Watch How One Freedom Caucus Member Sees the GOP’s Latino Voter Problem | Immigration Battle | FRONTLINE | PBS


Within the wake of Speaker John Boehner’s abrupt announcement final month that he’ll be stepping down from Congress, Home Republicans are at present scrambling to determine new Congressional management.

However the occasion is going through longer-term inner debates as properly.

Amongst them: Easy methods to interact with America’s rising variety of Latino voters — a bloc that within the 2012 election sided with President Barack Obama by 71 %. His Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, received simply 29 % of that vote.

Tonight, in Immigration Battle — a particular, two-hour documentary introduced by FRONTLINE and Unbiased Lens — Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., a member of the Home Freedom Caucus that is credited with forcing Boehner to step down, speaks about that dilemma with uncommon candor.

And all of it begins with a bit of fruit.

In August 2013 — as immigration reform was shifting via Congress — undocumented immigrants took to Capitol Hill to hand-deliver cantaloupes to 221 Republicans. They did so after a member of the occasion, Rep. Steve King of Iowa, advised an viewers that for each immigrant within the U.S. illegally who turns into a valedictorian, “there’s one other 100 on the market who weigh 130 kilos and so they’ve received calves the dimensions of cantaloupes as a result of they’re hauling 75 kilos of marijuana throughout the desert.”

“I would like you to consider the message and the way in which that message was conveyed,” Mulvaney says about King’s remark on this excerpt from Immigration Battle, addressing a gaggle of voters in Goose Creek, South Carolina. “Take into consideration how offended we had made any individual, to try this, with that assertion. Take into consideration whether or not or not that particular person is ever, ever going to contemplate voting for [a] Republican candidate ever once more.”

Merely put, he says, the occasion has to “cease rewarding the outrageous and the silly.”

“Sooner or later, we’re gonna have to determine that in the event you take your complete African-American neighborhood and write them off, take your complete Hispanic neighborhood and write them off, take your complete Libertarian neighborhood and write them off, take your complete homosexual neighborhood and write them off, what’s left? About 38 % of the nation,” he says. “You can not win with 38 % of the nation.”

Then, Mulvaney provides one other warning:

If the following Republican candidate for President will get the identical proportion of the Hispanic vote that Mitt Romney received [in Texas], we are going to lose Texas — not in 2024, not in 2020, however in 2016 … And if we lose Texas, of us, I’ve received information for you, we’re by no means going to elect a Republican president once more.

Immigration Battle — from acclaimed impartial filmmakers Shari Robertson and Michael Camerini — premieres tonight on PBS. Drawing on uncommon, candid entry to Democrats and Republicans all through 2013 and 2014, the movie reveals the untold story of the push for bipartisan immigration reform after President Obama’s reelection — and exhibits simply how shut Congress actually got here to passing a invoice, earlier than Obama’s govt motion redrew the battle strains.

With political dialogue round immigration extra polarized than ever within the runup to the 2016 presidential election, Immigration Battle is a robust piece of context for an ongoing nationwide battle. Examine your native PBS listings for airtimes.


Patrice Taddonio

Patrice Taddonio, Digital Author & Viewers Growth Strategist, FRONTLINE



Has the U.S. Really Shifted on Deportations? | Immigration Battle | FRONTLINE | PBS


After six years of taking a harder stance on deportations, the Obama administration final yr modified its coverage on which undocumented immigrants it will goal.

“Felons, not households,” the president mentioned final November. “Criminals, not youngsters. Gang members, not a mother who’s working laborious to offer for her children. We’ll prioritize, similar to regulation enforcement does each day.”

The administration issued new pointers on who ought to high the listing for removing: threats to nationwide safety and other people with felony convictions. Officers have been directed to make others decrease priorities, resembling these with young children or who’ve served within the army, and victims of home violence or human trafficking, who can qualify for particular visas.

However almost a yr later, officers on the Division of Homeland Safety’s division of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) don’t at all times seem to comply with these priorities, as a substitute slating for removing individuals with longstanding ties to their communities, no prison data, or those that doubtlessly qualify for asylum or different types of refuge within the U.S., based on interviews with immigration attorneys and preliminary federal information.

“They’re purported to conduct a assessment across the substance of the case,” mentioned Paromita Shah, affiliate director of the Nationwide Immigration Undertaking. “And what now we have present in our expertise, and that is fairly constant throughout the board, is that ICE continues to disregard all components — besides the detrimental ones.”

ICE mentioned it makes removing choices based mostly on the information it has on the time, however doesn’t have the capability to completely examine the main points of every case.

