Saturday, December 3, 2005

Wanted: More Mexican Ag Workers

Every year since 1992, an estimated half million undocumented immigrants have crossed the border to enter the US. The US is now home to some 10-11 million undocumented residents. Around 2.5 million live in California. One in four--about 600,000, more than 80% of whom are Mexican--work in the state's agricultural industry. And still, with undocumented laborers making up half of the state's farm labor force, agriculture faces a growing labor shortage, according to growers.

One small example illustrates the size of the problem: In September, the shortage cost raisin growers in the Central Valley $300,000, as farmers extended the season by nearly a month because they had less than half the people they needed to pick and dry their grapes. In total, California farmers worked the harvest season with 100,000 fewer workers than they needed, according to the ag trade group Western Growers.

Tom Nassif, president of that trade group, is spearheading a public lobbying campaign that proclaims what for years was too taboo to say out loud: the agriculture industry relies on undocumented laborers. And Nassif—whose organization represents the growers who supply half of the nation’s fresh produce—says the problem his members face isn’t too many illegal immigrant workers, but too few.

Source:Monterey County (CA) Weekly, Dec. 1, 2005

December 3, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

National Immigration Law Center Positions

The National Immigration Law Center has announcee two new positions at NILC -- a Field Coordinator and a Policy Analyst/Attorney – to complement our work on the issues affecting low-income immigrants and other communities affected by the recent disasters of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The new Field Coordinator and Policy Analyst/Attorney will work closely with NILC staff to help address the barriers to benefits and services immigrant survivors of the hurricanes are facing. They will also support the advocacy and organizing efforts to counter the exploitation of immigrant workers that are being recruited to work in the reconstruction efforts in the Gulf Coast. Contact: Linton Joaquin, executive director, National Immigration Law Center, 3435 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 2850, Los Angeles, CA 90010, 213-639-3900 x. 109, 213-639-3911 (fax),



December 3, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, December 2, 2005

New from the Office of Immigration Statistics

"Immigration Enforcement Actions: 2004" presents information on apprehensions, investigations, detention and removal of foreing nationals during FY2004.

"2004 Data Available On-Line" Access data on foreign nationals who were granted LPR status, were admitted into the United States on a temporary basis, applied for asylum or refugee status, or were naturalized, and enforcement actions at:

"U.S. Legal Permanent Residents: 2004"

"Naturalizations in the United States: 2004"

"Temporary Admission on Nonimmigrants to the United States in 2004"

"Refugee Applicants and Admissions to the United States: 2004"


December 2, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Chertoff announces (vague) new system for verification of employee status

Michael Chertoff, head of the Department of Homeland Security announced on Thursday (12/1) that employers will be given now tools for verifying the immigration status of their employees.

Actions against employers for hiring undocumented workers have fallen to negligible levels in recent years (Between 1999 and 2004, the number of notices of intent to fine an employer dropped from 417 to fewer than 5, according to a G.A.O. report.)  Inspections of workplaces have also fallen off sharply.  Importantly, Michael Wishnie and others have noted that those inspections that do go forward are often correlated to workers' efforts to organize in the workplace, which suggests that such inspections do more to serve as a means of retaliation for workers' efforts to secure their workplace rights than as a neutral tool for immigration enforcement.

It's not clear how the new identification system, discussed in slightly more detail in this article, will affect this state of affairs.


December 2, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Staff Attorney Position--Immigrant Women Program

Legal Momentum, formerly the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund, is seeking a Staff Attorney to work in the Immigrant Women Program in Washington, D.C.  For teh position announcement, see Download iwp_attorney_job_announcement_12205.pdf


December 2, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Rise, Peak, And Decline: Trends In US Immigration 1992-2004

Jeffrey S. Passel and Roberto Suro for the Pew Hispanic Center write "... both the increases and decreases in migration flows over the past 15 years coincided with sharp changes in the U.S. economy.",1205-passel.pdf


December 2, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)


Year-Long Investigation by Daniel Zwerdling Follows His Award-Winning 2004 Special Report on Abuse of Non-Citizens in American Prisons Washington, D.C.

