Friday, April 24, 2015
Guest blogger: Nuha Abusamra, second-year law student, University of San Francisco:
I have closely followed Rasmea Odeh’s case for nearly six months. Rasmea Odeh is a 70-year-old Palestinian woman who serves as the associate director at the Arab American Action Network in Chicago. She is also heavily involved with organizing and collaborating with Arab American women as her role as Adult Women Organizer.
After immigrating to the United States in 1995, Rasmea became a naturalized U.S. citizen. However, in 2013, she was indicted and charged with immigration fraud for concealing a 1970 conviction before an Israeli military court for alleged involvement in two terrorist bombings in Jerusalem. In 1980, she was among 78 prisoners released by Israel in an exchange with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine for one Israeli soldier captured in Lebanon. In November, a federal jury convicted Rasmea and Judge Gershwin Drain revoked bail and ordered Rasmea into custody.
After Rasmea was released from solitary confinement and prison in December pending sentencing, we all rejoiced but worried for the status of her future as a U.S. citizen. However, on March 12, 2015, Judge Drain sentenced Rasmea to 18 months in prison and stripped her of U.S. citizenship after being found guilty of lying on her immigration papers when asked about prior convictions over twenty years ago. She currently faces deportation to Jordan and remains free on bond, pending appeal.
Rasmea’s attorney, Michael Duetsch and various community members have harshly criticized Judge Drain’s ruling. However, the government responded by focusing on Rasmea’s failure to disclose the conviction in an Israeli military court on her immigration application. Her failure to confess alleged involvement in two bombings, one of which killed two people at a supermarket in Jerusalem, remains the key factor in her case.
The allegations against Rasmea are serious in a Post 9/11, over criminalizing America. The U.S.’s enduring support for Israeli policies does not aid her case, either. How could anyone disagree with deporting a person who was allegedly involved in terrorist bombing in Jerusalem?
But as jurors, lawyers, judges, and critical thinkers, we are supposed to listen to both sides of a story, no matter its shock value. Rasmea continuously denies her involvement in the attacks in Jerusalem. She states that she was forced to confess to involvement in the bombings after weeks of prolonged sexual, physical, and mental torture experienced by Israeli authorities.
How are we to listen to both sides of a story when Judge Gershwin denied evidence of her PTSD back in October? Judge Gershwin’s refusal to admit evidence regarding Rasmea’s PTSD and experiences within the Israeli prison clearly demonstrates a bias against her as a Palestinian woman of color.
Drain however, did admit, “approximately one hundred documents from the Israeli military court, including her signed confession and information about the 1969 Jerusalem bombings she confessed under torture to participating in.”
It is frightening that the Israel Law Center, stationed in Israel, aided the American government with the prosecution of her case. Why is a foreign, and heavily biased entity, assisting the U.S. government in prosecuting its case? This only proves the political nature of Rasmea’s trial and the arbitrariness in the admittance of crucial evidence.
To elaborate more on issues with the evidence, the videos permitted within the courtroom were a waste of the court’s time as well as highly prejudicial in nature. Clips from documentaries that covered the bombing allegedly featured statements “implicating [Rasmea] in the attack. But none of the clips played by prosecutors, in Arabic with English subtitles, offered any such clear proof.” In fact, Rasmea was never depicted in the clips.
But let’s hypothetically pretend that Rasmea was in fact involved with the bombings. Let’s pretend that the prosecution submitted reliable evidence indicating her involvement. This raises a serious question of whether a person with a criminal background, after so much time has passed, should face prosecution. Or should there be a statute of limitations on such matters?
According to Rasmea’s attorney, Rasmea is dedicated to a life of service and is at an age where her mental and physical health is significantly deteriorating, and suffering from “chronic post-traumatic stress disorder.”
I do not think punishing Rasmea for lying is an appropriate response, given her suffering from serious and unaddressed PTSD. But if punishment is the focus, then by all means, punish accordingly. Deporting her, however, is an irrelevant response to a criminal matter. Rasmea can be prosecuted but her citizenship status should in no way be compromised. Furthermore, deporting Rasmea to Jordan is strategically irrational. Jordan’s notorious peace treaty with Israel does not ensure Rasmea’s physical and mental safety.
The prosecution of Rasmea Odeh is an embarrassing testament to the American justice system. This is the most politically fueled immigration case I have studied in law school. Rasmea is a symbol. The imprisonment and deportation of her body sends a loud and clear message to Arab American activists living in the U.S.A.
Rasmea said that during her life she had suffered many hard blows, but “every time I rebuilt my life, something else from outside would put me back to zero.” This lack of hope infuriates me but keeps me motivated to fight the good fight.
Immigration Article of the Day: Humanitarian Protection for Children Fleeing Gang-Based Violence in the Americas by Elizabeth Carlson and Anna Marie Gallagher
Violence perpetrated by gangs and other criminal organizations has contributed to the large numbers of Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) migrating to the United States from Central America and Mexico since 2011. This article in the Journal of Migration and Human Security describes the US government’s obligations to protect UAC upon arrival and good practices of other governments in providing humanitarian aid to migrant and refugee children. It also discusses Special Immigrant Juvenile Status and asylum claims based on gang-related violence. It concludes with recommendations designed to bring the United States into compliance with domestic and international law.
Maria was born and raised in Northern California. Her father's family and her mother's family, both from Mexico, emigrated to the U.S. during the Bracero guest worker program. She is the eldest of four children and the first person in her family to have graduated from college earning a B.A. (cum laude) and an M.A. from California State University, Chico. She earned my Ph.D. in political science from Washington State University. She currently is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Pacific Lutheran University specializing in American government, public policy, and race and politics. She is the author of Everyday Injustice: Latino Professionals and Racism (Rowman and Littlefield, Inc. 2011) and co-author of a new book Living the Dream-New Immigration Policies and The Experiences of Undocumented Latino Youth.
Your playlist today needs to include Kristina Karo's Give Me Green Card.
You may be wondering, who on earth is Kirstina Karo? I wondered that myself. She claims to be a childhood friend of Mila Kunis - the actress, former immigrant of the day, and a far more famous Ukrainian. Karo recently sued Kunis for stealing a chicken some 25 years ago.
A specious lawsuit and a hot new youtube video? Seems like Karo is living the American dream now.
Thursday, April 23, 2015
Bombshell in Day 3 of Sheriff Arpaio Contempt Hearing: Sheriff admits investigation of wife of federal judge in racial profiling case
Associated Press reports that Maricopa County (Arizona) Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who had fought to avoid a contempt hearing for his office's alleged failure to comply with an injunction in a civil rights action, acknowledged in his testimony in the hearing that his former lawyer had hired a private investigator to look into the wife of the federal judge presiding over a lawsuit against the sheriff and the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.
Arpaio finished his testimony and Judge Murray Snow asked him questions, including whether the sheriff was investigating his family. According to the AP report,
"Arpaio said he believed his former lawyer . . . had hired a private investigator to carry out the secret investigation of Snow's wife. The move stemmed from a purported comment that Snow's wife made about the judge not wanting Arpaio to get re-elected in 2012. Casey declined comment, citing attorney-client privilege, when The Associated Press reached him after the development in court."
Stay tuned for more details as they become available.
UPDATE (APRIL 24): The Arizona Republic offers further details of Sheriff Arpaio's testimony:
After questioning Arpaio on the contempt and immigration matters, Snow shifted his focus to some of the sheriff's more-unorthodox operations, namely involving the sheriff's investigations into public officials. Snow based his questions on allegations cited in a Phoenix New Times article. The testimony offered a glimpse into the Sheriff's Office, with Arpaio conceding that the agency employed unreliable informants, private investigators and an unknown amount of public funds to investigate Arpaio's political enemies. Arpaio said he had come into the possession of an e-mail from a tipster who claimed to have met Snow's wife at a restaurant, and that Snow's wife said the judge "wanted to do everything to make sure I'm not elected." Arpaio said his counsel then hired a private investigator to look into the matter. "Results confirmed that your wife was in that restaurant," Arpaio told Snow. "I guess (the investigator) talked to the witness, confirmed that that remark was made."
Arpaio further acknowledged that some time in 2013, county funds were used to conduct investigations into the Department of Justice.
For a radio report by Jude Joffe-Block and Steve Goldstein on the new development in Sheriff Arpaio's case, click here (and here). Wonkette offers a lighter look at Sheriff Joe's private investigator woes. Even without Sheriff Arpaio's stunning revelation, it appears that counsel for the plaintiffs Stanley Young , a partner at Covington and Burling LLP, has made the Sheriff's appearance on the witness stand a challenging experience. "Think To Kill a Mockingbird's Atticus Finch doing Jedi mind tricks on an addled Emperor Palpatine."
In the comments to the Arizona Republic article reporting on the developments in the contempt hearing, there currently (April 24, 3 p.m. PST) appear to be few defenders of Sheriff Arpaio's use of a private investigator to take a look at Judge Snow's wife. In my experience, many of the comments to immigration articles are not very sympathetic to immigrants generally. Perhaps there is a consensus that Sheriff Arpaio has crossed the line in this instance.
This week's media focus on Mediterranean migration reminded me of a thoughtful post from the Youth Circulations blog - Interrogating the Wave: Media Representations of African Migrant Youth.
Stephanie Maher, a graduate student in anthropology at the University of Washington, is the author of the post/photo essay. She discusses the nexus between images of African migrants and policies towards them. It's focused on the 2006-2007 time frame.
Though seemingly one-dimensional, photographs are not without substance or personality. And, as this essay argues, they are not without political consequence. ... [I]mages are not neutral; they are “actors.” They act on and within social relations, and take part in the dialectic process of knowledge production.
Maher's call, to think deeply about the messages sent by news media images, is an interesting one. And quite timely.
BREAKING NEWS: After a lengthy confirmation delays, the U.S. Senate today approved Loretta E. Lynch to be attorney general. She is the first African-American woman to hold the position. The delay, which is explained in the article above, is the second longest delay in the confirmation of the Attorney General in U.S. history.
Lynch, the United States attorney for the Eastern District of New York, was confirmed 56 to 43, with 10 Republicans voting for her. Her confirmation took longer than that for all but two other nominees for the office: Edwin Meese III, who was nominated by President Ronald Reagan, and A. Mitchell Palmer, who was picked by President Woodrow Wilson.
Republicans longed to replace Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., and they agreed that Ms. Lynch was qualified for the job. But many opposed her because Lynch defended President Obama’s executive actions on immigration. Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and majority leader, had held up the nomination until the Senate voted on a human trafficking bill, a process that lasted weeks. The Senate passed the bill yesterday by a vote of 99 to 0.
Dying at Europe's Doorstep is a new Bloomberg Businessweek article that covers not only the migration crisis in the Mediterranean Sea but also the individual efforts of Chris Catrambone, a Louisiana native, to address that crisis.
In 2014, Catrambone and his family established a nonprofit: the Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MAOS). They bought a trawler and launched their own search-and-rescue effort to help Mediterranean migrants in crisis.
Last year, they came to the aid of some 3,000 migrants, bringing 1,462 aboard their own ship for hours or days until loaded onto other, bigger ships, or taken to Italian detention centers as directed by the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre in Rome.
Coming to the aid of migrant-packed ships is not without danger. As we saw this week, the migrant vessel that capsized near Sicily appears to have steered into and collided with would-be rescuers. Migrants also crowded to one side of the boat after the collision causing it to capsize. Only 28 men out of 850 migrants survived that journey.
