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The Law Offices of Angela L. Williams, LLC » A disturbing chain of emails between a constituent and MO Sen Will Kraus shows he does not get it or does not want to

A disturbing chain of emails between a constituent and MO Sen Will Kraus shows he does not get it or does not want to

January 24, 2012 at 11:13 pm
filed under Anchor Baby is a Hate Word, Consular Processing, Deportation, Immigration, List of Shame, Missouri Senate, Politicians making things worse, Sen. Will Kraus (MO State-R), State Based Immigration Laws, State's Rights, Wasting Money
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I have been communicating with a lovely woman who is an ESL teacher in Missouri that was moved to action after reading about our strong showing in Jeff City last week to testify against SB590.  While she could not take off of work to drive there she did prepare a heartfelt letter to send to  Mr. Kraus from the very important point of view of a teacher working with English Language Learners (ELLs) and the chilling effect that this type of bill will have on her interaction with the students and her parents.  I have gotten her permission to post the email exchange, to illustrate how Mr. Kraus, along with others that support his type of legislation are completely ignorant about our actual immigration system.  Even confronted with the clear proof that the assumptions and facts that supposedly are the impetus for this law are actually wrong (not his opinion on immigration mind you but the “facts” he testified that led him to propose this law), Mr. Kraus refuses to even entertain the idea that what he has concocted in his head as the truth is in fact incorrect.  What kind of leader is he that would stubbornly cling to his proposal even when it is proven that the underlying premies is as real as a unicorn.  Speaking of unicorns, it would be easier to convince my 4 year old niece that they do not exist than to get a politician to admit that his research was faulty, his logic is ludicrous, his proposal was ill conceived or that after receiving new information and examining a problem based on that new information he has decided that his old idea is now not a good one.

As Mark Twain said, “you are entitled to your own opinion, not your own facts.”  Mr. Kraus, just because you really really really want something to be true because it fits neatly into your paradigm does not mean it is.  I am sorry.   What I think bothers me the most is that he was sitting in that hearing room listing to all of those people testify.  Community leaders, religious workers, heads of archdiocese, Presidents of School Boards, Former police men, Immigration Attorneys, Community Members, Teachers, Students, Principals, Heads of Organizations that deal with New Refugees, Crime Victims, Domestic Violence.  He sat there and listened to some very emotional testimony and some very fact based and practical of the problems with his law.  He sat there and still he responds like he does on his last email, obviously having done no further research to see if the points that the people who know way more about our immigration system than he does brought up.  Not one inch has he cracked that closed mind in response to some very valid points that were presented in testimony.  Of course he may not have been listening at all because he spent most of the time messing with his smart phone…plants vs. zombies can be so addictive.

It is so tired to hear this same line of “reasoning” from people like him, because it is clear that he has no interest in making a bill that is GOOD for Missouri, in light of the overwhelming number of people who are against the bill.  He has chosen to remain purposeful and willfully ignorant despite all the evidence that was presented against his position.  That is not the mark of an effective leader.  It is not blindly proposing idiotic, costly unfunded mandates and then sticking your fingers in your ears and yelling “I’m not listening I’m not listening” when challenged.  It is about researching an issue before wasting everyone’s time and money by proposing it and then listening to the pros and cons of both sides and revising your proposal according to the new information you have.

So here is the email exchange.  I have left out the ESL teacher’s name at her request so she does not have problems with her district.  Other than that I have not edited at all.  After the exchange I will further explain why Mr. Kraus is wrong.

Original Letter from a Real Missouri ESL Teacher

Sent: Sunday, January 22, 2012 11:20 AM
To: Will Kraus
Subject: SB 590

January 23, 2012

State Senator Will Kraus
201 W. Capitol Avenue
Room 220
Jefferson City, MO 65101

Dear State Senator Kraus,

Imagine being a kindergartner who doesn’t speak English well.  Now, imagine the school staff and ELL (English Language Learners) teacher interrogating you and your family about your immigration status.  Instead of looking forward to school, now, you are scared of the people who are there to help you.  Do you know the saddest part about this scenario?  It is the fact that legislators like you are happy about it because you hope it will scare ELL families out of Missouri.  Not only does this show that you don’t understand what this will do to our economy and schools, but it shows you don’t care.  Shame on you!
Under Title VI, all of these children have a right to a free and appropriate education.  It is my job to teach them English, not be an agent for the I.N.S.  Many of these children are already United States citizens, and they want nothing more than to fit in.  However, you aim to separate them and make them targets of harassment.  The sad thing is that you will only make those who fit a racial profile the targets.  No one will ever question the blond-haired, blue-eyed ELL student that I have now, so this is just a new form of discrimination.
SB 590 proposal is based on Alabama’s law, which was shown to affect school attendance and the economy of the state.  The law has already been challenged in court, and the school provisions to check immigration status have not held up.  Therefore, you are proposing a law that will waste Missouri taxpayer money when it goes to court.  Why not use that money for education when we are not able to fund the school formula?  Is politics worth more to you than the education of Missouri’s students?
Your law proposal states that you want to know how much it costs to educate illegals or children of illegals at the expense of United States citizens.  This just proves that you don’t get it.  Most of these children are United States citizens because they were born here.  It doesn’t matter whether their parents are legal or not.  Those that are not citizens or may be illegal deserve the right to an education without harassment.  As a teacher, I give my best effort to educate all of my students and treat them all the same.  No matter what you decide, I refuse to enforce your racist law at the expense of terrified kindergartners.

Sincerely,

XXXXXXX XXXXXX
Missouri ELL Teacher

 

Senator’s Response

From: “Will Kraus” <Will.Kraus@senate.mo.gov>
To: XXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Subject: SB 590
Date: Mon, Jan 23, 2012 8:55 pm

XXXXXXXXXX,

You must be referring to a different bill.  No part of SB 590 asks school staff to “interrogate” children and their families.  Currently parents are asked for proof of residency in the district.  We are only asking for proof of citizenship of every child and then asking the school to document the number of non-citizen children that attend that school.  No teacher, ELL or otherwise, will be at all involved in that process.

My door is always open,

Will Kraus

 

Response from Missouri ESL Teacher

 

Sent: Monday, January 23, 2012 9:14 PM
To: Will Kraus
Subject: Re: SB 590

 

Mr. Kraus.

Once again, you show how little you understand about how public schools and ELL programs operate.  Since many parents of ELL students do not speak English well, we often have to assist in enrollment.  This means that we would be forced to ask questions about their immigration status.  If you believe that this would not set an antagonistic relationship with these parents and kids, then you need to do further research and talk to ELL teachers.

Sincerely,

XXXXXXXXXX

Mr. Kraus’ Response (Now snippy)

From: Will Kraus
Sent: Jan 24, 2012 10:00 AM
TO: XXXXXXXXXX
Subject: RE: SB590

XXXXXXXX,

 

You are right.  I do not understand why it is a burden to be asked your immigration status.  It is a simple fact, nothing more.  You are either a citizen or not.  If not, you are either documented or not.  If you are documented showing that documentation is not a burden.  If you are not, it is a simple answer to a simple question.  Since we all agree federal law requires any child an education and since this bill prohibits any use of the information gathered other than to collect numerical data for DESE, I don’t understand why anyone would be afraid of that process.

 

The area undisputed is that lack of federal enforcement of current law costs Missouri taxpayers money.  I don’t believe attempts to quantify that amount are at all misguided.

 

