Wednesday, December 11, 2013
FROM THE WHITE HOUSE BLOG: Our nation's immigration system is broken – and fixing it is an economic, national security, and moral imperative. That’s why President Obama is deeply committed to working to pass a common sense, comprehensive set of reforms that ensures everyone plays by the same rules. And we want to answer your questions about the issue. On Wednesday, December 11th, Vice President Biden and Cecilia Muñoz, the President’s Domestic Policy Advisor, are sitting down to answer your questions about immigration reform. During the conversation hosted by Bing and Skype, the Vice President and Cecilia will speak with folks from around the country via live Skype Video Call, answer questions submitted through Skype Video and from social media.
What are your questions about immigration reform? Ask a question by Skype Video Message now and join the conversation on Twitter with #AskTheWhiteHouse, then be sure to tune in live on Wednesday, December 11th at 3:45 p.m. ET at Bing.com/WhiteHouse and WhiteHouse.gov/live.
Alleged criminal activity continues to turn up less and less often as the basis for new Immigration Court filings seeking removal orders. So far in fiscal year 2014, only 13.5 percent of individuals have been alleged to be removable based on criminal activity, according to the latest case-by-case court records through November 2013 obtained and analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University. This is down from 14.2 percent during FY 2013 and 15.5 percent in FY 2012. An even smaller proportion -- 3.6 percent, fewer than one out of twenty-five -- have been charged under aggravated felony provisions so far this fiscal year.
According to statistics released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, 5,796 criminal incidents involving 6,718 offenses were reported in 2012 as being motivated by a bias toward a particular race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity/national origin, or physical or mental disability. The statistics, published by the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program in Hate Crime Statistics, 2012, provide data about the offenses, victims, offenders, and locations of the bias-motivated incidents reported by law enforcement agencies throughout the nation. Due to the unique nature of hate crime, however, the UCR Program does not estimate offenses for the jurisdictions of agencies that do not submit reports.
Hate Crime Statistics, 2012, includes the following information:
■ There were 5,790 single-bias incidents. Of these, 48.3 percent were motivated by racial bias, 19.6 percent were motivated by sexual-orientation bias, 19.0 percent were motivated by religious bias, and 11.5 percent were motivated by ethnicity/national origin bias. Bias against disabilities accounted for 1.6 percent of single-bias incidents. There were six multiple-bias hate crime incidents reported in 2012.
■ Of the 3,968 hate crime offenses classified as crimes against persons in 2012, simple assaults accounted for 39.6 percent, intimidation accounted for 37.5 percent, and aggravated assault for 21.5 percent. Ten murders and 15 forcible rapes were reported as hate crimes.
■ There were 2,547 hate crime offenses classified as crimes against property. The majority of these (74.8 percent) were acts of destruction/damage/ vandalism. Robbery, burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, arson, and other offenses accounted for the remaining 25.2 percent of crimes against property.
■ Of the 5,331 known offenders, 54.6 percent were white and 23.3 percent were black. The race was unknown for 11.5 percent, and other races accounted for the remaining known offenders.
■ Most hate crime incidents (32.6 percent) occurred in or near homes. Over 18 percent (18.3) occurred on highways, roads, alleys, or streets; 8.3 percent occurred at schools or colleges; 5.7 percent happened at parking or drop lots or garages; and 4.1 percent took place in churches, synagogues, temples, or mosques. The location was considered other or unknown for 12.8 percent of hate crime incidents. The remainder of hate crime incidents took place at other specified or multiple locations.
The Los Angeles Times reports in a lawsuit that illustrates some of the challenges faced by young people who are able to regularize their immigration status.
Two years ago, Victor Guerrero applied for a job as a prison guard with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. The background check asked whether the applicant had ever used a Social Security number "other than the one you used on this questionnaire.” Guerrero, who was born in Mexico and came to the United States at age 11, disclosed that, at age 15, he took a job in a restaurant using a Social Security number that didn't belong to him. Guerrero used it until he became a legal permanent resident of the United States in 2007. He became a citizen in 2010.
Guerrero was denied the job. In a letter, the corrections department said his use of another person's SSN “shows a lack of honesty, integrity, and good judgment.” Guerrero applied for the job again this year and was denied again.
