Monday, August 31, 2009

"Muckety-muck": No charges filed against Koch Food officials

The online edition of the Middletown Journal has a story about the aftermath of the August 28, 2007 raid at the Koch Food Chicken, Inc. processing plant in Fairfield, Ohio. At the time, it was one of the largest employer immigration raids in government history. More than 160 employees were arrested and prosecuted for identity theft and other crimes. The vast majority of them were also deported. Additionally, ICE served search warrants against the company for alleged immigration violations. It was the cumilation of a two year investigation of the company by federal, state, and local law enforcement. At the time of the raid, Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones was quoted as saying,"I've been saying for 2-1/2 years 'We're coming, ... don't hire illegals, don't violate the law.'" and "I personally have no sympathy for you whatsoever, None. Zero."

After the raid, the Assistant Secretary of ICE stated that "Unlawful employment is one of the key magnets drawing illegal aliens across our borders."

Two years later, all charges against the company were dropped. Attorneys for Koch Food stated, "When a good company like Koch, a viable company to the community providing lots of jobs and lots of taxes to the community, tries to do the right thing they get held up in governmental muckety-muck."

Friday, August 28, 2009

Immigration from another perspective

The August 22, 2009 online edition of the Chicago Tribune describes a "coming-out party of sorts for Asian immigrant organizations in Chicago that have been gaining momentum in their efforts to mobilize a community of roughly 350,000 Asian and Pacific island immigrants in a region long unwilling to publicly air its problems."

Many in that community express concern for issues like temporary work visas for high-tech jobs and family reunification. The article also describes Mike K., 19, an undocumented Korean immigrant hoping for reforms to allow students in the country illegally to receive conditional permanent residency. Mike won a high-school contest sponsored by Google Corp., in which the search engine company sought new ideas for its home page. Unfortunately, his entry could not ultimately be submitted because of his illegal status.

While the immigration debate in the United States tends to center around of immigrants from Spanish- speaking countries, it is important to remember that the United States has immigrants from all over the world. Please continue to pray for our elected leaders and for one another as we seek to resolve the many issues that plague our immigration system.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Christian Iraqi refugees: From Baghdad to the Border; to lockup...

The Global Post has an interesting article about Iraqi refugees trying to make it to the United States through Mexico. The violence and political unrest in Iraq has created a refugee crisis but the wait times for approval into the United States are long and the process in not guaranteed. As a result, many Iraqis have fled their country and have tried to enter the United States illegally. According to the article sophisticated human smuggling operations are springing up:

Demand is strong among those who can afford to pay, especially so among Iraqi Christian refugees. Many Iraqis who have made the illegal journey to the U.S. have been Chaldean and Assyrian Christians, some 400,000 of whom were driven from their homes by Islamic extremists. Their U.S. advocates say this illicit traffic will continue because of rising frustration.

We are truly blessed to live in the United States and many come from all around the world share in these blessings. Our U.S. Congressional representatives and Senators will be looking at immigration reform within the next year. They will have to make the tough decisions on who is allowed to come, go, stay, or leave the United States. Please pray for them. May the Lord give them wisdom.

Monday, August 24, 2009

ESL Teacher Training Schedule August - September 2009

Photo used under Creative Commons from elliotcable.

If you want to teach ESL but don't know where to begin, ISAAC invites you to attend ESL teacher training. Several classes are being offered by Literacy ConneXus and Teaching English with Excellence (TEX) in August and September 2009. This is a tremendous ministry opportunity for you and your church:

August 14-15, 2009
Lake Jackson,Texas
Basic ESL Training for New Teachers of Adult Students
Contact: Robin Feistel at

August 21-22, 2009
Round Rock,Texas
Basic ESL Training for New Teachers of Adult Students
Contact: Robin Feistel at

August 28-29, 2009
Lubbock, Texas
Beginning ESL Training
Alliance Church
5825 34th St
Lubbock,TX 79407
Contact: Lester Merriwether at 817 696-9898 or

August 28-29, 2009
Harlingen, Texas
Beginning ESL Training
Trinity Baptist Church
Contact: Lester Merriwether at 817 696-9898 or

August 28-29, 2009
Basic ESL Training for New Teachers of Adult Students
Contact: Robin Feistel at

September 11-12, 2009
Basic ESL Training for New Teachers of Adult Students
Contact: Robin Feistel at 936-564-6017

September 18-19, 2009
Houston, Texas
Basic ESL Training for New Teachers of Adult Students
Contact: Robin Feistel at 936-564-6017

Friday, August 21, 2009

An invasion or a mission field?

Photo used under Creative Commons from MattJP.

ISAAC is not an advocacy group and does not have a political agenda. We pray that each Christian choose their political stance on immigration reform based upon prayer and the dictates of their conscious.