My door is always open,

 Will Kraus
Why Mr. Kraus is wrong.
By the way he listen to me and Immigration Attorney Stephen Blower testify about this exact thing exactly one week ago.  And that testimony prompted a rather long Q & A between Mr. Blower and Sen. Brian Nieves.  But then again, as I said he was messing with his smart phone most of the hearing and was, at best, mildly interested in what people were saying, so it is possible that although I was sitting less than 2 feet away from him he probably was too involved in his phone to really listen.
Mr Kraus testified and apparently still believes, despite our testimony, that proving someone’s immigration status is as easy as showing a utility bill to prove you physically live in the district.  He claims that this won’t cost anyone any additional money to put into action and won’t take any resources and it is as simple as plopping down a utility bill.
Apparently all of us immigration lawyers, specialized immigration courts with judges who do nothing but hear these cases and trial attorneys who do nothing but these cases, the members of the Board of Immigration Appeals, all the Federal Appellate Judges across the country, the Supreme Court, all the USCIS agents and adjudicators, the service center workers, the CPB agents and ICE agents the Consular Officers all over the world, the State Department, the Justice Department, the Attorneys who work for the Justice Department working on Federal Appeals are totally missing something easy because we all spend an extraordinary amount of time and money trying to determine the immigrate status of people all over the world and within the United States and according to Will Kraus it is “a simple answer to a simple question.”  We are all obviously wasting our time and everyone’s money and clearly are not as clever nor know nearly as much about our system as this state rep who has a bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration and a Minor in Military Science from Central Missouri State University.
Let me propose several scenarios and lets lay legal or not legal, since it is so black and white.
1.  Maria, age 9 and her mom come to the US on a B1/B2 visa with an I-94 authorizing a stay of 6 months to visit Maria’s Grandparents.  While here during the 6 months the Grandmother, who is an LPR, gets sick and Maria’s mom decides she needs to stay in the US longer than 6 months.  Prior to the expiration of the I-94 Maria’s Mom files a form I-539 application to extend or change non immigrant status.  Since the trip is lasting longer than they expected Maria’s mom decides to enroll Maria in school so she does not fall behind since there is no one in Mexico to care for Maria and it is not possible to send Maria back alone.  At the time she enrolls in school her I-94 is expired, but her vis is still valid and her I-539 is pending but she only has a receipt showing it was filed.  Legal or Not legal…and if legal WHAT document should she slap down on the principal’s desk to show this?
2.  Jana and Michael are 2 orphans from The Sudan who are in the United States in foster homes.  In a fit of insanity inspired by the many children Brad and Angelina have adopted Mary and John brought Jana and Michael from The Sudan after going through the process of adopting them in The Sudan while on a Mission trip with their church last summer.  They bring the kids, who were living in an orphanage sponsored by their church, on legal visa for adopted children.  However once in the United States they fail to finish the process and finalize either the adoption or the Residency of the Children because they immediately begin having problems with the kids, who are completely traumatized and exhibit out of control and aggressive behavior after having to hide in a tree while their whole village was massacred by rebel forces with machetes.  The hid there for days eating bugs listening to their family and friends bleed to death until they  are spotted by forces several days later.  The spend several year being forced to be Child Soldiers and participate in all sorts of heinous atrocities until they are rescued by some missionaries and placed in this home to rehabilitate child soldiers.  Because their behavior is more than Mary and John bargained for they eventually give up their potential parental rights and turn the kids over to the state.  Legal or Not Legal?  And if legal what document would show this?
3.  Jose and his family all sneak across the Mexican US border and make their way to Lee’s Summit where they live in an apartment, work, pay taxes and do not cause any problems.  There are 2 kids born in Mexico and later have 1 child born in the United States.  One day, 11 years after they arrive,  they are all driving in their minivan, which is properly plated and has insurance, and they are rear ended.  Because it is Lee’s Summit Jose and his wife are arrested and immigration is notified.  They pick up Jose and his wife issue them NTA’s give them a signature and give them a court date for 10 months in the future.  They are required to attend this court date and remain in the US until the removal proceedings are completed.  Similarly, both Jose and his wife qualify to present against removal called cancellation of removal.  The kids are not arrested because they are minor and essentially “let go.”  Legal or not legal?  What type of paper would they be able to produce to show this?  What about the kids?  The ones from Mexico? the USC kid?  How does the status of the parents factor into this equation of how much is spent to educate the US Citizen, who can, in fact, just slap a birth certificate from Missouri down for the principal to see?  What if dad wins his trial and mom doesn’t?  how does that change the equation?  What if they both win?  now what about the children who were born in Mexico?  What if the parents, after winning apply for the kids, but here is no visa available for 10 years?  How does that change?  What if they have to appeal?  What if the only “document” they have is proof of their next court date?  Will the school have to recheck the documents on that date?  Do the parents have to initiate this or does the school?  Does the school have to keep track of the dates all these visas expire and recheck to see if they get renewed on time?
