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Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver announcement – January 3, 2013

Posted on by Ruby Powers in Consular Processing, I-601 Waivers, Immigration Trends, Legislative Reform, State and Local Immigration Rules Leave a comment

After a year of waiting all of 2012, we have it folks! The provisional unlawful presence waiver is being published today, January 3, 2013 and will become effective on March 4, 2013 (60 days later).

For more info

Secretary Napolitano Announces Final Rule to Support Family Unity During Waiver Process

Release Date:
January 2, 2013

For Immediate Release
DHS Press Office
Contact: 202-282-8010

WASHINGTON—Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano today announced the posting of a final rule in the Federal Register that reduces the time U.S. citizens are separated from their immediate relatives (spouse, children and parents), who are in the process of obtaining visas to become lawful permanent residents of the United States under certain circumstances. The final rule establishes a process that allows certain individuals to apply for a provisional unlawful presence waiver before they depart the United States to attend immigrant visa interviews in their countries of origin. The process will be effective on March 4, 2013 and more information about the filing process will be made available in the coming weeks at http://www.uscis.gov/.

“This final rule facilitates the legal immigration process and reduces the amount of time that U.S. citizens are separated from their immediate relatives who are in the process of obtaining an immigrant visa,” said Secretary Napolitano.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) received more than 4,000 comments in response to the April 2, 2012 proposed rule and considered all of them in preparing the final rule.

“The law is designed to avoid extreme hardship to U.S. citizens, which is precisely what this rule achieves,” USCIS Director Mayorkas said. “The change will have a significant impact on American families by greatly reducing the time family members are separated from those they rely upon.”

Under current law, immediate relatives of U.S. citizens who are not eligible to adjust status in the United States to become lawful permanent residents must leave the U.S. and obtain an immigrant visa abroad. Individuals who have accrued more than six months of unlawful presence while in the United States must obtain a waiver to overcome the unlawful presence inadmissibility bar before they can return to the United States after departing to obtain an immigrant visa. Under the existing waiver process, which remains available to those who do not qualify for the new process, immediate relatives cannot file a waiver application until after they have appeared for an immigrant visa interview abroad and the Department of State has determined that they are inadmissible. 

In order to obtain a provisional unlawful presence waiver, the applicant must be an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen, inadmissible only on account of unlawful presence, and demonstrate the denial of the waiver would result in extreme hardship to his or her U.S. citizen spouse or parent. USCIS will publish a new form, Form I-601A, Application for a Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver, for individuals to use when applying for a provisional unlawful presence waiver under the new process.

Under the new provisional waiver process, immediate relatives must still depart the United States for the consular immigrant visa process; however, they can apply for a provisional waiver before they depart for their immigrant visa interview abroad. Individuals who file the Form I-601A must notify the Department of State’s National Visa Center that they are or will be seeking a provisional waiver from USCIS. The new process will reduce the amount of time U.S. citizen are separated from their qualifying immediate relatives. Details on the process changes are available at http://www.regulations.gov/.

For more information, visit www.uscis.gov.


Immigration Reform – This time, it’s different An election drubbing changes minds

Posted on by Ruby Powers in Immigration Law, Immigration Trends, Legislative Reform Leave a comment

November 24, 2012 Economist

Article here

WHEN Congress last wrestled with immigration reform, in 2007, John Boehner, then the leader of the Republican minority in the House of Representatives, denounced the bill under consideration as “a piece of shit”. George W. Bush, the president of the day, supported it, but many Republicans opposed it, mainly because it granted an amnesty of sorts to some of America’s 12m or so illegal immigrants. Over the next five years immigration reform languished in Congress, a victim of Democratic distraction and Republican opposition. Yet earlier this month Mr Boehner, now speaker of the House, declared himself “confident that the president, myself and others can find the common ground to take care of this issue once and for all.”

Barack Obama also seems optimistic. He recently said he expected a bill on the subject, including a mechanism to normalise the status of illegal immigrants, along with tougher penalties for hiring them and even-tighter border security, to be taken up in Congress early in the new year. Lindsey Graham and Charles Schumer, respectively a Republican senator and a Democratic one, have resumed talks on a bill they abandoned two years ago. Several conservative pundits who had been implacably opposed to anything that smacked of lenience towards illegal immigrants are suddenly declaring themselves untroubled by the idea. This week two prominent Republican strategists set up an outfit called Republicans for Immigration Reform.