NPR News senior correspondent Daniel Zwerdling, whose 2004 investigation into abuse of immigrant detainees in U.S. prisons won top honors for investigative journalism and changed Department of Homeland Security policy, continues his reporting on this subject with a new investigation into the death of a detainee at a federal facility after staff apparently neglected national medical standards of care. Zwerdling also cites three other recent cases in which immigrant detainees died, after detention officials neglected to give them prompt medical care, according to witnesses. The half-hour investigation will air on the Monday, December 5 edition of All Things Considered, continuing that series' use of long-form reports and documentaries. The report will also be available as streaming audio on <> beginning that day at approximately 7PM (ET). On November 17 and 18, 2004, Zwerdling reported on harsh conditions in two New Jersey prisons experienced by non-citizens detained by the Department of Homeland Security on administrative charges in advance of deportation. Zwerdling revealed that guards were terrorizing these prisoners with attack dogs - in some cases, ordering the dogs to maul them - and beatings on handcuffed detainees while other guards watched. The report was honored with numerous awards including the Edward R. Murrow award for investigative reporting from the Radio-Television News Directors Association, the IRE award from Investigative Reporters and Editors, Inc. and the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism award for investigative reporting from the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Foundation. Within two days of the broadcasts, the DHS banned the use of dogs around detainees, and officials in Hudson County, NJ announced that 11 guards would be disciplined. In this new follow-up investigation, Zwerdling examines how Richard Rust, a 34-year-old Jamaican detainee in Louisiana's Oakdale Federal Detention Center, collapsed and died after government employees apparently disregarded national medical standards by neglecting to give him basic emergency care. Prison employees subsequently put dozens of immigrants at Oakdale in near-solitary confinement after they protested what had happened. Zwerdling reconstructed what happened by tracking down current and former detainees, now scattered across the U.S. and the Caribbean, who say they witnessed all or part of what happened to Richard Rust. They all tell the same story about Rust's final hours and how DHS violated its own policy, posted on its website, that "detention staff will.respond to health-related emergencies within a four-minute response time." No Oakdale, Bureau of Prisons or DHS officials would comment on-air for the investigation and, at most, provided brief e-mail responses to some questions. A former state chief medical officer for prisons, however, comments about legal ramifications of potential deliberate indifference to serious medical needs and other experts discuss widespread evidence that detainees have become sick, and some have died, due to similar neglect. "The earlier series revealed how harshly Homeland Security's detention system treats some detainees, but even the immigrants who were mauled or beaten didn't die," said Zwerdling. "Richard Rust and three other detainees died within months of each other, in troubling circumstances, yet officials throughout the detention system don't seem to think that they need to be held accountable and explain to the public exactly what happened." Producer of the investigation is Katherine Davidson; editor is Ellen Weiss.


December 2, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Minutemen Founder Makes NPR's Morning Edition

NPR's Morning Edition (Dec. 1) did a story on Jim Gilcrist's run for Congress, which makes him sound like a serious candidate.  Is he?  Recall that, in California's Orange County, Minuteman Project co-founder Jim Gilchrist faces Republican State Senator John Campbell in a battle for the congressional seat vacated by Christopher Cox. Cox resigned to become head of the Securities and Exchange Commission.


December 2, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Posner's Criticism of the BIA Hits the Mainstream

Thursday, December 1, 2005

Proposal to Only Count Citizens in Census

The House Government Reform Subcommittee on Federalism is holding a hearing next week on an amendment to the Constitution.   HJ Res 53  would require that only citizens be counted in the census for the purpose of apportioning Members to  the US House. The resolution was proposed by Congresswoman Candice Miller (R-Michigan) on June 9, 2005.


December 1, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

More from Migration Policy Institute

Making US Immigration Enforcement Work: What Will It Take?

In his visit to the Southwest this week, President Bush again focused attention on the need to control unauthorized immigration to the United States. on Tues., Dec. 6, the Migration Policy Institute will release a series of publications evaluating the successes and failures of US immigration enforcement efforts, as well as recommendations for new initiatives.

These publications were prepared for the Independent Task Force on Immigration and America's Future, a bipartisan panel MPI has convened in partnership with Manhattan Institute and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars to generate sound information and workable policy ideas. Publications will be available online starting at 10 am on Dec. 6 at


December 1, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Immigration Legislation in the 109th Congress

The Congressional Research Service issued a report on immigration legislation in the 109th Congress.

