that's mismatched with the worker pool in some key areas. One solution to this is a strategic immigration policy that attracts missing talent.

2) The point about the training of foreign Ph.D.s: Education is largely considered an export service. In Canada, our educational institutions are increasingly attracting foreign students. The goal isn't to make them Canadian, the goal is to have them as clients.

Then you have that German problem of foreign workers. What you have there is sizable and alienated population of Turks who aren't integrated with German society. They weren't meant to integrate because they weren't meant to be German.

It's messy.
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Last edited by Baraka_Guru; 10-20-2010 at 05:49 AM..
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Old 10-20-2010, 08:59 AM   #8 (permalink)
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INA section 237(a)(6): Unlawful Voters
A) Vote illegally in violation of any state or federal law = deported.
B) Exception if:
1.) Parents are both United States Citizens;
2.) Alien was an legal permanent resident residing here in the US prior to being 16; AND
3.) Alien had reasonable belief he or she was a citizen.


Holy shit. That's a narrow exception.
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Old 10-20-2010, 01:29 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Exceptions should stay narrow though or else there would be more people in the exception than being checked by the rule.
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Originally Posted by canuckguy View Post
Pretty simple really, do your own thing as long as it does not fuck with anyone's enjoyment of life.
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Old 10-20-2010, 02:24 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EventHorizon View Post
Exceptions should stay narrow though or else there would be more people in the exception than being checked by the rule.
Of course. You don't want the exception swallowing the rule. But in this case, it's fucking retarded.

The whole 'let's deport immigrants for voting' crap smacks of congress hoping to keep plenary power over immigration, of which, there's very little constitutional textual support. (But plenty of case law where the Supreme Court lets congress get away with murder. For example, saying LPRs don't have first amendment rights....)

Put it this way, 'a discrete and insular minority is powerless to check the total power congress has over them.'

Take my word for it. Our immigration law is *very* illogical.

Last edited by KirStang; 10-20-2010 at 02:26 PM..
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Old 10-20-2010, 02:36 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Deportation is an insanely steep penalty. Yes, they interfered with the democratic process, but really? I would think that there should be more of a penalty for those who encourage legal residents to register and/or vote. It is fascinating to me that there would be different laws depending on the type of election. It makes a certain amount of sense for legal residents to be able to vote in city and other local elections, but I can see how having exceptions leads to ambiguity and confusion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by EventHorizon View Post
thats totally wrong. if these people took the legal process to become citizens, they should enjoy the same benefits as all citizens regardless of prior civil status
There is a distinct difference between citizens and legal residents in the US. You seem to be confusing the two.
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Last edited by genuinegirly; 10-20-2010 at 02:43 PM..
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Old 10-20-2010, 03:42 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
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Deportation is an insanely steep penalty..
You know really irks me too? That deportation is 'civil' not criminal. I think that is legal fiction gone too far. I can understand fining an overly polluting factory as 'civil.' But when you get in to deportation, indeed detention and whole uprooting of individuals (individuals who came here at young ages and grew up here no less), it's hard to stomach the fiction that deportation is 'civil' only. So long as deportation is 'civil' (even though it is premised on the deported alien committing crimes), the government can eschew a whole slew of Constitutional protections otherwise afforded in criminal law.
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Old 10-23-2010, 03:46 AM   #13 (permalink)
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All the more excuse to continue breaking the law.
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Old 10-23-2010, 06:14 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cavi Mike View Post
All the more excuse to continue breaking the law.
I'm not sure I understand. Are you saying they should still vote despite the risk of deportation?
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Old 10-23-2010, 04:16 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Baraka_Guru View Post
I'm not sure I understand. Are you saying they should still vote despite the risk of deportation?
What you did there, I see it.
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Old 10-23-2010, 04:42 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cavi Mike View Post
All the more excuse to continue breaking the law.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Baraka_Guru View Post
I'm not sure I understand. Are you saying they should still vote despite the risk of deportation?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cavi Mike View Post
What you did there, I see it.
so asking for clarification as to what you mean gets more snark?

awesome.

really, what do you mean?
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Old 10-23-2010, 08:46 PM   #17 (permalink)
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The American immigration system is the weirdest, most illogical system of all I've ever encountered.

Let's just start with the fact that non-US citizens can have an authorization to stay in the country, but not to enter the country. I.e., someone with a valid work authorization or a valid student I-20 can stay in the country, but to enter the country they need a visa. And of course, getting a visa has all sorts of red tape. You need to schedule an interview at a consulate (even for renewals), which depending on the consulate can take 60 days or more, and then the visa is mailed to you a few days later. I know someone who couldn't go to their mother's funeral because their visa was expired and their work authorization was still valid. So this person could stay in the US, but if they left they couldn't get back in. This person tried to schedule an expedited interview with the consulate so she could get a visa in the week she would be there for her mother's funeral, but the consulate determined that that wasn't good enough reason to expedite a visa.

And if you want to become a citizen? First there is the labor certification process, where the department of labor certifies that the person isn't taking a job from an American. Sounds good, right? Except that in the end this process basically entails a text recognition software going through forms to make sure they were filled correctly. I know people who have had labor certification denied because the name of the city was misspelled, and another who had labor certification denied because in the job ad they submitted along it the employer was identified by its logo, which contained its name, but the text recognition software didn't recognize it.

If the person makes through this stage, then the actual process with USCIS starts. Which can take several years. And if the person loses their job in the mean time and can't find another, they would lose their authorization to stay in the US. And then, after having a green card for 5 years THEN they can start the citizenship process.


In my personal example, I have a PHD. I already qualify to become a Canadian permanent resident even though I've never lived there, based on credentials alone. Similarly, if I were to accept a job offer in many European countries, not only I could become a citizen in a much shorter amount of time, certain countries even have tax breaks for highly qualified individuals. In the netherlands, for example, highly qualified individuals can apply to only pay income taxes on 70% of their income.

Meanwhile, the American system is so convoluted and so complex that my green card application still hasn't been approved after over 3 years. And if someone who did voter registration came to me and guaranteed me that I could vote once I got my green card, I wouldn't have known better.
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Old 10-23-2010, 09:55 PM   #18 (permalink)
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I don't know why this is so complicated. If I remember my conversation with my accountant (best investment I've ever made) correctly, folks with green cards have to file a 1040 every year, meaning they pay taxes just like I do. If you're taxed, you deserve governmental representation as a founding principle of our nation. It's a silly and exploitive law, even without the xenophobic overreaction of deporting the poor folks.
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