The impetus for all this activity was the drubbing Hispanic voters have just given to Republican candidates with a hard line on immigration. Hispanics made up 10% of the electorate this year, up from 9% in 2008. They are almost certain to account for an ever bigger slice of voters at each successive election for decades to come. Mitt Romney, who had suggested making life so miserable for illegal immigrants that they would “self-deport”, mustered only 27% of Hispanic votes. Meanwhile Mr Obama, who had lifted the threat of deportation and offered work permits to certain young immigrants brought to America as children, won 71%.

Mr Romney was hardly the only offender. Republican legislatures and governors around the country championed harsh local laws in an attempt to crack down on illegal immigration. Republicans in the Senate have repeatedly obstructed the DREAM Act, a formal version of Mr Obama’s reprieve for young illegals. During the primaries the Republican presidential candidates competed to sound toughest on illegal immigrants. “We’re in a death spiral with Hispanic voters because of rhetoric around immigration,” Mr Graham said this week. Janet Murguía, the head of the National Council of La Raza, a Hispanic pressure group, agrees: “If Republicans care about getting into the White House again, they’re going to have to engage with the Hispanic electorate.”

Not all Republicans are convinced. Steve King, an obstreperous congressman from Iowa, plans a lawsuit to try to get the president’s initiative on young illegals rescinded. Many Republicans doubt that they would win over many Hispanics even if they changed their stripes on immigration. Ronald Reagan, for example, signed an amnesty in 1986 but the Republican candidate at the next election, George Bush senior, still got just 30% of the Hispanic vote. Indeed, if reforms include granting citizenship for illegals, Republicans risk creating more Democrats, while alienating white working-class supporters who worry that outsiders are taking their jobs. Abandoning the party’s stance on immigration in the hope of winning over some Hispanics “is like jumping off a cliff to see if someone catches you”, says Dan Stein of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which advocates reduced immigration and opposes an amnesty.

Angie Kelley of the Centre for American Progress, a left-leaning think-tank, acknowledges that it will be hard to find many Republican votes for any deal that involves an amnesty. Most Republican representatives, in particular, occupy safe seats, and thus serve at the pleasure of Republican primary voters, whose views on the subject are much more rigid than those of the electorate as a whole. But Ms Murguía argues that enough Republican votes can be picked off to form a majority coalition along with the bulk of Democrats. There are strong economic arguments to be made in favour of reform, she points out, and the business lobby is keen. Some other typically Republican constituencies are also coming round, including law-enforcement groups and some evangelical Christians. And even if immigration reform does not make it through the incoming Congress, Ms Murguía insists, the fact that it has returned to the agenda so quickly and with support from such unexpected quarters is a clear sign of things to come.


McCain, Hatch, Rubio offer optimism on immigration on return for lame duck

Posted on by Ruby Powers in DREAM Act, Immigration Law, Immigration Trends, Legislative Reform Leave a comment

By Cameron Joseph – 11/13/12 08:25 PM ET
Entire Article

Three key Senate Republican players on immigration returned to a lame-duck session of Congress on Tuesday offering optimism that a deal on immigration could be made next year.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said he believes it’s “very likely” the Senate will come up with a comprehensive immigration bill that could include enforcement and a way of dealing with illegal immigrants in the country.

A pathway to residency or citizenship for those illegal immigrants was the major stumbling block to immigration reform efforts in the last decade.
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said “everything ought to be on the table” in the immigration talks, while McCain said there’s a “sense of urgency” in the GOP to deal with the issue.

Sen. Marco Rubio said he was “hopeful” lawmakers would be able to work on something, but added his position remains that Congress should take action on strengthening border security first.

“As I’ve said, in my opinion, the first steps in all of this is to win the confidence of the American people by modernizing the legal immigration issue and by improving enforcements of the existing law,” he said. “And then, obviously, we’re going to have to deal with 11 million people who are here in undocumented status.

“I think it’ll be a lot easier to figure that out if we do those other steps first. But like I said, there are going to be a lot of opinions on this.”

Republican soul searching on immigration has stepped up after President Obama’s victory in last week’s presidential election. Obama soundly defeated Republican nominee Mitt Romney among Hispanic voters.

