Saturday, December 10, 2005

Starnge but True Factoid?

My friend Jack Ayer passed on this interesting message:

The presence of feral hogs in a state is a strong indicator of its support for Bush. Twenty-three of the twenty-eight states with feral hogs voted for Bush. That’s more than four-fifths; states that went for Kerry, by contrast, were feral-hog states less than a fifth of the time.

    The solidly feral-hog South was, of course, solidly for Bush. The small islands there without wild hogs—Little Rock, Raleigh Durham—voted for Kerry. Democrats who predicted a Kerry win in Florida in ‘04 might have been less confident had they known that all of Florida’s sixty-seven counties, even its urban ones, have feral hogs. Texas, a gimme for Bush, is the state in the Union with the most feral hogs. All the Northeastern states voted for Kerry. None of the Northeastern states have feral hogs—with one exception. That is New Hamphshire…. Is it merely coincidence that New Hampshire (Kerry fifty per cent, Bush forty-nine percent) is the Northeastern state Bush came closest to winning?

    Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois are among the states that have acquired feral-hog populations since 1982. Of the twenty-two counties (all rural) that have feral hogs in those states, seventeen voted for Bush in ‘04. Ohio and Indiana both have more feral hog counties than Illinois; Bush won [SIC] Ohio and Indiana, lost Illinois.

    A prominent feature of the red state—blue state maps is the sweep of red coming up from Texas and the South through the center of the country. Experts say that feral hogs are starting to do the same.

Coincidence? You be the judge.


December 10, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Fourth Amendment Protections for Undocumented Immigrants

United States v. Atienzo, 2005 US Dist LEXIS 31652 by Paul G. Cassell, United States District Judge, begins as as follows:

This case is before the court on defendant Ray Atienzo's motion to suppress incriminating evidence against him for alleged violation of his Fourth Amendment rights. Atienzo is in this country illegally, creating the question of whether he is entitled to claim the Amendment's protections, which extend to "the People " of this country. In an earlier decision--United States v. Esparza-Mendoza --the court agreed with the government that previously deported alien felons illegally in this country fell outside the Amendment's coverage. The court, however, specifically reserved the issue of whether the same conclusion would apply to someone who, while an illegal alien, was not a previously-deported felon. The court now holds that the sole fact that someone is an illegal alien does not deprive them of the protections of the Fourth Amendment, at least in situations where the government does not raise any contrary argument.

Judge Cassell seems to use a membership kind of analysis to determine that Atienzo was entitled to Fourth Amendment protections because of his ties to US society. Je seems to leave open the question whether some undocumented persons might not have the necessary contacts to warrant the protections. This is his second published opinion on the general topic.


December 10, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Suspended for Speaking Spanish

A 16-year-old student at a small public high school in Kansas City was suspended for speaking Spanish in a hallway conversation.

Most of the time, