November 26, 2005
Immigration Backlogs and Undocumented Filipinos
Due in large part to long wating periods facec by legal immigration categories, the number of undocumented Filipinos living in the United States continues to rise and is now estimated at around 200,000. A U.S. citizen parent petitioning for an adult son or daughter from the Philippines must wait for 14 years before he or she can immigrant. Petitioning for a brother or sister takes longer -- as muhc as 22 years. According to the 2000 Census, there were 1.9 million Filipinos living int he country. Of the total 32% are U.S. citizens by virtue of birth, 41 percent are naturalized citizens, and 26 percent are lawful permanent residents. Filipino Americans are the second largest Asian American community in the United States; Chinese Americans are the largest group.
The Washington-based National Federation of Filipino American Associations and the Asian American Justice Center are calling for comprehensive immigration reforms to fix what they say is a broken U.S. immigration system and to reunite Filipino American families.
Source: Manila Mail, NOv. 18, 2005
November 25, 2005
Sailors and Sham Marriages
Six U.S. Navy crew members looking for quick and profitable marriages to undocumented aliens face federal charges after bing among 10 people cuaght in an FBI sting operation targeting the sham unions. The six, assigned to the U.S.S. Eisenhower in Norfolk, VA, were caught after the FBI learned that a Baltimore man was recruiting men and women to enter sham marriages in New York, according to a complaint in U.S. District Court in Manhattan. The Baltimore man offered to provide people to marry undocumented aliens at a cost of $3,000 to $4,000 per marriage, the complaint said.
The six Navy members and a former seaman came in recent weeks to New York, where they thought they were meeting aliens from Egypt, Russia, South America, and Europe. Instead, they were meeting FBI undercover agents or informants and cooperating witnesses working under the FBI's supervision. The defendants could face a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted. The government said one of the Navy defendants told the cooperating witness that the sam marriage would allow her to apply to the Navy for increased financial benefits.
Source: Associated Press, Nov. 15, 2005
November 24, 2005
DOJ: Deportation Instead of Civil Rights Enforcement
The Justice Department's Civil Rights Division is in the midst of an upheaval that has driven away dozens of veteran lawyers and has damaged morale for many of those who remain, according to former and current career employees. Nearly 20% of the division's lawyers left in fiscal 2005, in part because of a buyout program that some lawyers believe was aimed at pushing out those who did not share the Bush administration's conservative views on civil rights laws. Longtime litigators complain that political appointees have cut them out of hiring and major policy decisions, including approvals of controversial GOP redistricting plans in Mississippi and Texas.
The Justice Department strongly dispute the complaints. DOJ spokesman Eric Holland says the overal attrition rate during the Bush administration, about 13%, is not significantly higher than 11% averaged during the last five years under President Clinton.
But according to department statistics, prosecutions for the kinds of racial and gender discrimination crimes traditionally handled by the division have declined 40 % over the past five years. Dozens of lawyers find themselves handling appeals of deportation orders and other immigration matters instead of civil rights. The division has also come under criticism from the courts and some Democrats for its decision in August to apporve a Georgia program requiring voters to present government-issued identification cards at the polls. The program was halted by an appellate court panel and a district court judge, who likened it to a poll tax from the Jim Crow era.
Source: Washington Post, Nov. 13, 2005
New Immigration Movie
"Thousands of people will join one of the largest migration movements in history. Their motivation is a life with dignity. Their disadvantage is that neither of them have legal traveling documents." Such is the trailer for "Wetback", an award-winning documentary about the undocumented which follows several immigrants from Central America and Mexico on their journey to the US and Canada. To learn more, visit http://www.wetbackmovie.com/. "
After Years in the Brig, Jose Padilla Indicted
As you no doubt have heard "Dirty Bomb" supsect Jose Padilla has been indicted.
At http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,1280,-5432762,00.html, Associated Press summarizes the indictment as follows:
"Jose Padilla, a U.S. citizen held in a Navy brig as an enemy combatant for more than three years, was charged Tuesday with being part of a North American terror cell that sent money and recruits overseas to `murder, maim and kidnap.' However, absent from the indictment were the sensational allegations made earlier by top Justice Department officials: that Padilla sought to blow up U.S. hotels and apartment buildings and planned an attack on America with a radiological `dirty bomb.'''