4.  Alek escapes her small village in africa that practices FGM and stows away on a ship bound for the US.  She somehow manages to survive the journey and arrives in the US as a 16 year old with no parents.  She is immediately caught by immigration, given status as a Special Juvenile Immigrant or Unaccompanied Minor, and put into one of the group homes for minors.  She has a distant aunt who is finally located and takes custody of her.  She is given a court date in Missouri that she attends and has her case administratively closed until she is 18.  At this point…Legal or NOt legal?  What document would prove it?  What if she files of asylum immediately but has to wait the 120 days of processing before she has the ability to apply for a EAD, which takes 10 months to actually arrive because of mistakes by USCIS on the spelling of her name?  What if she files nothing until she is notified at age 18 that she has to go back to court?  What is her status?
5.  Jaime is a LPR and has been since he was 2 years old.  Both his parents are LPR’s and he has a USC little sister.  When Jaime is 12 his parent’s house burns down and his immigration documents along with all of his parent’s immigration documents are destroyed.  He is totally legal, but school enrollment is coming up.  How is he going to prove his status or the status of his parents?  What document is going to be sufficient?  What if the family immediately scrapes together the $1350 it will cost to replace all the LPR Cards.  The Processing time is 3-5 months.  How are they to prove their status during that time? Does the school have to keep checking? Do they get some type of pro-rated number in this equation that is going o be extrapolated from this data because they can’t prove their status for part of the year?  What if over a year later they still do not have their cards because uSCIS claims they sent the card to the address of the house that burnt down, despite the fact that a different address was written on the application?  What if there is a mistake on the new cards?
6.  Jeff is from England and is here with his family on the VWP, they decide to enroll the kids in school because Jeff is looking for a job.  What document will be necessary for a child or their parents from a VWP country?  Legal or Not Legal?
7.  Kevin comes from Romania on a J visa cultural exchange bringing his son on a J3, His J requires 2 years of foreign residency after the termination of his program.  At the time Kevin enrolls his son in a Missouri School his original J will expire in 1 week.  Legal or not legal?  How is Kevin and his son calculated in the equation that supposedly tells how much money Missouri taxpayers are spending?  Does the school have to recheck in 1 week? What if it was going o expire in 2 months?  Do they need to keep track of that date?  What if Kevin meets a USC girl and they get married and she applied for AOS for both Kevin and his son as well as a waiver for the 2 year residency requirement?  They will not find out the results for months and well after the expiration of the Js.  Legal or Not?  What document is necessary?  What if they later get approved how will they be calculated in the equation?  What if they get denied?
8.  Marco was born in Germany on a Military base to a USC mom and Dad, he has a military BC and a birth abroad BC.  Are the schools going to be able to recognize these forms?  What if he was born in a German hospital rather than on the base?  What if his parents were simply on vacation? What if Mom was German who met USC Dad while dad was stationed in Germany and Dad is killed in action before the citizenship/immigration process for mom and son are finished…is Son a USC? Son comes to the US on a VWP German Passport to live with Dad’s parents and go to school…What would prove son’s status?
9.  USC man adopts a child from Cuba and officially adopts him and starts the immigration process.  After the child is given a birth certificate from Missouri listing adopted dad as the father but place of birth in Havana a lawyer submits some paperwork to  USCIS to get him residency.  The lawyer then gets disbarred and actually goes to jail for massive fraud.  The family gets an LPR card, but the lawyer, prior to him going to jail, told the family that the kid is actually a USC.  What is the son’s status?  What document is needed to prove it?
10.  Harvey comes to the US on a TN visa and brings his family.  The passport shows his visa is good for 5 years, but after a year of working at the company in Missouri he is fired.  He does not get another job in the same industry and they continue to live in Missouri?  Kids legal or no?  What documents?  What if he is in the process of getting a new job?
11.  Jack is here on an H2B and his kids and wife have the derivative visas.  The visas are good for a year but Jack gets fired.  Kids, Legal or not?  What would prove it?
12.  Maria is caught trying to cross the border to be with her husband who is dying of kidney failure and needs help managing his daily dialysis.  Maria is given a court date and attends all the courts.  While she is here in proceedings she has a baby who is a USC.  Her husband has TPS.  Her court is administratively closed when she applies for derivative status and gets denied after 2 years of waiting.  She is referred back to removal court while she appeals the TPS denial.  By this time the kid is in School.  What would the parents present to prove heir status?  Is Dad legal or no?  What about Maria?  at some point Maria gets confused about the court date and misses it.  Her and her husband receive a notice in the mail that she has been deported and needs to report to the nearest ICE office.  Once she is there ICE finds out she has no passport and the closest consulate for Honduras is in Chicago and it will take weeks to get it.  They give her instructions to report back monthly with progress reports.  Maria Legal or no?  What documents will prove this?  How is she calculated into this equation?  What if she hires an attorney and the attorney manages to get her deferred action based on her husband’s severe health condition?  Legal or Not?  What if that deferred action lasts several years? What document would she present?