Maria Elena

December 1, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Immigration Top I0

The Migration Information Source's recently announced its first annual list of the year's Top 10 Migration Issues. The list ranges over the whole world of migration issues, from US immigration reform to European integration challenges to massive displacement by natural disasters in Asia and the Americas. The choices on news events, noteworthy developments, and increasingly important trends. Top experts also weighed in by telling us what surprised them most this year.  Let them know what you think:

1 Challenges of Immigrant Integration: Muslims in Europe

2 Linking Security and Immigration Controls: The Post-9/11 US Model Goes Global

3 US Immigration Reform Moves Forward

4 Temporary Work Programs Back in Fashion

5 EU Disunion: Immigration in an Enlarged Europe

6 Remittances Reach New Heights

7 Extreme Measures: What Migrants Are Willing to Do to Get in and What Governments Will Do to Stop Them

8 Growing Competition for Skilled Workers (and Foreign Students)

9 Asylum Applications Drop Sharply

10 Record Numbers Displaced by Natural Disasters

December 1, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Alienage Status at Trial

In a time of anti-immigrant sentiment, the issue raised in Agosto, Benny, Jr. and Jason B. Ostrom. Can the injured Migrant Worker's Alien Status be Introduced at Trial? 30 T. Marshall L. Rev. 383-407 (2005), is of great importance.

December 1, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Border Patrol Uniforms

Many jokes have been made in the last week or so about the fact that Border Patrol uniforms apparently are made in Mexico.  Although perhaps a delicious irony, it is not all that surprising.  Presumably (although not definitely--it is the government :) ), the federal government shopped around for a good -- maybe even the best -- price on the uniforms.  The cost of labor generally is cheaper in Mexico than in the United States, one of the reasons for the growth of the maquiladoras in the border region.  Like many employers in the United States, the federal government as an economic actor values cheaper products through cheaper labor.   

The only surprise is that anti-Mexico/Mexican sentiment did not get in the way of the U.S. government's purchase of the uniforms.  But, as NAFTA demonstrates, the United States supports the free trade of goods and services, if not the free migration of people, in the border region.


December 1, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Bush's immigration language: LA Times Op-Ed

The LA Times ran an op-ed yesterday criticizing the President's efforts in the immigration area.  The Editors write:

"Watching Bush talk about immigration is like watching an old athlete who never fulfilled his promise. He has been saying the right things on immigration since he took office but has never followed through, for various reasons: 9/11, the war, other political imperatives and the need to nurse his political capital. Now he has almost no political capital, which might account for his timid approach . . . ."

"As Bush said: 'People in this debate must recognize that we will not be able to effectively enforce our immigration laws until we create a temporary-worker program.'  Trouble is, print out Bush's speech and you'll see that he said this on the seventh of eight pages."

In short, while Bush still pays lip-service to his earlier guest worker idea, his rhetoric skews very heavily toward casting immigration solely as a security and anti-terrorist measure.  For 4 long years, it has been clear that this is the few vocabularies with which the president feels fluent....the editorial implies....for I would not suggest such a thing myself, of course.

-just another blogger

November 30, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse--Syracuse University