On Monday, Guerrero filed a discrimination lawsuit against the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and the State Personnel Board. He claims the prison system's policy violates fair employment laws and unfairly hurts Latino job applicants.
Immigrant rights activists say the case could have implications for a wide variety of workers, especially young, undocumented immigrants who are eligible for a federal program that lets them stay in the country for at least two years and work legally. Krsna Avila, legal services manager for Educators for Fair Consideration, an organization that helps undocumented immigrant youths access education and apply for citizenship, said denying Guerrero a job as a prison guard sets a bad precedent.
Guerrero's attorney, Marsha Chien, an attorney at the Legal Aid Society Employment Law Center, said her organization decided to take up Guerrero's case because it frequently hears from previously undocumented immigrants who have achieved lawful status but who are afraid to the tell their employers for fear of retribution.
The Immigration Policy Center, together with the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Arizona and the Department of Sociology at George Washington University, release Bordering on Criminal: The Routine Abuse of Migrants in the Removal System. The reports reflect the findings of the Migrant Border Crossing Study—a binational, multi-institution study of 1,110 randomly selected, recently repatriated migrants surveyed in six Mexican cities between 2009 and 2012. The study exposes widespread mistreatment of migrants at the hands of U.S. officials in the removal system.
Part I: Migrant Mistreatment While in U.S. Custody focuses on the mistreatment of unauthorized migrants while in U.S. custody. Overall, we find that the physical and verbal mistreatment of migrants is not a random, sporadic occurrence but, rather, a systematic practice. One indication of this is that 11% of deportees report some form of physical abuse and 23% report verbal mistreatment while in U.S. custody—a finding that is supported by other academic studies and reports from non-governmental organizations. Another highly disturbing finding is that migrants often note they are the targets for nationalistic and racist remarks—something that in no way is integral to U.S. officials’ ability to function in an effective capacity on a day-to-day basis.
Part II: Possessions Taken and Not Returned focuses on the issue of repatriated migrants’ belongings being taken and not returned by U.S. authorities. Overall, we find that the taking of belongings and the failure to return them is not a random, sporadic occurrence, but a systematic practice. One indication of this is that just over one-third of deportees report having belongings taken and not returned. Perhaps one of the most alarming findings is that, among deportees who were carrying Mexican identification cards, 1 out of every 4 had their card taken and not returned. The taking of possessions, particularly identity documents, can have serious consequences and is an expression of how dysfunctional the deportation system is. Our study finds that migrants processed through Operation Streamline, or held in detention for a week or longer, are most likely to have their possessions taken and not returned.
Comprehensive immigration reform that includes a clear path to citizenship could drastically reduce violence against women and girls in the United States and across the world, according to a new policy brief released by the George Washington University Global Women’s Institute (GWI) and We Belong Together.
The first step in addressing the gaps in U.S. policies that lead to violence against women and girls is to pass comprehensive immigration reform legislation that specifically addresses the issue of gender-based violence, the brief says. Roughly 51 percent of foreign-born individuals in the U.S. and 48 percent of refugees are women, yet only 27 percent of U.S. work visas are granted to women. Migrant women tend to work in service industries, which are not prioritized for visas. Without a visa, women are vulnerable, left open to exploitation from employers and their partners, and often without the means to assert their labor and civil rights. Immigration reform that adequately protects women will strengthen worker protections, no matter an individual’s immigration status.
Immigration reform must also include a clear path to citizenship, according to the brief. Research shows that when granted citizenship, women are more likely to remove themselves from abusive relationships that they previously felt trapped in due to the threat of deportation. Laws must promote immigrant integration into society and ensure that immigrant and refugee survivors of violence and trafficking are properly protected and have access to health and social services.
Comprehensive immigration reform must also reduce the backlog of immigration petitions and support alternatives to detention.
In addition to immigration reform, lawmakers should support policies that remove the causes of violence abroad, which will in turn reduce the need for women and girls to leave their home countries. If passed, the International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA) would advance this goal. IVAWA, which was recently introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives, offers economic and education programs aimed at preventing violence and trafficking while also helping survivors. It would improve humanitarian assistance and provide support for in-country efforts to change attitudes surrounding violence against women. Policies such as IVAWA will not only help change institutional norms leading to the reduction of gender-based violence, but they will also help to reduce strains on the U.S. immigration system.
The Global Women’s Institute The Global Women’s Institute (GWI) at the George Washington University launched in 2012 as part of a university-wide initiative to advance gender equality through interdisciplinary research, education and civic engagement.
We Belong Together We Belong Together is an initiative of the National Domestic Workers Alliance and the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, with the participation of women’s organizations, immigrant rights groups, children and families across the country.
From the Bookshelves: Migration, Environment and Climate Change: Assessing the Evidence edited by Frank Laczko and Christine Aghazarm
Migration, Environment and Climate Change: Assessing the Evidence edited by Frank Laczko and Christine Aghazarm
Gradual and sudden environmental changes are resulting in substantial human movement and displacement, and the scale of such flows, both internal and cross-border, is expected to rise with unprecedented impacts on lives and livelihoods. Despite the potential challenge, there has been a lack of strategic thinking about this policy area partly due to a lack of data and empirical research on this topic. Adequately planning for and managing environmentallyinduced migration will be critical for human security. The papers in this volume were first presented at the Research Workshop on Migration and the Environment: Developing a Global Research Agenda held in Munich, Germany in April 2008. One of the key objectives on the Munich workshop was to address the need for more sound empirical research and identify priority areas of research for policy makers in the field of migration and the environment.
Monday, December 9, 2013
From the White House:
This Wednesday, December 11th, Vice President Biden and Cecilia Muñoz, the President's Domestic Policy Advisor, are sitting down to answer your questions about immigration reform.
During the conversation hosted by Bing and Skype, the Vice President and Cecilia will speak with folks from around the country via live Skype Video Call -- and will answer questions submitted through Skype Video and from social media.
Here's how you can get involved in the conversation:
Ask a question by Skype Video Message
Join us on Twitter using the hashtag #AskTheWhiteHouse
Tune in live on Wednesday, December 11th at 3:45 p.m. ET at WhiteHouse.gov/Live
Latino Leaders to Hold Congress Accountable for Inaction on Immigration
Groups to Intensify Civic Engagement Campaigns
WASHINGTON, DC – One year ago, after the Latino community delivered a historic 10 percent of the national electorate in the 2012 elections, Latino leaders called on Congress to pass commonsense immigration reform backed by voters across the political spectrum. The groups announced a continuing campaign that would push for legislation and rate Congress’ handling of the issue.
After a year of intense civic engagement across the nation on commonsense immigration reform with a path to citizenship, Latino groups representing civil rights, community and labor will keep their pledge to report back to the community on action in the Senate, inaction in the House, and the next steps in the campaign to hold Congress accountable.
The groups will issue in 2014 report cards that will inform the Latino voters on how aggressively our national leaders championed commonsense immigration reform and policies that reflect our national values, or whether they tried to block them. With these report cards, Latinos will be able to determine who deserves their support in the 2014 election cycle.
Hispanic Federation: Jose Calderón, President
Labor Council for Latin American Advancement: Hector Sanchez, Executive Director
League of United Latin American Citizens: Brent A. Wilkes, National Executive Director
Mi Familia Vota Education Fund: Ben Monterroso, National Executive Director
NALEO Educational Fund: Max Sevillia, Director of Policy and Legislative Affairs
National Council of La Raza: Clarissa Martínez-De-Castro, Director, Civic Engagement & Immigration
Voto Latino: Maria Teresa Kumar, CEO/President
Tuesday -- Dec. 10, 2013 -- 11:30 a.m. EST
Capitol Hill - Rayburn 2456; Dial-in: 866-952-7523/ ID: IMMIGRATION
To schedule an interview or request more information, please contact Amanda Bosquez at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (202) 546-2536 ext. 12, or Paula Valle Castanon at email@example.com or (213) 747-7606 ext. 4414.