By Andrea Bruss, guest blogger and law student, University of San Francisco:
Whether it’s the abduction of hundreds of girls in Nigeria by Boko Haram, the rape of a woman on a bus in New Dheli, or Hillary Clinton speaking about empowering women, violence against women and girls across the world is garnering national headlines. This new elevated media consciousness about widespread violence against women and girls across the world is not just because of the sheer sensationalism of the acts, but rather is a part of an overarching narrative and international consciousness that is beginning to recognize the severity of this issue. Violence against women and girls is a pervasive problem occurring in rich and poor nations. International economic and human rights actors are starting to recognize violence against women and girls and the systematic subjugation of women has economic consequences in a global market where countries are rapidly trying to develop and compete. While this growing consciousness is positive, it is not enough.
Locally in the Bay Area this issue was highlighted most recently with the case of Nan-Hui Jo, a Korean immigrant who suffered years of physical and emotional abuse from her citizen partner. Fearing for her life she returned to Korea with the couple’s young daughter only to be arrested and prosecuted for child abduction when she returned and thrust into deportation proceedings. The coordination between the values and principals of family law and immigration law are completely at odds in cases like Nan-Hui’s. In family court, the judge is required to consider what is in the best interest of the child in determining custody and visitation rights of parents. Generally, courts find that preserving contact and a relationship with a parent is critical to a child’s emotional development especially when that parent has been the primary care giver and especially when children are young. Family courts have allowed visitation with parents who have admittedly abused their children in an effort to preserve a connection between them. Child development specialists and scientific studies have demonstrated the loss of a parent is a severe trauma for children that impacts their emotional and physical development. Children don’t necessarily differentiate between whether that parent was a good loving parent or an abusive one, but they can strongly experience feelings of abandonment if a parent leaves or doesn’t have contact with them. If California courts have allowed visitation between a parent who has sexually molested their child how can they prohibit a loving mother like Nan-Hui from seeing her daughter? The answer is simple – she is an immigrant facing deportation. Immigration law in many ways is a system that operates outside many of our societies accepted legal principals.
Unfortunately stories like Nan-Hui’s are not unique. An estimated 59% of married immigrant women experience physical or sexual abuse, which is higher than non-immigrant married women. Additionally, an estimated 51% of homicide victims who were murdered by their partner are foreign born. Immigrant women who are victims of domestic violence often feel isolated and fear that they cannot seek help because of their immigration status. Additionally, the abusers often use their partner’s immigrant status as a tool of control to prevent them from seeking help or leaving the abusive relationship. In Nan-Hui’s case she was previously married to a U.S. citizen but was not able to obtain permeant legal status or citizenship through that marriage because her husband, who was prosecuted and jailed for domestic violence, did not complete her immigration application. Because Nan-Hui was not married to her most recent partner and father of her daughter she couldn’t obtain legal status through him. Additionally, while she has a U visa application pending she is still facing removal proceedings. While Nan-Hui could have arguably persued a U or V visa earlier after her first marriage, these processes can be expensive, complicated and discouraging for many victims to peruse without legal and community support.
While laws like the Violence Against Women Act or “VAWA” have been an advancement they have not gone far enough. The do not provide the wrap around services victims of domestic violence who are in the immigration detention system need to obtain justice and fair representation; VAWA does not provide enough legal and support services to victims who may qualify for a U or V visa. Women in Nan-Hui’s situation not only need representation for removal proceedings but also counseling, financial support and support with custody issues. If Nan-Hui had the support she needed after her first experience with an abusive husband she may have been able to obtain lawful status and been able to stay in the U.S. with her daughter. Additionally, laws like VAWA don’t address the incredible discretion that the government and immigration judges have in removal decisions. Furthermore, when women like Nan-Hui do reach out to law enforcement for help they are often dismissed and ignored, making it difficult for them to substantiate they have been a victim of severe abuse, which is a requirement of obtaining a U visa and further marginalizes them. Nan-Hui called the police twice over domestic violence issues with her partner and neither one of those incidents resulted in an arrest or charges. While Nan-Hiu could have persued a temporary restraining order, for someone with limited English skills, limited resources, and who is a repeat victim of domestic violence that process can be challenging and for some insurmountable.
Federal laws like VAWA need to be complemented with mandatory local enforcement and response to domestic violence issues, increased education to immigrants about what their options are if they are victims of domestic violence, and real resources to help them overcome the economic dependence and social isolation they have on their abuser.
For Nan-Hui the consequences of her decision to protect herself and her daughter are severe. She faces deportation and a permanent loss of her relationship with her daughter whom she has not been permitted to see for the last eight months. For her partner, the abuser, his consequences are non-existent. He faces no criminal charges and has sole custody of their daughter. Nan-Hui is scheduled to be sentenced for her child abduction conviction next week. Unfortunately, many are not hopeful that the outcome will be anything but a blow to Nan-Hui and her daughter, and serve as another example of how our immigration, criminal and family legal systems do not serve the interests of public safety, victim or children. When this is the outcome for victims of domestic violence in our country our policies are not working.
The Arizona Republic reports on the second day of Maricopa County (Arizona) Sheriff Joe Arpaio's contempt hearing, which so far appears to be one-sided. Yesterday, "Arpaio took the stand for the first time this week to answer allegations he violated a federal judge's orders stemming from a class-action racial-profiling suit. He told plaintiffs' attorney Stanley Young that he remembered hearing about the preliminary injunction when it was issued but said he didn't have knowledge of all the facts of the order."
Sheriff Arpaio has already admitted to contempt of court, so plaintiffs are using their time to convince federal District Court Judge G. Murray Snow that Arpaio's violations were intentional.
Arpaio is scheduled to continue to testify today.
Immigration Article of the Day: 'Jim Crowing' Plyler v. Doe: The Resegregation of Undocumented Students in American Higher Education Through Discriminatory State Tuition and Fee Legislation by David H.K. Nguyen and Zelide R. Martinez Hoy
'Jim Crowing' Plyler v. Doe: The Resegregation of Undocumented Students in American Higher Education Through Discriminatory State Tuition and Fee Legislation by David H.K. Nguyen, Indiana University-Bloomington, and Zelideh R. Martinez Hoy, Indiana University Bloomington April 9, 2015 Cleveland State Law Review, Vol. 63, No. 2, 2015
Abstract: This law review article examines the re-segregation of undocumented students in education, more specifically, re-segregation through state laws and policies impacting their attendance at American colleges and universities. Under no fault of their own, undocumented students are marginalized even further after graduating from high school, since they are not afforded the same benefits as their peers to attend college. This article explores the current landscape of these laws and policies after providing background on Plyler v. Doe and state and federal attempts to challenge education for undocumented students.
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
Friday's episode of VICE on HBO takes an in-depth look at the state of immigration reform in America. In 2011, Alabama passed one of the toughest anti-immigration laws in the nation's history. In Friday's episode, VICE on HBO Correspondent Thomas Morton travels to Albertville, Alabama to see firsthand the lasting ramifications of House Bill 56. Using Alabama as a case study, Thomas explores what happens to the economy when undocumented workers leave.
VICE airs on HBO on Fridays at 11:00pm EST. View the trailer for the immigration episode here.
As blogged previously on ImmigrationProf, Maricopa County (Arizona) Sheriff Joe Arpaio's contempt hearing began yesterday in federal court in Phoenix, Arizona. Here, here, and here are reports on the first of a scheduled four days of hearings.
Sheriff Arpaio's contempt proceeding opened with testimony by one of Arpaio's own sergeants, who told the court the Sheriff deliberately violated a judge's orders in the racial-profiling litigation. Sgt. Brett Palmer testified that Arpaio had instructed him to continue enforcing federal immigration law after Judge G. Murray Snow had prohibited the practice. The testimony supports the claims that Arpaio's failure to abide by Snow's orders were deliberate. A finding of willful violations could result in sanctions, including a referral for criminal contempt proceedings.
In addition, Sheriff Arpaio's attorney, Tom Liddy of the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, informed the court that he would be requesting to withdraw from the case.
Immigration Article of the Day: Social Group Semantics: The Evidentiary Requirements of 'Particularity' and 'Social Distinction' in Pro Se Asylum Adjudications by Nick Bednar
Social Group Semantics: The Evidentiary Requirements of 'Particularity' and 'Social Distinction' in Pro Se Asylum Adjudications by Nick Bednar, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, School of Law, Students April 2, 2015 Minnesota Law Review, Forthcoming
Abstract: An applicant applying for asylum on the basis of membership in a particular social group must produce evidence showing that their particular social group (1) shares an immutable characteristic, (2) is defined with particularity, and (3) is socially distinct. On February 7, 2014, the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) clarified its definition of particularity and social distinction in Matter of M-E-V-G-. According to the BIA, particularity defines the “outer limits” of the group’s boundaries. Social distinction requires the particular social group to be “perceived as a group by society.” Despite the BIA’s supposed goal, M E V G- has done little to clarify the particular social group standard. This Note argues that a pro se asylum applicant cannot show both particularity and social distinction. If the applicant defines her group too discretely, the group may fail to satisfy the element of social distinction. But, an amorphous particular social group is certain to fail the requirement of particularity. It is unreasonable to expect a pro se applicant to play this game of semantics. Furthermore, social distinction requires the applicant to produce sociological evidence — mostly in the form of expert witnesses. This implicit requirement of sociological evidence prevents pro se applicants from defining a satisfactory particular social group. In order to protect pro se applicants, this Note proposes a system of precedential fact-finding — drawing upon the United Kingdom’s Country Guidance System — to alleviate some of the burdens of particularity and social distinction.
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
A new Daily Yonder study shows that rural counties with more immigrants tend to be performing better economically. Rural America’s foreign-born residents may be moving to counties that have more jobs, but immigrants also create more economic opportunity when they get there, economists say.
For many rural counties, having more immigrants also goes along with having a better local economy, according to a new study commissioned by the Daily Yonder. “The results of this study contradict common perceptions regarding immigrants,” said Roberto Gallardo, Ph.D., the author of the study “We frequently hear that immigrants are a drain on the economy and resources. But this data shows a very different picture.” Gallardo looked at the percentage of a rural county’s population that was born beyond U.S. borders and correlated that information with some basic economic data. He found that, in general, as the proportion of the immigrant population grows in rural areas, positive economic indicators like per capita market income rise, as well. And negative economic indicators like the rate of poverty and unemployment go down.
Hat tip to Lisa Pruitt.
Jacques Billeaud of the Associated Press offers the basics on Maricopa County (Arizona) Sheriff Joe Arpaio's contempt hearing in federal court in Arizona, which begins today. The hearing is scheduled for four days and could result in fines and other penalties for admitted violations of the court's orders in a racial profiling case.
Sheriff Arpaio has acknowledged disobeying the judge's pretrial order that barred his immigration enforcement patrols. He also has accepted responsibility for his agency's failure to turn over traffic-stop videos and bungling a plan to gather such recordings from officers once some videos were discovered.
Sheriff Arpaio is among the nearly two dozen people on the witness list.
U.S. District Judge Murray Snow will decide whether Arpaio and four aides should be held in contempt. The sheriff and his second-in-command, Jerry Sheridan, have acknowledged violating the order and being responsible for the agency's failure to turn over traffic-stop videos and bungling the subsequent plan to gather recordings from officers. Arpaio proposed offering a public apology and making a donation to a civil rights organization from his own pockets.
Judge Snow has said the $100,000 donation proposed by Arpaio and Sheridan was an adequate personal financial penalty but rejected their requests to call off the hearing because their proposal didn't comprehensively resolve the contempt case.
For more on this story from Arizona, click here.
The abuses of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office of Latino citizens and lawful immigrants in the name of immigration enforcement reveal some of the risks involved in enlisting state and local law enforcement agencies in the enforcement of the U.S. immigration laws.