ISAAC does, however, have a spirtual agenda. ISAAC helps churches minster to the immigrant community by providing accurate information on the issues, establishing and supporting ESL/Citizenship classes, and by assisting with the federal "recognition" process. With this spiritual agenda comes two assumptions: 1) God is ultimately in control of all things in this world; and 2) as Christians we are commanded to, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." Matthew 28:19.

I can't fathom God's intentions but I do know that there are 10-12 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. I also know that many of these immigrants need Christ. So how do I present the Gospel and become the presence of Christ in these people's lives? That's the really important question isn't it?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Another Immigration Myth Debunked: Health Care Reform = Free health care for illegal aliens.

Still from the Patterson-Gimlin Bigfoot film shot in Humboldt county in 1967, via Wikipedia used under Creative Commons from Thomas Roche.

Photo of Garden Gnome used under Creative Commons from Kmoney56.

A very common email, call, and discussion I have revolves on the proposed health care reform legislation in Congress. There is a belief that the bill would provide free health care to illegal aliens. This is a myth. Nevertheless, it keeps getting repeated by media.

For example, health care protester, Heather Liggett, was on National Public Radio (NPR) on Friday, August 7, 2009. Ms. Liggett described some of the questions and comments at Congressman Lloyd Doggett’s town hall meeting in Austin, Texas held earlier this month:

“My mom's question was why aren't you reading the bills before you sign them? And his response was that he helped co-sponsor this particular bill, which led into another question, you co-sponsored allowing illegals to get free medicine?”
NPR then interviewed Bill Adair with PolitiFact about the truth of the assertion that the proposed health care bill, HB 3200, gives free health care to illegal immigrants.

"We gave that our lowest rating on our Truth-O-Meter: a pants on fire," he says. "To the contrary, there's language [in the bill] that says that undocumented aliens would not be eligible for the credit under this plan." The claim came from a chain e-mail that included many other assertions…

Indeed, Section 246 entitled, “No Federal Payment for Undocumented Aliens”, states:

Nothing in this subtitle shall allow Federal payments for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States.

Please keep separating the wheat from the chaff and consider your sources of information as you form your opinions about immigration issues.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Healthcare and undocumented immigrants: What about EMTALA?

Photo used under Creative Commons from brykmantra.

As we have stated before, undocumented immigrants are not eligible for federal welfare benefits like Medicaid. Ah ha! Some may say, what about EMTALA? EMTALA is the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act of 1986. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services:

In 1986, Congress enacted [and President Ronald Reagan signed] the Emergency Medical Treatment & Labor Act (EMTALA) to ensure public access to emergency services regardless of ability to pay. Section 1867 of the Social Security Act imposes specific obligations on Medicare-participating hospitals that offer emergency services to provide a medical screening examination (MSE) when a request is made for examination or treatment for an emergency medical condition (EMC), including active labor, regardless of an individual's ability to pay. Hospitals are then required to provide stabilizing treatment for patients with EMCs. If a hospital is unable to stabilize a patient within its capability, or if the patient requests, an appropriate transfer should be implemented.

EMTALA also does not allow a hospital to refuse otherwise eligible emergency treatment because of someone's citizenship or immigration status. EMTALA was passed without funding, however, and states complained that it was an "unfunded govermental mandate." As a result, Congress passed the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 (MMA). The MMA does provide $250 million dollars per year to reimburse hospitals for their unrecoverable costs for emergency care to undocumented immigrants under EMTALA.

It is important to remember that EMTALA was designed to prevent "patient dumping" from private hospitals to public ones. It was not designed as immigration legislation. It was a public policy decision that Congress and President Reagan made. They did not want any patients- U.S. citizens or otherwise-to be refused emergency medical care because of an inability to pay. EMTALA does not provide health insurance for illegal immigrants. EMTALA was enacted to keep patients from dying because of they had no insurance or money to pay for treatment.

So if both Joe Illegal and Joe Citizen are in a car wreck and need emergency care, the hospital is not going to let them die in the waiting room while they verify their immigration status and credit rating. It is correct to say that there are costs associated with EMTALA but according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, all immigrants, including the undocumented, were less likely to visit the emergency room of a hospital than their citizen counterparts.

So once again, please remember that illegal immigrants are not eligible for federal welfare benefits. All people in the United States, regardless of immigration status, are covered under EMTALA.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Citizenship through naturalization

Photo used under Creative Commons from Christian Reed.

In the last couple of posts, we described the acquisition of U.S. citizenship through birth in the United States and for children of U.S. citizens born abroad. Today, we discuss naturalization. Naturalization is the process set up wherein a person of another country comes to the United States and becomes a citizen. The United States Constitution, Art. 1, Sec. 8, cl. 4., states that Congress has the duty to "establish a uniform Rule of Naturalization." This is a duty specifically for Congress. As a result, the rules of naturalization can change from time to time.

Generally a person must be a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) for a set period of time before they are eligible to apply for citizenship. A useful guide to the process is published by the USCIS. If the LPR submits an acceptable application, then they must demonstrate the ability to read, write, and speak basic English. Additionally, the applicant must pass the Citizenship Exam. While the test is generally an oral exam, you can take a sample online test here.