A curious case is currently under review in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. John Smith, a Canadian vacationer, attempted to enter the United States to visit Arizona where he had been photographing skydiving and motorcycle events for a number of years. CBP officers smelled a rat. He was issued an expedited removal because the "CBP determined that petitioner was inadmissible to the United States pursuant to 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(7)(A)(i)(I), on the basis that he was an immigrant not in possession of a valid entry document who intended to work in the United States as a photographer for compensation."
Smith's counsel entered a habeas petition with district court in Washington State, arguing that non-immigrant Canadians were exempt from expedited removals because they were exempt from having to present valid documentation. In other words, Canadians were not aliens arriving at the border. The district court was unconvinced.
Under subsection 1252(e)(2), the habeas court is limited to determining whether the petitioner is an alien, whether the petitioner was ordered removed under the expedited removal process, and whether petitioner can prove that he is a lawful permanent resident of the United States, refugee or asylee. 8 U.S.C. § 1252(e)(2). “With respect to expedited removal orders, ... the statute could not be much clearer in its intent to restrict habeas review.” Li v. Eddy, 259 F.3d 1132, 1134–35 (9th Cir.2001), vacated on reh'g as moot, 324 F.3d 1109, 1110 (9th Cir.2003); see also de Rincon, 539 F.3d at 1141.
Smith satisfied none of the aforementioned three criteria that allow a habeas challenge to an expedited removal. He nonetheless filed a timely petition with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. They took the petition, perhaps as a test case of first impression, both for the alien exemption of Canadians and institutional bias of the CBP against Canadian visitors and those Canadians working in the US under NAFTA TN visas. Smith went to court with friends, many of whom were interested in the implications of his case for cross-border trade.
The amici brief took aim at the heart of INA 235:
As part of this rule, at 8 C.F.R. § 235.3(b)(2)(i), the Attorney General specifically exempted from expedited removal those “ for whom documentary requirements are waived under ... [8 C.F.R.] § 212.1.”
Given this regulation, Amici assert that judicial review is available where CBP has abused its authority and placed one “for whom documentary requirements are waived under… [8 C.F.R.] 212.1” into expedited removal.
The brief, intent on pointing out the northern border is between two friendly nations with a half billion dollars of commerce a year, moves in for the kill in its conclusion:
Canadian citizens must be able to approach the U.S. border without fear of being subjected to a five year ban for which there is no recourse. The District Court’s decision denying judicial review of CBP’s imposition of expedited removal on a non-immigrant Canadian not only renders 8 C.F.R. § 235.3(b)(2)(i) meaningless, it has a significant longterm chilling effect on the USA/Canada trade relationship.
Oral arguments were held in August 2013 and a ruling is imminent. Strangely enough, no Canadian authority or individual came forward during the 60 day period of review when the expedited removal statute was hatched in 1997 by Congress. Will the Ninth point to that crucial window of (lost) opportunity to uphold the immunity of the expedited removal process from challenges? Or will the court agree with Smith that Canadians, because they are exempt from presenting valid documentation, cannot be deemed an alien and thus subjected to an expedited removal under INA 235? If Smith wins, will all Canadians without a criminal record who were previously subjected to expedited removal be cordially invited to cross the border, pretty as a picture?
This is a case with potential profound ramifications for immigration reform. For example, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, who sold himself as a moderate Republican to voters in 2010, has suggested an Urban Pioneer Visa program that would invite ambitious immigrants to settle in de-populated areas of the state.
It remains to be seen what such a program would look like. Would TN visa requirements be loosened to at last allow self-employed go-getters into the United States if they're willing to do their thing in places like Detroit or Flint or Buffalo? Would there at last be some sort of legal path to LPR status from the TN? What protections would be built into that path to protect against expedited removal on the suspicion of dual intent (See Khan v. Holder (2010))? And because many of these urban pioneers would no doubt have roots in Canada, there would need to be a multi-entry mechanism that did not require advance parole to come and go, perhaps involving an advanced integration with the NEXUS program.
By Timothy Dugdale, Ph.D., Founder, Atomic Quill Media
The first book-length examination of immigrant admissions from a feminist philosophical perspective. Higgins argues that a different set of immigration policies will be just for each country and concludes with concrete recommendations for policymaking.