“U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is targeted on sensible, efficient immigration enforcement that prioritizes the removing of prison aliens, current border crossers and egregious immigration regulation violators, resembling those that have been beforehand faraway from america,” mentioned Jennifer Elzea, an ICE spokeswoman.

Whereas ICE hasn’t but launched information for 2015, a take a look at preliminary information means that the majority of the people that ICE requested native regulation enforcement to detain should not have prison convictions.

Final November, the Obama administration formally ended Safe Communities, a program that allowed ICE to difficulty detainers, or requests to carry individuals in state and native custody that the company believed have been within the U.S. illegally, based mostly on biometric information obtained throughout their arrests. Roughly 340 jurisdictions had refused to cooperate with this system, ICE mentioned, which spurred the choice to close it down.

The brand new Precedence Enforcement Program, or PEP, launched in November, nonetheless permits ICE to difficulty detainers based mostly on biometric information, however solely asks native regulation enforcement to inform federal officers when they’re making ready to launch somebody who poses a risk. ICE mentioned that has introduced “over half” of these jurisdictions again on board, though it didn’t provide a selected quantity. 

Whereas there isn’t but clear information on who ICE has requested to detain, an evaluation by researchers at Syracuse College of seven,993 detainers issued in April 2015 confirmed that 67 p.c of individuals had not been convicted of a criminal offense. About 15 p.c had been convicted of probably the most critical offenses. ICE offered just one month of information for the reason that new memo took impact.

Complicating the image is the higher numbers of people that have come to the U.S. from Central America, and should have credible asylum claims however stay in danger for deportation, attorneys and advocates say. Attorneys say they fear that girls and youngsters in household detention facilities, in addition to others swept up by ICE, could also be deported earlier than they’ve an opportunity to make a case, both for asylum or different aid.

“We’ve to go in and principally combat tooth and nail for every case,” mentioned Mony Ruiz-Velasco, an immigration lawyer in Chicago. “[We] spend an unlimited quantity of sources to cease deportations on circumstances that aren’t priorities. And so I simply can not think about what is occurring to all of the individuals that aren’t represented.”

Nuvia is one case that Ruiz-Velasco has been combating for. A 43-year-old mom of 4, Nuvia got here to the U.S. from Guatemala illegally for the primary time in 1995. Nuvia requested that her final title not be revealed for security and privateness causes.

She stayed for greater than a decade, marrying and having youngsters, earlier than she returned house to bury her father in 2011. When Nuvia returned to the U.S. in 2013, she mentioned she was held captive in a house the place she was compelled to work and was sexually assaulted, based on an affidavit she offered to immigration officers.

After two weeks, Nuvia mentioned she was in a position to escape, however was finally apprehended by immigration officers. She has since been slated for removing. She was allowed to return to her household whereas she waits for a verdict. Due to the courtroom backlog, her case gained’t go earlier than an immigration choose till 2019.

Nuvia worries every day about being despatched again to Guatemala. She stays at house, she says, and has fallen prey to despair. With assist from Ruiz-Velasco, Nuvia has utilized for a T visa, which is reserved for victims of human trafficking. She hopes to listen to a verdict within the coming months.

“I don’t exit on my own for any cause,” Nuvia mentioned. “It’s not a life, you already know. It doesn’t go away.”

ICE wouldn’t remark straight on the case. Her lawyer, Ruiz-Velasco, mentioned Nuvia doesn’t match the company’s high classes for removing. “She’s not a precedence for immigration in any sense of the phrase,” she mentioned.


Sarah Childress

Sarah Childress, Former Collection Senior Editor, FRONTLINE



America’s Immigration Battle By the Numbers | Immigration Battle | FRONTLINE | PBS


Greater than 2 million undocumented immigrants have been deported since President Barack Obama took workplace, a quantity that lawmakers on each aspect of the aisle agree factors to a damaged immigration system. A variety of options has been proposed, every part from rising deportations and strengthening the border, to increasing protections for tens of millions within the nation illegally. For now, the push for complete reform is stalled in Congress. However when the talk resurfaces, listed here are a number of figures that might be key to the talk.

There have been an estimated 11.3 million undocumented immigrants residing in the USA in 2014 — down from a peak of 12.2 million in 2007 — a determine that is the same as about 3.5 % of the inhabitants.

Mexicans make roughly half of this inhabitants, however lately, the variety of undocumented immigrants arriving from Mexico has truly fallen off, whereas the variety of immigrants making the reverse journey has pulled about even, based on an evaluation by the Pew Analysis Heart. In the meantime, the variety of immigrants from Central America has surged, from 354,000 in 1980 to 3.2 million in 2013.

In complete, roughly 350,000 new undocumented immigrants enter the nation every year, based on Pew.

After immigration reform stalled in Congress in 2014, President Obama introduced a sequence of govt actions designed to guard as many as 5 million unauthorized immigrants from deportation. One measure was designed to supply deferrals for roughly 4 million undocumented dad and mom of Americans or authorized everlasting residents who’ve lived within the U.S. for at the very least 5 years. The plan additionally prolonged a program known as Deferred Motion for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, which permits younger individuals who got here to the U.S. earlier than the age of 16 to use for deportation deferrals and work permits. The deferrals, although, wouldn’t create a path to citizenship.

In February, a federal decide accredited an injunction on the applications in response to a problem by Texas and 26 different states. The plan stays on maintain as the case makes its means by way of the appeals course of.

In 2012, undocumented immigrants collectively contributed $11.84 billion to state and native taxes — roughly 8 % of state and native tax nationwide. That’s based on analysis by the Institute on Taxation and Financial Coverage, or ITEP. Granting lawful everlasting residence to all 11.3 unauthorized immigrants within the nation would increase their state and native tax contributions to $14.04 billion, aligning their tax funds with what the ITEP calls “economically related” U.S. residents.

Deporting all 11.3 million within the U.S. illegally could be far costlier. Separate estimates by the American Motion Discussion board and the Heart for American Progress — two suppose tanks on reverse ends of the political spectrum — every put the value tag for a mass deportation program as little as $103.9 billion and as excessive as $303.7 billion. Based on each organizations, it could take extra 20 years for a mass deportation program to take away all 11.3 million.

Mass deportation — as some political candidates have known as for — might additionally dent the economic system. The Bipartisan Coverage Heart calculates that deporting all present and future unauthorized immigrants would shrink the nation’s workforce by 6.4 %. A coverage that eliminated all unauthorized staff would additionally “harm the housing market, enhance the deficit, and scale back GDP by about 5.7 % over the subsequent 20 years,” based on the research.

The Bipartisan Coverage Heart discovered that complete reform would as a substitute scale back federal deficits by $1.2 trillion over 20 years. It might additionally spur financial development by 4.8 % over the identical interval.

Within the absence of complete reform, the federal government’s immigration efforts have largely centered on securing the border and deportations. Ranging from President Obama’s first full 12 months in workplace in 2009 by way of 2013, the U.S. has deported a mean of 403,563 individuals every year, based on information from the Division of Homeland Safety.

In 2011, the deputy director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement advised a Home subcommittee that it prices a mean of $12,500 to arrest, detain and deport every individual faraway from the U.S. That interprets to roughly $5 billion in spending every year on deportations.

The U.S. and Mexico share a 1,900-mile-long border. In 2009, the Authorities Accountability Workplace calculated that it could value a mean of $3.9 million to safe a single mile of the southern border. No less than $2.4 billion has been allotted to finish about 670 miles of auto and pedestrian fencing. Walling off the remaining 1,300 miles might value an extra $5.1 billion, primarily based on the GAO’s estimates.

The form of any future immigration reform laws will have clear political implications. There are 53 million Hispanics within the U.S. and within the 2012 election, this group made up 10 % of the overall vote. By 2030, Hispanics are anticipated to make up 40 % of the expansion within the eligible voters, based on Pew.

As a voting bloc, Hispanics have overwhelmingly sided with Democrats in nationwide elections. In 2012, for instance, 71 % of Latino voters sided with President Barack Obama whereas solely 29 % voted for his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney.


Sara Obeidat

Sara Obeidat, Affiliate Producer, FRONTLINE



Is It Too Late for Obama On Immigration Reform? | Immigration Battle | FRONTLINE | PBS


President Barack Obama’s pledge to overtake the nation’s immigration insurance policies now hinges on how briskly, if in any respect, the Supreme Court docket considers the primary authorized problem to these reforms.

On Monday, a federal appeals court docket dominated that the administration couldn’t transfer ahead with a plan to present as many as 5 million undocumented immigrants with work permits and safety from deportation.

The result shocked nobody. Nonetheless, proponents of the reforms have been hoping the choice would arrive in time for the administration to petition the Supreme Court docket to resolve the case as early as this spring. If the appeals court docket’s ruling is overturned, that may permit the reforms to be carried out earlier than the president leaves workplace in Jan. 2017. In any other case, the insurance policies face an unsure future within the fingers of the subsequent president.