For a copy of the indictment, see http://wid.ap.org/documents/051122padilla-indictment.pdf For analysis, see http://balkin.blogspot.com/2005/11/padilla-indicted.html and http://www.wiggin.com/practices/areainfo.asp?groupid=5&areaID=231
November 22, 2005
Bush administration: shift on immigration
An article in the LA Times from November 20 notes that the Bush administration rheotoric on immigration appears to be undergoing a fundamental shift: less emphasis on legalization and immigration reform; more emphasis on border militarization. "[A] perceived presidential emphasis on border security has left many businesses worried about how committed he is to a guest worker plan, which they consider essential to any reform legislation. . . .The president's perceived shift in emphasis has caused problems for the coalition the White House organized this summer, Americans for Border and Economic Security." The full article is here.
Special Immigrant Juvenile Litigation
Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law
256 S. Occidental Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90057
Telephone: (213) 388-8693 Facsimile: (213) 386-9484
To: Advocates for immigrant and refugee youth
From: Peter A. Schey, Carlos Holguin>Date: November 22, 2005
Re: Urgent request for information about clients who have “aged-out” of SIJ eligibility or who are in danger of doing so.
We write to request your help in identifying minors who applied for Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ) status, but aged-out of eligibility for such relief (either because they turned 21 or because their State court dependency order expired) or who face the prospect of aging out within the next 2-3 months. We’re interested in such cases whether or not the minors are or were in removal proceedings.
Javier Perez-Olano, et al., v. Department of Homeland Security, No. CV 05-3604 DDP (C.D. Cal.), was recently filed as a nation-wide class action on behalf of immigrant youth who are or were in the past dependents of state courts because they have been abused, abandoned, or neglected, and who applied for classification as “special immigrant juveniles.” The litigation challenges the following:
• Although nowhere authorized by statute, CIS has promulgated two regulations, 8 C.F.R. 204.11(c)(5) and 205.1(a)(3)(iv)(C), providing that no statutorily eligible minor may be granted SIJ status unless he or she continues to be dependent on a state court at the time the SIJ petition or adjustment of status is decided. If the SIJ petition is granted, the CIS will automatically revoke that status when the youth ceases to be a dependent of a state court. State courts often terminate jurisdiction over dependent minors upon a juvenile’s attaining 18 years of age, or sometimes one year later. If CIS refuses to adjudicate a statutorily eligible youth’s petition for SIJ status and application for adjustment of status by the time the dependency order terminates, the minor “ages-out” of the benefit Congress sought to confer on him or her as an abused, abandoned, or neglected youth.
• Pursuant to 8 C.F.R. ? 1003.47, IJs are precluded from adjudicating an application for adjustment of status filed by a SIJ until and unless the DHS completes a security investigation. In promulgating this rule the EOIR opined that “these investigations and examinations can be completed in a timely fashion so as to permit the adjudication of adjustment and other applications before the immigration judges without delay.” 70 Fed. Reg 4743, 4753 (January 31, 2005). In practice, however, the DHS takes many months to complete a security check for a SIJ—even if the CIS earlier received and adjudicated a youth’s petition for SIJ status. The predictable result: statutorily eligible youth age-out (either by reaching 21 or because their State court dependency orders expire) and are forever barred from receiving the benefits Congress sought to confer on them.
• Finally, some minors age-out simply because they turn 21 before the CIS adjudicates their SIJ or adjustment applications. Delays in adjudicating applications may be caused by any number of reasons, including background checks. It is unclear that the statute requires that an application be adjudicated before the applicant’s 21st birthday.
In an effort to evade judicial review of these regulations and practices, the CIS very quickly granted lawful permanent residence to all three of the Perez-Olano named plaintiffs and is now arguing that the entire case should be dismissed as moot.
We are requesting that advocates who know of clients who have aged-out of SIJ status or who are in danger of aging-out within the next 2-3 months contact the Center as soon as possible so that we may discuss bringing the client’s circumstances to the attention of the federal court by way of a declaration or by joining as a named plaintiff. If you know of any such individuals, please contact us via email to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. Please briefly explain the case you wish to bring to our attention. Please contact us whether or not you’re still in touch with a minor who aged out.
If you have a client who aged out or one who may soon age out, we think there is a reasonable possibility that we can assist the minor through this litigation.
Chinese Immigrants in San Francisco
A report by the National Economic Development and Law Center on the Chinese American population in San Francisco has found:
* 35% of the Chinese population ages 18 to 65 earned less than $10,000 in 1999; only 16 % of city residents as a whole earned that little.
* Lack of affordable child care is a barrier to securing living-wage jobs. Many Chinese parents qualify for child care subsidies but there are not enough to go around. Others earn too much to qualify for publicly-funded vouchers but not enough to afford unsubsidized child care.
* About 6.1 % of Chinese workers in San rancisco are employed as cashiers and in retail, 5.6% in texticle companies, 5% as office clerks, 4.9% in food preparation, 4.9% in housekeeping, and 5.9% as accountants and financial specialists.
* About 1 in 3 working-age Chinese American adults does not speak English well. Many expressed a strong preference for job training to be held in Chinese or geared toward people with limited proficiency in English.
* 37 % of immigrant Chinese Americans ages 25 and older do not have a high school diploma; the figure is 19 % in the general population.
* 10% of the Chinese population has not schooling, more than double the rate of San Francisco residents as a whole. About one-third of immigrant Chinese Americans have an associate's degre or higher, compared with about half of all San Francisco residents.
Source: San Francisco Chronicle, Nov. 21, 2005
Human Trafficking Conference at Northwestern
THE CHAINS THAT REMAIN: HUMAN TRAFFICKING IN A GLOBAL CONTEXT
THE CHAINS THAT REMAIN: HUMAN TRAFFICKING IN A GLOBAL CONTEXT
The 2006 Northwestern University Conference on Human Rights will investigate human trafficking in the international community. This conference will bring students from across North America, free of charge, to Chicago to meet with distinguished academics, activists and policy makers from around the globe. The educational emphasis of the conference presents a unique forum for university students, as well as the general public, to discuss the future of this crucial issue in the growing field of human rights. This year’s conference, in collaboration with the Campus Coalition Against Trafficking, is the national undergraduate forum for the discussion of anti-trafficking, seeking to train emerging leaders, foster youth empowerment, raise awareness about human trafficking, and encourage cross-disciplinary linkages among social justice issues. In past years, the Northwestern University Conference on Human Rights has featured addresses by Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, former US Ambassador to the UN; Dr. Bernard Kouchner, co-founder of the Nobel Prize-winning organization Doctors Without Borders; Ambassador Stephen Lewis—UN Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa and one of TIME Magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world; and many, many more! For more details on the conference and application material, please visit our website at
The 2006 Northwestern University Conference on Human Rights will investigate human trafficking in the international community. This conference will bring students from across North America, free of charge, to Chicago to meet with distinguished academics, activists and policy makers from around the globe. The educational emphasis of the conference presents a unique forum for university students, as well as the general public, to discuss the future of this crucial issue in the growing field of human rights.
This year’s conference, in collaboration with the Campus Coalition Against Trafficking, is the national undergraduate forum for the discussion of anti-trafficking, seeking to train emerging leaders, foster youth empowerment, raise awareness about human trafficking, and encourage cross-disciplinary linkages among social justice issues.
In past years, the Northwestern University Conference on Human Rights has featured addresses by Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, former US Ambassador to the UN; Dr. Bernard Kouchner, co-founder of the Nobel Prize-winning organization Doctors Without Borders; Ambassador Stephen Lewis—UN Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa and one of TIME Magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world; and many, many more!
For more details on the conference and application material, please visit our website atwww.nuchr.org
Story on Kerry Abrams
There is a nice story on Professor Kerry Abram's recent presentation of her article "Polygamy, Prostitution, and the Federalization of Immigration Law," 105 Colum. L. Rev. 641 (2005) at http://www.law.virginia.edu/home2002/html/news/2005_fall/abrams.htm The article thoughtfully analyzes how gender-based exclusions were used to accomplish racially exclusionary goals in the Chinese Exclusion laws. Kerry joined the Virginia faculty last year, making UVA one of the two law schools in the country with two tenure track immigration scholar/teachers.
Piling on the BIA
In BARROSO v. GONZALES, 2005 U.S. App. LEXIS 24845 (9th Cir. Nov. 18, 2005), the Ninth Circuit, in an opinion by Judge Stephen Reinhardt (liberal) , recently joined the chorus of judges, including among others, Judge Richard Posner (conservative), in criticizing the Board of Immigration Appeals, in this case denying the immigrant his choice of counsel. For a discussion of the case, see http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1132580125066, a story entitled "9th Circuit Vents at Immigration Panel" by Justin Scheck, The Recorder (San Francisco), Nov. 2005. Of course, Judge Reinhardt, who recently celebrated his 25th anniversary on the bench, has been tough on the BIA for many years.
November 21, 2005
NYT editorializes re: the border
Today's New York Times included this editorial, arguing that Congress' single-minded focus on shoring up border security (and particularly, on the building of a border fence) is short-sighted at best. Urging broader immigration reform, the editors write, "Only as a bumper sticker does this 'fence 'em out' plan work. As immigration policy, it will just cost billions."
New Immigration Law Section Members
New members of the Immigration Law Section of the Association of American Law Schools listed in the AALS Directory of Law teachers 2005-2006 include
Angelo Ancheta, Santa Clara
Troy Elder, Florida International
Jill Family, Widener
Ernesto Hernandez, Chapman
Kate Jastram, UC Berkeley
Louise McKinney, Case Western
Vanessa Merton, Pace
Cristina Rodriguez, NYU
Juliet Stumpf, Lewis & Clark
Joseph Vail, Houston
Deborah Weissman, North Carolina
Stephen Wizner, Yale
Minuteman Runs from His Past (or Present)?
Jim Gilchrist, founder of the Minutemen and Congressional candidate in Orange County, California is attempting to defend himself against the claim that he is a racist. The Chicago Tribune (10/31) reported that
"Gilchrist, 56, is a member of the American Independent Party founded by former Alabama Gov. George Wallace. But he urges voters not to read anything into that.
He says he's no bigot or racist. He's a Vietnam veteran with a Purple Heart and has an `American-Mexican' son-in-law.
He says he's no bigot or racist. He's a Vietnam veteran with a Purple Heart and has an `American-Mexican' son-in-law.He says he just wants immigration laws enforced to keep America strong and united.
On the campaign trail he has backed off previously stated fears of a civil war and mob rule, although he has not said what the country should do with illegal immigrants. He's hoping his emergence as a national leader in the push for a hermetically sealed U.S. border will propel him to the nation's Capitol." (emphasis added).
For a complete copy of the story, see http://www.thestate.com/mld/thestate/news/special_packages/election2004/13042233.htm
BIG SPORTS NEWS
In non-immigration-related news, Cal pounded Stanford in the Big Game by a 27-3 score. That's four in a row for Cal and makes two of the three blog editors happy.
Asian American Victims of Hate Crimes
Nationwide, Asian American students say they're often beaten, threatened and called ehtnic slurs by other young people, and school safety data suggest that the problem may be worsening. Youth advocates say these Asian teens, stereotyped as high-achieving students who rarely fight back, have for years borne the brunt of ethnic tension as Asian communities expand and neighborhoods become more racially diverse. Consider 18-year-old Chen Tsu. He was waiting on a Brooklyn subway platform after school when four high school classmates approached him and demanded cash. He showed them his empty pockets, but they attached him anyway, taking turns pummeling his face. He was scared and injured--bruised and swollen for seveal days--but hardly surprised. At his school, Lafayette High in Brooklyn, Chinese immigrant students like him are harassed and bullied so routinely that school officials in June agreed to a Department of Justice consent decree to curb alledged "severe and pervasive harassment directed at Asian American students by their classmates." Since then, DOJ credits Lafayette officiasl with addressing the problem--but the case is far from isolated.
In the last five years, Census data show, Asians--mostly Chinese--have grown from 5% to nearly 10% of Brooklyn residents. In the Bensonhurst neighborhood, historically home to Italian and Jewish families, more than 20% of residents now are Asian. Those changes have escalated ethnic tension on campuses such as Lafayette high. Brooklyn's changes mirror Asiuan growth nationally. Between 1980 and 2000, the number of Asians and Pacific Islanders grew from 3.7 million to nearly 12 million driven by the entry of immigrants and refugees. The vast majority are foreign born. After Latinos, Asians are the nation's fastest-growing ethnic group.
Source: Newsday, Nov. 13, 2005.
DREAM Act Redux
From The National Immigration Law Center website: A bipartisan group of Senators officially introduced the DREAM Act of 2005, giving new life to legislation that has been in a holding pattern since the beginning of the year. The sponsor of the DREAM Act of 2005 is Richard Durbin (D-IL), and the lead Republican cosponsors are Chuck Hagel (R-NE) and Richard Lugar (R-IN). The other original cosponsors are Norm Coleman (R-MN), Larry Craig (R-ID), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Mike DeWine (R-OH), Russ Feingold (D-WI), Edward Kennedy (D-MA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Joseph Lieberman (D-CT), John McCain (R-AZ), and Barack Obama (D-IL). (Michael Olivas points out that previous sposor Orrin hatch (Rep-Utah) is not a sponsor o this bioll.). If enacted, the DREAM Act would transform the lives of persons who were brought to the U.S. years ago as undocumented children and who have stayed in school and out of trouble since their arrival. Currently these individuals have no pathway to legalize their immigration status and get on with their lives. The DREAM Act would correct this flaw by providing that upon high school graduation, these individuals-who have grown up in the United States-would be able to apply for six years of "conditional" legal immigration status which would be made permanent if they continue on to college or to serve in the military. Among those helped would be Marie Gonzalez who grew up in Jefferson City, Missouri. A Latina Magazine Mujer of the year, she became a symbol for others like her when she was able to stave off deportation earlier this year with the help of thousands of supporters. Now she is quietly attending college, but her reprieve only lasts until July of 2006, at which time she could again face deportation if the DREAM Act is not enacted. The features of the DREAM Act of 2005 are nearly identical to the version that passed the Senate Judiciary Committee last year by a 16-3 vote. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), formerly the Chair of that Committee, was then the sponsor of the DREAM Act. He has assured constituents that his failure to introduce it again this year does not mean that he is any less supportive than he was in the past. Introduction of the DREAM Act comes at a time when the broader immigration debate is becoming more and more politicized and contentious. DREAM Act supporters argue that it deserves to considered on its own merits, regardless of one's position on other immigration issues. It will have a far bigger impact on education, fairness to children, and American competitiveness than on immigration to this country. Supporters argue that young people facing high school graduation and major decisions about college or work should not be asked to wait until Congress resolves all of the other vexing immigration issues. Rather, Congress should act now and take these young people off of the field of battle of the immigration wars. Additional information about the DREAM Act is available at: http://nilc.org/immlawpolicy/index.htm#DREAM
November 20, 2005
Illinois Immigration Bill Signed
Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich singed an Executive Order on Saturday, devoted to immigrant issues. The initiative takes Illinois toward a strategic and proactive approach to ghe growing immigrant population in the state and brings together policymakers, state and local advocates for immigrants and many others to identify how the state can better assist immigrans and the communities that receive them. Immigrants are flourishing more than ever in Illinois, and this order will further help in their civic integration.
The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights played a large role in drafting the order that provides a line item for immigration in the state budget, protects day laborers, provides $3 million for a New Americans Initiative aimed to helping permanent residents become naturalized citizens, and allows undocumented immigrants to attend public universities in Illinois paying in-state tuition.
source: All Headline News, Nov. 18, 2005
Review of Book on Impacts of 9/11 on Immigrant Communities
Mother Jones (http://www.motherjones.com/news/qa/2005/11/tram_nguyen.html) has an interesting review of Tram Nguyen's new book "We are All Supects Now," which analyzes the human impact of the immigration and other measures taken after September 11.
New Republic Article on Rise in Anti-Immigrant Groups
The November 7 issue of the New Republic includes an interesting article by Clay Risen that focuses in anti-iimigrant activism in the South. The aricle provides some fascinating insights (such was the increasing tendency among anti-immigrant activists to equate illegal immigration with terrorism) about the various Minutemen "franchises" springing up in Maryland, Virginia, Tennessee, Alabama, and other states. The article, which was written before Jerry Kilgore was defeated in the Virginia Governor's race, mentions that Kilgore made immigration enforcement a high profile issue in the state (especially Northern Virginia).