There are some exceptions to the LPR requirement. For example, the President may issue an Executive Order in times of combat and hostilities that allows a person who has served honorably to apply for citizenship.

A naturalized citizen has all the rights and privileges of other U.S. citizens. There is one notable exception, however. A naturalized citizen may not be elected President of the United States. See Article 2, Sec. 1, cl. 5 of the United States Constitution. So unless there is a constitutional amendment, Govenor Arnold Schwarzenegger of California, for example, is ineligible to run for president.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

US Citizenship Part 2: Children born abroad to U.S. Citizens.

Photo used under Creative Commons from Dru Bloomfield-At Home in Scottsdale

In our last post we discussed "birth right" or natural born citizenship. This type of citizenship is derived from the U.S. Constitution. A second way a person acquires U.S. Citizenship is through birth abroad to one or more parents that are U.S. citizens. This type of citizenship is distinct in that it does not come from the U.S. Constitution. Rather citizenship of this type is a creature of statute and is controlled by Congress.

Typically this type of citizenship is passed from a parent citizen to their child, born abroad, if the parent has resided within the United States for a set period of time. It is a fairly complex area and there are numerous rules related to it. For a good discussion of the ins and outs, click here.

Both types of persons- those born in the United States and those born abroad to U.S. Citizens- are citizens, albeit, their citizenship comes from different legal sources.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Natural Born Controversies

Photo of Former United States Supreme Court Justice Horace Gray used under Creative Commons from Political Graveyard.

There has been a great deal of discussion on talk-radio, cable television, and on the internet surrounding the topic of "natural born" versus "naturalized citizens". This is a fairly meaty topic and will be broken up into several different posts. This first post will discuss natural born citizens or “birth right” citizenship.

In 1868, the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified and became the supreme law of the land. Article 1 of the Amendment states in part:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.

But what does the phrase “and subject to the jurisdiction thereof” mean?

In 1873, a man named Wong Kim Ark was born in San Francisco, California. In 1882, the United States Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act. This law severely limited immigrants from China and barred Chinese immigrants in the United States from naturalization. It was undisputed that Wong Kim’s parents were not U.S. citizens and they were “subject to the jurisdiction of China.” In 1890, Wong Kim departed to China for a temporary visit. He returned a few months later to San Francisco. In 1894, Wong Kim Ark made another temporary visit to China and returned in the summer of 1895. This time, he was refused entry into the United States on the ground that he was not a U.S. citizen and detained aboard the vessel on which he arrived.

Wong Kim Ark filed a petition for habeas corpus in the District Court for the Northern District of California. The then “district attorney for the United States” intervened and asked that Wong Kim Ark not be released because he was inter alia a “subject of the emperor of China.” The trial judge, after an extensive review of the law, held that Won Kim Ark was indeed a U.S. citizen within the meaning of the 14th Amendment because he was born in the United States. The judge then ordered his release. The case was appealed to the United States Supreme Court. After a rigorous review of the law and history of citizenship laws in the United States and England and the history of the 14th Amendment, Justice Horace Gray gave the opinion of the court that the 14th Amendment, “has conferred no authority on congress to restrict the effect of birth, declared by the constitution to constitute a sufficient and complete right to citizenship.” The Supreme Court upheld the lower court’s decision and this has been the law of the land since 1898.

Now there are some commentators that have suggested that since Wong Kim Ark’s parents were in the country legally, birth right citizenship does not pass to children of illegal immigrants. The Supreme Court in the case of Plyer v. Doe disposed of this argument by stating that “no plausible distinction with respect to Fourteenth Amendment ‘jurisdiction’ can be drawn between resident aliens whose entry into the United States was lawful, and resident aliens whose entry was unlawful.” Thus, the Constitution guarantees that children of illegal immigrants, born in the United States, are U.S. citizens. That means Congress cannot pass legislation to change this. Only a constitutional amendment can change birth right citizenship.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Cases (and the resulting lawsuits) for wrongful deportation of U.S. citizens rising.

Photo used under Creative Commons from swanksalot.

The July 27, 2009 edition of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that U.S. citizens are being wrongfully deported by the Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) Service. "When ICE came and detained me, I told the officer I was a citizen," said Ramirez Lopez, 25. "They told me they didn't want to hear it, that I was going to get deported." An ICE officer was reported as saying, "There is no national database (of citizens)," she said. "So we're reliant on the person to provide clear and convincing evidence that they are a citizen."

Whoa! Since when have allowed the government to shift the burden of proof to the accused? Even in deportation proceedings, the burden is on the government to prove that the alien is deportable by "clear and convincing" evidence. Not the other way around.

There is another disturbing trend. See if you can find it in the list of U.S. citizens cited in the article as having been wrongfully deported: Ramirez Lopez, Pedro Guzman, and Rennison Castillo.