What moral standards ought nation-states abide by when selecting immigration policies? Peter Higgins argues that immigration policies can only be judged by considering the inequalities that are produced by the institutions - such as gender, race and class - that constitute our social world. Higgins challenges conventional positions on immigration justice, including the view that states have a right to choose whatever immigration policies they like, or that all immigration restrictions ought to be eliminated and borders opened. Rather than suggesting one absolute solution, he argues that a unique set of immigration policies will be just for each country. He concludes with concrete recommendations for policymaking.
Peter Higgins is Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Department Member in Women's and Gender Studies at the Eastern Michigan University.
Sunday, December 8, 2013
It has been a year since a plane crash killed singer Jenni Rivera, the Mexican-American singer and reality television star known as “the Diva of Banda,” and six others. New details have emerged about what might have caused the plane to crash in a mountainous area of northern Mexico. Here is the latest on the investigation.
Lawrence Downes has a thought-provoking piece in the New York Times on the border fence at Nogales. It begins:
"The fence that separates Nogales, Ariz., from Nogales, Mexico, is a see-through wall of vertical steel rods 15 to 18 feet high, set four inches apart in a deep bed of concrete. It is a rusty ribbon that runs up and down dusty hills and streets, cutting one city into two and jutting into the desert for a few miles east and west.
An impenetrable barricade it is not. . . ."
Click the link above to read the rest of the editorial.
Drawing on contemporary conflicts between Latino/as and anti-immigrant forces, Citizenship Excess illustrates the limitations of liberalism as expressed through U.S. media channels. Inspired by Latin American critical scholarship on the “coloniality of power,” Amaya demonstrates that nativists use the privileges associated with citizenship to accumulate power. That power is deployed to aggressively shape politics, culture, and the law, effectively undermining Latino/as who are marked by the ethno-racial and linguistic difference that nativists love to hate. Yet these social characteristics present crucial challenges to the political, legal, and cultural practices that define citizenship.
Amaya examines the role of ethnicity and language in shaping the mediated public sphere through cases ranging from the participation of Latino/as in the Iraqi war and pro-immigration reform marches to labor laws restricting Latino/a participation in English-language media and news coverage of undocumented immigrant detention centers. Citizenship Excess demonstrates that the evolution of the idea of citizenship in the United States and the political and cultural practices that define it are intricately intertwined with nativism.
Gary Endelman and Cyrus D. Mehta have written a blog post on the naturalization oath and dual citizenship. It begins:
The oath ceremony is often one of the most significant and profound in an immigrant’s journey towards American citizenship. It signifies the end of the immigrant experience and is the final threshold before one’s acceptance as a citizen. It is also a happy moment, and the ceremony is generally accompanied by a stirring speech from a judge or well-known public official. Still, the oath, as prescribed by section 337 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), requires a serious commitment from the immigrant to forever renounce former allegiances, and also insists that the naturalization applicant take the oath without mental reservation or evasion. People may still wish to keep their former citizenship even while becoming American citizens for a number of reasons, such as ease of travel to the country to conduct business or to continue to access the country’s social security and healthcare system. Our blog examines the impact of the oath on the immigrant’s desire to retain his or her citizenship of the former country. At journey’s end, we suggest that, contrary to popular assumption or common understanding, American law is much more tolerant towards and accepting of dual citizenship than most of us, lay and lawyer alike, have ever believed.
From the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights:
Organize for Justice and Dignity on International Migrants' Day
Endorse the Call for U.S. Ratification of the UN Migrant Workers Convention
December 18 will be celebrated around the world as International Migrants' Day.
Please join us in organizing activities to call for Justice and Dignity for ALL migrants in the U.S. and globally. This year, we encourage organizers to lift up our demands for an end to the detention and deportation of undocumented immigrants, and for a halt and rollback of border militarization.
Immigration reform remains stalled in Congress--but even with passage of some form of present proposals, many immigrants, especially those who would qualify for a legalization program, will remain vulnerable to punitive immigration enforcement policies and practices.
The challenge to secure rights-based policies and practices remains at the forefront of our movement.
In the coming days we will be asking for your support in our annual International Migrants' Day statement and call to action. This year, we want to emphasize the need for relief for immigrant communities from the threat of detention, deportation and separation of families. President Obama, despite his denials, does have the authority to act to suspend these punitive practices.
Please take these actions:
1) Click here to add your organization's name to the pledge of support for U.S. ratification of the Migrant Workers Convention. This is part of our ongoing initiative to emphasize the importance of U.S. acknowledgement and respect for the human rights of migrants. Click here for more information about the Convention.
2) Click here to add your individual name to the pledge of support for ratification of the Migrant Workers Convention.
3) Check out our informational page on International Migrants Day, including background information, downloadable flyers in English and Spanish, and more resources to help you organize your IMD activities.
It is Sunday in December so it seems appropriate to highlight the National Football League today.
Born in Poland, Sebastian Janikowski is a placekicker for the Oakland Raiders of the National Football League. He played college football for Florida State and was a two-time consensus All-American. Nicknamed the Polish Cannon, Janikowski is considered to have one of the strongest kicking legs in the league, and leads the NFL in kickoffs for touchbacks.
In September 2011 on a Monday Night Football game, Janikowski tied the NFL record for the longest field goal at 63.
The Raiders play the New York Jets later today.
By the way, another foreign-born placekicker, Morten Andersen, is the leading scorer in NFL history.
Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia
Born in Colombia, Sofía Margarita Vergara Vergara is an actress and model. Vergara stars on the ABC series Modern Family as Gloria Delgado-Pritchett, for which she was nominated for three Golden Globe Awards, four Primetime Emmy Awards, and seven Screen Actors Guild Awards.
From the Bookshelves: Immigration, Poverty, and Socioeconomic Inequality, David Card & Steven Raphael, Editors
The rapid rise in the proportion of foreign-born residents in the U.S. since the mid-1960s is one of the most important demographic events of the past fifty years. The increase in immigration, especially among the less-skilled and less-educated, has prompted fears that the newcomers may have depressed the wages and employment of the native-born, burdened state and local budgets, and slowed the U.S. economy as a whole. Would the poverty rate be lower in the absence of immigration? How does the undocumented status of an increasing segment of the foreign-born population impact wages in the U.S.? In Immigration, Poverty and Socioeconomic Inequality, noted labor economists David Card and Steven Raphael and an interdisciplinary team of scholars provide a comprehensive assessment of the costs and benefits of the latest era of immigration to the U.S.
Immigration, Poverty and Socioeconomic Inequality rigorously explores shifts in population trends, labor market competition, and socioeconomic segregation to investigate how the recent rise in immigration affects economic disadvantage in the U.S.
Giovanni Peri analyzes the changing skill composition of immigrants to the U.S. over the past two decades to assess their impact on the labor market outcomes of native-born workers. Despite concerns over labor market competition, he shows that the overall effect has been benign for most native groups. Moreover, immigration appears to have had negligible impacts on native poverty rates.
Ethan Lewis examines whether differences in English proficiency explain this lack of competition between immigrant and native-born workers. He finds that parallel Spanish-speaking labor markets emerge in areas where Spanish speakers are sufficiently numerous, thereby limiting the impact of immigration on the wages of native-born residents. While the increase in the number of immigrants may not necessarily hurt the job prospects of native-born workers, low-skilled migration appears to suppress the wages of immigrants themselves.
Michael Stoll shows that linguistic isolation and residential crowding in specific metropolitan areas has contributed to high poverty rates among immigrants. Have these economic disadvantages among low-skilled immigrants increased their dependence on the U.S. social safety net?
Marianne Bitler and Hilary Hoynes analyze the consequences of welfare reform, which limited eligibility for major cash assistance programs. Their analysis documents sizable declines in program participation for foreign-born families since the 1990s and suggests that the safety net has become less effective in lowering child poverty among immigrant households.
As the debate over immigration reform reemerges on the national agenda, Immigration, Poverty and Socioeconomic Inequality provides a timely and authoritative review of the immigrant experience in the United States. With its wealth of data and intriguing hypotheses, the volume is an essential addition to the field of immigration studies.
DAVID CARD is Class of 1950 Professor of Economics at the University of California, Berkeley. STEVEN RAPHAEL is professor of public policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley.