LePage calls Obama’s plan for immigrants ‘shameful’

BOCA RATON, Fla. — Maine Gov. Paul LePage says President Obama’s plan to shield millions of immigrants illegally in the United States from deportation is “shameful.”

The Republican governor told the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday that it took him 11 years and $80,000 under current immigration procedures to get a green card for a Jamaican whom LePage took into his home at the age of 17.

LePage said the young man should just have gone to Mexico and “jumped the fence.”

LePage made the remarks in Florida, where he’s attending a Republican Governors Association meeting.

Many other governors also lashed out at Obama’s plans, but clashed over whether their congressional colleagues should threaten a government shutdown in response.

The issue dominated the first full day of the annual meeting, where a half-dozen potential presidential candidates addressed an issue that could weigh heavily in the Republican Party’s wide-open presidential primary.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry called a lawsuit “a very real possibility.”

Advocacy groups preparing for work permit program

SANTA ANA, Calif. — Immigrants in the country illegally already are flooding attorneys’ offices with calls to see if they can qualify under President Obama’s plan.

Alex Galvez, an immigration lawyer in Los Angeles, said he’s going to need to add phone lines to keep up with the demand. Orange County-based immigration lawyer Annaluisa Padilla said she’s getting twice as many calls as usual since buzz intensified over the plan, which would also grant the immigrants work permits.

Advocacy groups are preparing:

 Immigrant advocacy groups in Southern California are planning workshops to inform community members about the order, including a 12,000-person forum at the Los Angeles Convention Center in mid-December, said Jorge-Mario Cabrera, a spokesman for the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles.

 The New Mexico Immigrant Law Center is planning a to start a text messaging system targeting immigrants across the state, especially those in rural areas where legal services might not be easily accessible.

 Immigrant advocates in Florida are planning the same, and will also start a hotline in English and Spanish to keep community members informed.

 In New York, immigration lawyers and nonprofits are preparing to hold clinics to help screen immigrants for the program.

– From news service reports