13.  Jennifer and her daughter are both US Citizens born in the United States but are living in hiding from a very violent and abusive husband/father and they have no proof of their citizenship, no birth certificates and no passports.  Legal or no?  How are they going to prove it?  What if they are not USCs they entered illegally and Jennifer is married to a USC who is abusive.  Jennifer has filed a VAWA application for her and her daughter but has not left her husband yet.  Legal or no?  What documents are they going to show?  What if USC abusive husband shows up at school asking to see the proof Jennifer submitted regarding her and her daughter’s immigration status.  Can he get this information?  Who is going to protect these records?
14.  Danielle is sexually assaulted by an uncle.  She and her family are all undocumented, but they work with the police and the police agree to certify a U Visa.  They apply but have not heard anything back.  Legal or no?  What do they need to show to prove it?  Does the school have to see the application, including all the facts of the sexual assault?  Does the school need to follow up every few months to see if the case has been approved or not?
15.  Janet is an LPR.  Her mom and dad are also LPRs and when Janet is 2 her mom gets  job in Canada.  They move to Canada where they live for 7 years, periodically returning of brief vacations but living in Canada.  They do not file takes during these years in Canada.  Eventually mom has a stroke and dies and dad and the kids move back to the US.  They are allowed back in at customs without any questions.  They begin to live in Missouri at that time and continue to live there.  Kids…legal or no?  What about dad?
16.  Jose enters the US without authorization and lives here for 6 years.  He meets and marries Susan a USC and resident of Lee’s Summit, they have a child.  Susan applies for Jose for Residency, a process that takes almost 3 years.  During that time Jose is put into removal proceedings.  After over 2 yeas of going to court and processing papers with USCIS he finally has to leave for Mexico voluntarily.  He later is approved for residency and returns to Lee’s Summit.   During this time what is Jose’s Status?  How would he prove it?  What document would be necessary?  How would his status figure into the equation when he has a USC spouse?  How is the cost of educating the daughter going to be figured with one possibly not legal parent and one legal?  What if Jose is semi legal?  What if he is authorized to be present but does not have a status?  How will the formula change when Jose returns as an LPR after consular processing?
These are not even examples I had to make up but are actually clients of mine or my colleagues.  As you can see non of these situations have an easy answer and all of them are open to interpretation as to “legal” or “Not legal”  and there are many situations where the person is “not legal” but authorized to stay here.  There is not a one size fits all answer.  As much as Will wishes there were there just isn’t.  This supposed formula also does not take into account how much the immigrant family is contributing to the local school system through taxes, person, property, income and sales.  Yes undocumented people pay taxes.  If Will truly wants some sort of meaningful number this is an extremely cumbersome and complicated process of presenting documents, determining status, monitoring things like expiration dates of visa, removal court dates, application statuses and ever changing immigration policy and procedures.  We are talking an army of administrative staff, lawyers and actuaries to figure out the real number of even what Will Kraus would call “illegal.”  Also to truly make this number meaningful you would have to assign different values to situations where there is one legal parent and one not, where the kids are legal but the parents are not and where someone changes status after the initial documents are submitted.  Finally after this number is determined, to be truly accurate you would really need to take that per kid cost and subtract the amount contributed by the parents in taxes.
To do what Will Kraus is proposing, to truly do it and get a number that is in the same time zone as meaningful this is what would have to happen.  Anything less than that…well they law might as well say, just count up the Foreigners and their parents and divide by the per child cost of each district, legal or no it doesn’t really matter.  If that is what he wants, then he really should stop trying to hide behind some lofty excuse of trying to prove to the Federal Congress that they need to do something about immigration because what he is proposing is at best an ill-conceived ridiculous waste of money and resources on our already over taxed public education system thrown together by someone who clearly has no understanding of either immigration, taxes, spending or education and at worst it is exactly what it was in Alabama, a thinly veiled scare tactic to force immigrants, legal or otherwise, out of Missouri…deportation by attrition.
So do me a favor, Mr. Kraus and your supporters, if you are going to blatantly ignore the obvious problems, costs, confusion, resources and impossibility of  what you are asking for after being presented with the facts, and you are going to refuse to change your opinion after you find out your original assumptions are not correct, don’t be so intellectually dishonest to continue to claim that you just don’t understand what the problem is or that this is going to save money or come up with a real or meaningful number.  Say what your true intention and sentiment is behind this law:  To scare immigrants out of Missouri.  Deportation by attrition and screw the costs both financially and socially.

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