In the wake of the election, conservative talk-show host Sean Hannity and pundit Charles Krauthhammer have both urged Republicans to work on an immigration plan that would include a pathway to residence for those in the country illegally.

“There’s a sense of urgency in the Republican Party for obvious reasons, and I’m sure that everybody’s ready to deal. But the specifics? Too early,” McCain said Tuesday when asked about a comprehensive bill that included a pathway to citizenship.

“There are a lot of very important legal considerations that have to be made, but I’ve always been empathetic towards resolving this problem one way or the other,” said Hatch.

McCain had abandoned his support for a comprehensive bill during a 2010 primary challenge from former Rep. J.D. Hayworth (R-Ariz.).

But on Tuesday, he sounded more like the McCain who championed a comprehensive immigration reform plan backed by President George W. Bush.

“Oh, I think it’s very likely that we get it resolved, but there are going to be some tough negotiations,” he said.

Rubio, a Hispanic who is trusted and beloved by the GOP base, could be the most important player to watch in the negotiations.

He seemed more hesitant to embrace the concept of a big package than McCain or Hatch but didn’t close the door on a single, comprehensive bill. In the past, that’s usually meant a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants in the U.S., stricter border enforcement, a temporary worker program for industries such as agriculture and a crackdown on those who hire undocumented immigrants.

“People are interested in it. It’s going to take some time,” he said. “It’s an important issue for the country economically, it behooves us to have a 21st century immigration policy.”

Rubio said he “didn’t have anything to announce today” on how involved he’ll be with the issue, but said he was “hopeful we’ll be able to work on something.”

The Florida senator had begun to work on a Republican version of the “DREAM Act” last year before President Obama ordered temporary visas be given to some undocumented immigrants brought here as children.

Hatch, an original sponsor of the DREAM Act, voted against it in 2010, largely because of concerns about a 2012 Tea Party primary challenge.

This story was posted at 8:25 p.m. Tuesday and updated at 9:13 a.m. Wednesday.


Sean Hannity, John Boehner say GOP should tackle immigration reform

Posted on by Ruby Powers in Immigration Law Leave a comment

By  | The Ticket – 3 hrs ago

Entire Article

Well, that was fast.

Just two days after President Barack Obama sailed to re-election over Mitt Romney, boosted by more than 70 percent of the Latino vote, some Republicans are striking a new tone on illegal immigration.

Conservative Fox News and radio host Sean Hannity said Thursday that his views on immigration have “evolved.” Hannity continued:

We’ve gotta get rid of the immigration issue altogether. It’s simple for me to fix it. I think you control the border first, you create a pathway for those people that are here, you don’t say you gotta go home. And that is a position that I’ve evolved on. Because you know what—it just—it’s gotta be resolved. The majority of people here—if some people have criminal records you can send ’em home—but if people are here, law-abiding, participating, four years, their kids are born here … first secure the border, pathway to citizenship … then it’s done. But you can’t let the problem continue. It’s gotta stop.

Meanwhile, in an interview with ABC News’ Diane Sawyer, House Speaker John Boehner said he is “confident” the two parties can agree to a deal on immigration.

“This issue has been around far too long,” Boehner said. “A comprehensive approach is long overdue, and I’m confident that the president, myself, others can find the common ground to take care of this issue once and for all.”

Just two years ago, Boehner said it was worth considering amending the U.S. Constitution to end birthright citizenship, because he said it might discourage people from illegally crossing the border. Boehner was also opposed to President George W. Bush’s attempt to pass immigration reform.

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who supports immigration reform, said on CBS on Friday that Republicans had sent “mixed messages” about immigration. “On the immigration issue, which turned out to be very important, and some issues about women, too, some mixed messages were sent,” she said.

The party has been searching for answers about why Mitt Romney lost what seemed like a very winnable election. Many within the party have pointed to the GOP’s demographics problem: Romney lost every group except for white voters, which is a shrinking portion of the electorate. Latinos this year made up 10 percent of all voters, according to the national exit poll, a share that will only grow each election. Like other groups, most Latino voters say they care most about jobs and the economy, but 35 percent of them listed immigration reform as their top issue in a poll conducted by Latino Decisions.

Latino voter and advocacy groups have said they expect both Obama and congressional Republicans to work together to pass immigration reform in 2013.