Reform supporters say they’re optimistic, however authorized consultants say that the timeline could now be too tight for the Supreme Court docket to rule on the case throughout its present time period — except the justices take the weird step of expediting its assessment.

The administration has been battling court docket challenges — and the clock — for the reason that president introduced the coverage, often known as Deferred Motion for Mother and father of Individuals (DAPA), in addition to a separate plan to develop protections for immigrants delivered to america as kids. Obama unveiled the initiatives after complete immigration reform died on Capitol Hill final yr, saying  he would not look forward to Congress to finish its impasse over reform.

The two government actions have been instantly challenged by the lawyer common of Texas in a lawsuit that was joined by 25 different states who mentioned they’d be financially harmed by the initiatives. The states argued that the administration overstepped its authority with the initiatives, wading into policy-making territory usually reserved for Congress.

In February, a federal choose in Texas dominated that the administration should halt the reforms. In Could, a three-member panel of america Court docket of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upheld that injunction in a preliminary resolution. On Monday, its last ruling got here out — a 2-1 resolution towards the Obama administration.

Regardless of the defeat, advocates for reform “breathed an enormous sigh of reduction” when it got here down, mentioned Melissa Crow, authorized director for the American Immigration Council, which filed an amicus transient in favor of the administration’s actions. Supporters had been anticipating the choice towards their case for months — the one query was whether or not it might arrive in time for an enchantment to be made to the Supreme Court docket this yr.

“We knew we needed to have the Fifth Circuit resolution earlier than we might transfer ahead. The beginning gun has now been fired and we’re not in limbo, which is nice,” Crow mentioned.

After the choice got here out Monday, the Division of Justice introduced that it might enchantment the case “as rapidly as potential.” Crow mentioned the division has been getting ready the enchantment for months, and that it might come inside days.

The 26 states concerned within the go well with will then have 30 days to reply to the enchantment — however they’ll additionally search an extension of one other 30 days, mentioned Josh Blackman, a legislation professor at South Texas School of Legislation, who filed an amicus transient supporting the states. The Justice Division is bound to oppose the extension, however Blackman mentioned its possibilities of successful that combat are slim: “I can’t discover any occasion the place the court docket denied a 30-day extension. Typically talking, they’re computerized.”

As soon as the states submit their response, the Supreme Court docket often provides itself about two weeks to assessment a case, after which the justices convene to resolve whether or not to listen to it, mentioned Blackman.

In previous years, instances thought-about by the court docket earlier than Jan. 15 are sometimes heard throughout its present time period, which ends in June; instances that come later are heard within the subsequent time period, which begins in October — too late for the Obama administration to finish the months-long work of implementing the coverage.

Blackman did the maths: If the Justice Division appeals by Nov. 20, the states would have no less than till Dec. 20 to file a short. If they’re granted the conventional 30-day extension, that takes them to the tip of January. That will push the enchantment previous the essential mid-January inflection level.

Even then, although, the Supreme Court docket might nonetheless select to listen to the case this time period, if the justices contemplate it pressing sufficient. However they might not be motivated to rush the query, in response to Blackman.

At difficulty is a “very severe separation of powers difficulty,” he famous, one that may require the court docket to rule on how far a president’s energy for government motion can go — an space of legislation that he mentioned has been gray for many years. The court docket has thought-about such points earlier than, Blackman mentioned, however its common coverage has tended towards making greater choices than it strictly has to.

“I don’t assume they’ll be rushed to resolve such a severe difficulty,” mentioned Blackman, particularly since “this case could go away totally with the subsequent presidential election if a Republican turns into president.”

However Crow famous that the court docket wouldn’t essentially should resolve the chief motion query. As a substitute, it might decide that Texas lacks standing to problem the case.

Texas has argued that it has standing as a result of it must spend extra to difficulty driver’s licenses and supply different state providers to undocumented immigrants protected by the president’s proposals. However the federal authorities has argued that the state is prone to profit from elevated tax income.

In its ruling this week, the bulk for the Fifth Circuit mentioned Texas had standing, noting that the state would lose a minimal of $130.89 for every driver’s license issued to a DAPA beneficiary.

In her 53-page dissent, Choose Carolyn King questioned that argument, and took difficulty with the velocity at which the court docket’s ruling was issued.

“I’ve a agency and particular conviction {that a} mistake has been made,” wrote King. “That mistake has been exacerbated by the prolonged delay that has occurred in deciding this ‘expedited’ enchantment. There isn’t a justification for that delay.”


Katie Worth

Katie Price, Former Reporter, FRONTLINE