Friday, March 21, 2014



THIS ISSUE: In surprising votes, New York and Georgia Senates reject bills to extend benefits to illegal aliens

With the focus on the House of Representatives, most state legislatures have moved immigration bills to the back burner in 2014. But a few states have been active, and this week in particular, both New York and Georgia held votes on bills that seemed destined for passage.
After passing one of the nation's toughest illegal immigration enforcement laws in 2011, HB 87, Georgia state legislators have resisted pressure this year to prevent illegal aliens who receive deferred action through the Obama administration's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program from obtaining a limited use driver's license.
In recent weeks, legislators have been pushing a bill that would grant DACA recipients who hold these limited use driver's licenses access to an array of public benefits. Under existing Georgia law, illegal aliens are ineligible for benefits, but HB 1051 would have provided an exception.
The bill easily passed through the House in late-February with only three legislators opposing the measure. It was then rushed to the Senate floor earlier this week with the backing of Senate leader and Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle. But the bill was rejected 34-to-19 by state senators.
In New York, state legislators were hoping to succeed on an issue that their neighboring New Jersey legislators weren't able to accomplish a few months ago. The Empire State already extends in-state tuition benefits to illegal aliens, but a new bill would have extended taxpayer-funded financial aid programs to qualifying illegal aliens and created a scholarship fund for illegal aliens.
In New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie threatened to veto a bill that would have done the same, but New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was eager to sign the bill.
After passing through the state House, the bill was brought to the Senate floor this week, but it fell two votes short of reaching the needed 32-vote threshold. Two Democrats - one from Brooklyn and another from Rochester - joined with Republicans in opposing the legislation. New York was hoping to join four other states that offer financial aid to illegal aliens - California, Washington, Texas, and New Mexico.
A huge thanks to all the activists in Georgia and New York that made phone calls to help stop these two bills! And thanks to all the local activists who visited town halls across the country this week. We've heard some great reports of Members of Congress receiving pushback on amnesty while they've been back in the their home districts.
On a more sour note, the Florida House passed a bill Thursday that would grant in-state tuition to illegal aliens. The bill now moves to the Senate, which has its own in-state tuition bill that's been endorsed by Gov. Rick Scott. The bill, however, is opposed by the chairman of the Senate Education Appropriations Committee, and the policy of granting in-state tuition to illegal aliens is opposed by the Senate President. We'll continue to follow this story.
At the end of last week, the White House announced that it would research ways to make its deportation efforts more "humane." In other words, the Obama administration is looking for a way to halt almost all deportations.
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) has put out a summary of the executive actions already taken by the Obama administration to reduce deportations. In his recent blog, Van Esser has taken Sen. Sessions' summary and combined it with reports from other sources to create a complete list of actions already taken and what steps the administration could take to appease pro-amnesty advocates. The blog is full of valuable information that can be used in discussing the issue with your elected officials and other activists.
FRI, MAR 21st

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