Anti-immigrant groups in the Southwest have gained considerable attention. These groups are not limited to the border region, however. Media Matters profiles Oregonians for Immigration Reform (OFIR), an anti-immigrant organization that has used local media campaigns with other nativist organizations to fight against legislation in Oregon aimed at supporting immigrants. Here is OFIR's Facebook page.
After successfully attacking licenses for undocumented immigrants, OFIR has launched a new campaign to lobby against a bill that would allow undocumented immigrant graduates from Oregon high schools to receive state funded, need-based college scholarships.
Caravan of the Mutilated: The Hazards of the Journey from Honduras Through Mexico to the United States
This photo essay by Joseph Sorrentino looks at a group of 13 Honduran immigrants who lost limbs on the dangerous trip across Mexico and sought an audience with President Obama—but are instead facing deportation.
Each year about 400,000 Central American migrants ride through Mexico atop cargo trains, hoping to make it to the United States. Thirteen Honduran men who travelled across Mexico as part of La Caravana de los Mutilados (the caravan of the mutilated), entered the United States at the Eagle Pass Port of Entry on March 19. They were immediately detained by Border Patrol agents and taken to the South Texas Detention Facility, Texas, where they’ve been held since.
Immigration Article of the Day: A Dry Hate: White Supremacy and Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric in the Humanitarian Crisis on the U.S.-Mexico Border by Kristina M. Campbell
A Dry Hate: White Supremacy and Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric in the Humanitarian Crisis on the U.S.-Mexico Border by Kristina M. Campbell, University of the District of Columbia - David A. Clarke School of Law April 18, 2015 West Virginia Law Review, Forthcoming
Abstract: Beginning with the passage of its anti-immigrant “Show-Me-Your-Papers” law in April 2010, S.B. 1070, much has been written about the hostile political climate toward noncitizens in the State of Arizona specifically and the U.S.-Mexico border generally. However, the recent influx of refugees from Central America to the United States has seen a resurgence in the anti-immigrant rhetoric, which is particularly disturbing since a large percentage of the individuals fleeing violence and poverty are children. In this vein, one aspect of the genesis of S.B. 1070 and other anti-immigrant laws that have not received a great deal of attention is the significant presence – and the startling growth of – white supremacist and Neo-Nazi groups throughout Arizona and the Southwest in the years leading up to the introduction and passage of S.B. 1070 and its predecessor laws. While groups such as the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) have monitored and documented the rise of anti-immigrant hate groups in the Southwest over the past decade, the correlation between the activities of these organizations, anti-immigrant activism, and the passage of state laws designed to intimidate, threaten, and harass noncitizens and other people of color living and working in Arizona and the American Southwest has not been fully explored in the mainstream political and legal media.
This Article examines the growth of the white supremacist movement in Arizona and other Southwestern states, and argues that the influence of these groups plays a significant role in the caustic rhetoric we are currently witnessing in the humanitarian crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border and in the flurry of anti-immigrant laws approved by the state legislature and the electorate since the early 2000s. Part I discusses some of the most prominent white supremacist and Neo-Nazi groups currently operating in Arizona and other states along the U.S.-Mexico border. Part II provides an overview of some of the prominent politicians and citizens in the Southwest who have been linked to extremist and racist groups, and how their affiliations impacted the spread of anti-immigrant rhetoric into the cultural mainstream, as well as the introduction and passage of state anti-immigrant laws and policies. Part III discusses the current humanitarian crisis on the border, and profiles some of the most notorious recent incidents of anti-immigrant sentiment tied to white supremacists – such as the murders of Raul and Brisenia Flores by border vigilantes in 2009 and the murderous rampage of Neo-Nazi J.T. Ready in 2011 – and examines how the anti-immigrant and racist rhetoric of these groups contribute to the ongoing violence against and scapegoating of migrants seeking refuge in the United States. The Article concludes with Part IV, in which I argue that unless and until the white supremacist roots of anti-immigrant rhetoric is acknowledged, the southern border of the United States will continue to be a flashpoint in which hate groups can continue to implement their extremist agenda against noncitizens and people of color.