Eliseo Medina, secretary-treasurer of the Service Employees International Union, told reporters that Latino voters had sent a message to Obama. “We expect leadership on comprehensive immigration reform in 2013,” he said. “To both sides we say: ‘No more excuses.'”


Immigration reformers see Obama win, Hispanic turnout as ‘game-changer’

Posted on by Ruby Powers in Immigration Law Leave a comment
By Mike Lillis – 11/07/12 05:04 PM ET

An outpouring of support from Hispanic voters helped to usher President Obama to a resounding reelection win Tuesday, and immigration reformers say those dynamics have set the stage for a bipartisan reform deal next year.

Conservatives in Congress have successfully killed efforts to pass immigration reforms over the last decade — even when a GOP president proposed them. But Obama’s dominance over Mitt Romney among Hispanic voters, advocates say, will force Republicans to accept some version of reform or risk losing national elections into the foreseeable future. 

“The Republican Party has to decide: Do they want to take this issue off the table? Or do they want to be a whites-only party that will make it impossible to compete?” Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice, which advocates for immigration reform, said Wednesday.

Sharry predicted that immigration reform “will quickly become the top legislative priority after fiscal and budget issues” next year.

“The election was a game-changer,” he said, “and the Republicans will see coming to the table as a political imperative.”

Rep. Luis Gutierrez delivered a similar message in the wake of the election. Warning that that “the road to the White House goes through Latino neighborhoods,” the Illinois Democrat said Romney’s shift to the right on immigration during the GOP primaries buried his chances of winning the presidency.

“Mitt Romney and the Republicans drank the anti-immigrant Kool-Aid during the primaries,” he said Wednesday in a statement, “and they never recovered.”

But Gutierrez, who’s lashed out at Obama for not pushing harder for immigration reform in his first term, also challenged the president to make it a top priority of his second.

“Let’s be clear,” he said, “the president and Democrats cannot be satisfied that the other party is repulsive to most Latino voters and lots of other voters as well.

“Democrats must actively attract voters to their positions on jobs, health care, same-sex equality, equal rights, and, especially with Latino voters, immigration reform.”

Gutierrez is urging Obama to “call Republicans and Democrats to the White House who want to chart a reasonable course forward on immigration and begin the process of delivering.”

There’s some evidence that the president intends to do just that.

In an interview with Iowa’s Des Moines Register just two weeks ago, Obama said he was “confident” he could enact bipartisan immigration reforms in his second term.

“The second thing I’m confident we’ll get done next year is immigration reform. And since this is off the record, I will just be very blunt,” Obama said during an off-the-record interview that later became public. “Should I win a second term, a big reason I will win a second term is because the Republican nominee and the Republican Party have so alienated the fastest-growing demographic group in the country, the Latino community. And this is a relatively new phenomenon.”

The president seems to have hit the nail on the head. Exit polls indicated that Hispanic voters favored Obama this year by a whopping 40 points, 69 percent to 29 percent — an increase of 4 points over his advantage among the demographic four years ago. And while white turnout fell this year as a percentage of total voters, Hispanic turnout ticked up, from 9 to 10 percent.

The changing demographics have prompted a number of prominent conservatives — including former President George W. Bush, anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush — to warn Republicans to soften their hard line on immigration or risk a long-term backlash from Latino voters at the polls each cycle.

It’s advice that Republican congressional leaders have so far ignored. Indeed, when President Bush championed comprehensive immigration reforms in 2007, it was shot down by conservative Republicans who opposed the inclusion of a pathway to legalization for those in the country illegally — a notion critics call “amnesty.”

More recently, a filibuster by Senate Republicans killed the House-passed DREAM Act, which would provide legal status to high-achieving illegal immigrant students brought to the country as children.

During the GOP primary, Romney vowed to veto the DREAM Act and promoted tougher enforcement of illegal immigrants, a move designed to distinguish himself from several of his opponents — notably former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga) and Texas Gov. Rick Perry — who advocated more leniency.

After the primaries, Romney adopted a more centrist immigration position, and his campaign adopted a 38 percent target for Hispanic voters. But advocates say the damage was done.

“Romney’s lurch to the right really destroyed his chances,” Sharry said. “He made a tactical decision that was terrible strategy. It branded him with the fastest-growing group of voters as anti-immigrant and anti-Latino.

“If he’d won 38 percent of the Latino vote,” Sharry added, “he’d be president.”


Obama Promises Immigration Reform if Re-Elected, According to Iowa Paper

Posted on by Ruby Powers in Immigration Law, Immigration Trends, Legislative Reform, State and Local Immigration Rules Leave a comment

October 24, 2012

Washington –  In an interview with the Des Moines Register, U.S. President Barack Obama said that if he wins the election in two weeks it will largely be thanks to his strong lead among Latino voters.

Read more: http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/politics/2012/10/24/obama-promises-immigration-reform-if-re-elected-according-to-iowa-paper/#ixzz2AK5xFMID


Napolitano says 200K illegal immigrants have applied for deferred deportation

Posted on by Ruby Powers in Deportation, Immigration Law Leave a comment
By Jordy Yager – 10/24/12 05:15 PM ET

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said on Wednesday that more than 3,000 young illegal immigrants are applying for deferred deportation every day under the administration’s new immigration policy.

About 200,000 young people in the country illegally have applied to defer their deportation for at least two years and get a temporary work permit since the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) began accepting applications under the new rules two months ago, according to Napolitano.

For more…..


Out of the shadows A first step to make young illegal immigrants welcome

Posted on by Ruby Powers in DREAM Act, Immigration Law, Immigration Trends Leave a comment

Aug 25th 2012 | ATLANTA AND CHICAGO | from the print edition

Economist

LISA OHMAN was brought up in Macon, Georgia, and speaks with a gentle southern accent. She graduated from Wesleyan College, a women’s university in Macon, with majors in biology and chemistry, and has just taken her medical-school entrance exams. Teresa Lee was brought up in Chicago; at the tender age of 17 she played piano with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and she is now working towards a doctorate in music. Yet both are illegal immigrants. Ms Ohman’s parents brought her to America from Sweden when she was ten; Ms Lee’s brought her from Brazil when she was two.

Both faced the prospect of being forced to return to the countries they were born in—their “native” countries in name only. But on August 15th they and more than 1m others like them were granted a small but welcome measure of relief. From that day, immigrants under the age of 30 without criminal records who came to America before they were 16 years old, have lived in America continuously for at least five years, are enrolled in or have graduated from school or university or have been honourably discharged from military service, were allowed to apply for “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” (DACA).

DACA confers neither citizenship nor permanent-resident status. It is instead, in essence, a promise from the government not to deport an immigrant for two years. Applying costs $465, and acceptance can be renewed every two years. Successful applicants will receive a Social Security number and will be eligible to work legally. This means their wages will be taxed; but, because they are not citizens, they will not be eligible to receive the benefits that their taxes help to finance.

DACA has its roots in the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, a bill first introduced in Congress 11 years ago. The DREAM Act would have conferred permanent-resident status on roughly the same set of immigrants that DACA covers. It died in committee in 2002. Four years later it passed the Senate as part of the far more expansive Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act, but died in conference. In 2010 it narrowly passed the House, but was blocked by a Republican filibuster in the Senate. Hence DACA, which Barack Obama’s homeland-security secretary delicately termed an “exercise of prosecutorial discretion”.

The right cried foul. House Republicans proposed measures to stop Mr Obama’s order from being enforced. Twenty Republican senators (including one supporter of the 2006 immigration bill and two backers of the 2001 DREAM Act) wrote to the president, accusing him of “an inappropriate use of executive power” and worrying about the effects of unleashing “an untold number of illegal immigrants” into the workforce when jobs are scarce.

In fact, many eligible immigrants are already in the workforce. Others are students. Doubtless there are some budding entrepreneurs as well: as Mitt Romney acknowledges, legal immigrants are disproportionately represented among patent applicants, and among those who start and head successful tech companies. And their numbers are not quite untold: the Obama administration estimated there were 800,000 eligible applicants, though there may be as many as 1.7m.

Not all will apply, of course. Some still worry about the risk of exposure: the DACA forms warn that applications may be denied for any reason, and the government’s decision is final. Yet the enthusiasm on display last week suggests that DACA may prove immensely popular. As Ms Lee explained at a rally in Chicago on August 15th, it is “a chance for us…to give back to the country we love and call home.”