The Transactional Records Action Clearinghouse (TRAC) gathers, analyzes, and distributes data about the fairness and effectiveness of federal enforcement of laws and regulations. Associated with Syracuse University, its purpose is to provide the U.S. public with the information they need to hold the federal government accountable for its activities, staffing, and spending. TRAC has just added administrative immigration enforcement as a particular focus of its research. TRAC hopes to supplement the work of immigration advocates by uncovering hard data to document what is known - and, at times, is not known - about how the government enforces immigration laws. To accomplish this, TRAC has hired Washington-based immigration attorney Larry Katzman as well as a system/web delivery professional to work full time in this arena. In other areas, TRAC has been successful over the years in obtaining detailed and hard-to-find information about federal civil and criminal enforcement and getting it into the hands of public interest groups, the media, members of Congress, and the public. It will do the same in immigration. TRAC obtains data on government operations. TRAC reviews all publicly-available information such as reports and statistical tables generated by agencies, Congressional testimony, websites, news articles, and reports by Inspectors General and the GAO. TRAC then files Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to obtain internal agency data. It also goes after detailed, redacted records of the thousands or millions of individuals impacted by agency action. Importantly, TRAC also litigates against the federal government when its FOIA requests are not fully and promptly complied with. It has current or impending lawsuits, for instance, against the Department of Justice, Office of Personnel Management, and the RS. TRAC organizes and analyzes the data. TRAC staff members utilize their statistical, legal, and analytical expertise in assessing the data it obtains. Is the data complete and accurate? What has been withheld? What do the results tell us about government effectiveness, efficiency, and fairness? How does the information differ from data or messages previously provided by the agency, from public perceptions, and from the anecdotal experience of practitioners and advocates? TRAC reports on its findings. TRAC issues reports based on the data. Colorful maps, graphs, and links to thousands of pages of supporting material accompany the reports. TRAC maintains websites. The reports and summary data are then published on TRAC's public website ( TRAC also maintains a subscription site that is accessed both by the media (The New York Times, USA Today, CNN, NPR, The Washington Post, and many others), law schools, public interest groups, and the government itself (e.g. the DOJ's Inspector General, Congressional committees, the Government Accounting Office). More than a terabyte of data, or the equivalent of 500,000,000 printed pages, is indexed and easily available on TRAC's websites. About TRAC's Immigration Project: So often, immigration advocates create carefully-researched and well-written letters, reports, and press releases as part of their important government oversight function. But because of the dearth of comprehensive data on immigration enforcement and adjudications, these documents are often based on personal experiences with clients or judges, on observations (e.g., in detention centers) or on publicly-available government statistics that sometimes are incomplete or inaccurate. Hard statistics are invaluable for documenting problems, bolstering arguments for legal and policy changes, and supporting litigation efforts. How many indefinite detainees are not receiving timely and fair reviews of their continued detention? How many unaccompanied minors are not promptly transferred to ORR custody and how many are denied consent to pursue their special immigrant juvenile claims? How many individuals with misdemeanor convictions are deemed to be aggravated felons and ordered removed as a result? What are the historical and regional trends of the numbers? Authoritative data on these and many other matters, such as those relating to asylum, removal, gender, adjudications, and adjustments are usually maintained by the U.S. government but not made publicly available.TRAC's goal is to perform the hard work of acquiring this type of information - exactly what immigration advocates need but do not have the resources or expertise to obtain on their own. Litigators, practitioners, policy-makers, human rights groups, academics, and the media will also benefit from the data that TRAC uncovers. TRAC will work closely with advocates in identifying specific issues that can be quantified, analyzing data that is received, and drafting reports. TRAC will make all of its reports available free-of-charge to the non-profit sector through a website. TRAC invites you to work with us in developing and implementing this important project. For more information, contact Larry Katzman, 202-518-9000, ext. 2;


November 30, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

ICE Arrests 44 In Marriage Fraud Scam

ICE announced in a press released that a total of 44 individuals, many of them based in Orange County, CA's Little Saigon, have been indicted for their roles in an elaborate scheme to obtain fraudulent immigrant visas for hundreds of Chinese and Vietnamese nationals based on sham marriages to US citizens.,1201-fraud.pdf


November 30, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

U-Visa Class Action Lawsuit Filed

Peter A. Schey of the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law Foundation writes "Despite knowing for nearly five years that they were required to afford crime victims a path to legal status, the Defendants have unlawfully refused and failed to implement the U visa provisions of the Violence Protection Act.",1201-schey.shtm

November 30, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Father Jon Cortina

Susan Gzesh ifnormed the immigration law professors listserve of the sad news about the recent stroke suffered by Father Jon Cortina:

Many of us who have worked on issues related to El Salvador have gotten to know Father Jon Cortina over the years. He was the surviving Jesuit of the 1989 massacre, as he was away from the UCA when his brethren were killed by the Salvadoran military. He has worked tirelessly over the years on post-war justice issues, from litigation in the US against the Salvadoran generals to finding the "lost" Salvadoran children adopted outside the country. We just heard that Father Cortina has suffered a massive stroke and is in a coma. I thought there would be members of our network who know him and would want to hear this news, however sad.

November 30, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)