Paperwork hitch landed this immigrant in ‘hell on Earth’

Posted on by Ruby Powers in Immigration Law, Immigration Trends, Interior Enforcement, Legislative Reform Leave a comment
By Lisa Riordan Seville and Hannah Rappleye, NBC News

When Floyd Herbert Abdul, a native of Zimbabwe living legally in the United States, was detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Nov. 24, 2006, he was plunged into a bureaucratic system that he describes as “hell on Earth.”

“They do so much to literally dehumanize you,” he said. “If you’re not strong mentally, then you lose it.”

The reason for Abdul’s nightmare: He never received a letter informing him of an upcoming immigration hearing because the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, or ICE, sent the letter to an outdated address.

As a result, Abdul, a political opponent of Zimbabwe dictator Robert Mugabe who is seeking political asylum in the U.S., spent over four months in detention, first in Atlanta, then at the Etowah County Detention Center in northeast Alabama. Etowah, a jail that also holds county inmates, has for years concerned human rights activists. They say the quality and quantity of food, lack of access to the outdoors and jail-like conditions are inappropriate for immigrant detention, which is not designed as punishment.

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Undocumented immigrants confront author of strict immigration laws

Posted on by Ruby Powers in DREAM Act, Immigration Law, Immigration Trends, Legislative Reform, State and Local Immigration Rules Leave a comment
Bob Miller/for NBC News

Isela Meraz and Fernando Lopez lead a group of undocumented Hispanics in protest against anti-immigration laws during a briefing on the civil rights effects of state immigration law held by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights in Birmingham, Ala.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Protesters opposed to strict state-level immigration laws confronted one of the key writers of such legislation as he testified at a U.S. Department of Justice civil rights hearing here on Friday.

Holding up small banners with the words “undocumented” on them, four self-proclaimed undocumented immigrants stood up one at a time to denounce the laws, interrupting the testimony being given by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who helped author the measures in Alabama and Arizona.

Kobach, who advised those states before being elected to statewide office in Kansas, and others were invited to speak about the impact of such laws by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, an independent commission of the federal government.

But the session was interrupted by protests.

“I have received a lot of discrimination. I am Maria Huerta, undocumented and without fear. I have no fear! You have to respect our rights. They are civil rights,” the 65-year-old woman, originally from Mexico, cried out just before throwing the hearing agenda on the floor. “I leave it there. Keep it. You don’t know how to respect human suffering.”

Huerta is among a group of undocumented immigrants traveling across the country in a caravan to highlight their situation and those of others still living in the shadows. Before landing in Alabama, the ragtag caravan made stops in Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee. Their ultimate goal is the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., where they intend to press their concerns.

Moments before Huerta spoke, another group of five women stood up and turned their backs on the commission as Kobach began his testimony. They wore shirts that spelled out “stop hate.”

Bob Miller / for NBC News

Secretary of State Kris Kobach of Kansas addresses the commission during a briefing on civil rights effects of state immigration laws held by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights in Birmingham, Alabama on August 17, 2012.

Emotions ran high later when protesters called Kobach, a “liar,” with Mayra Rangle, 32, telling commissioners: “It’s a shame you invited him and him,” as she pointed to those invited to speak.

After the hearing, Kobach said the protesters had the right to voice their opinions, but the interruptions were disrespectful.

“It’s inherently rude and it disrespects the American process of deliberation and careful policy making,” he said. “It’s really unfortunate when one side in a debate results to personal insults instead of bringing information and making a coherent point.”

When asked why he didn’t respond to them when challenged, he said: “I was there to respond to the panel not the protesters.”

During the protest, the civil rights commissioners argued about the presence of the demonstrators, with Commissioner Todd Gaziano, a Heritage Foundation fellow, denouncing the lack of security and Commissioner Michael Yaki, of Michael Yaki Consulting, noting the demonstrators were acting in the form of non-violent protest.

Bob Miller/for NBC News

Civil Rights commissioner Michael Yaki addresses a crowd of mostly undocumented immigrants in downtown Birmingham, Ala.

Gerardo Torres, 41, a Mexican who lives in Phoenix, said after the hearing that those who wrote the immigration laws were out of touch.

“I don’t think they have ever been in contact with regular people,” he said. “At the end of the day, I think they just go back to their gated community. … They are not in touch with reality.”


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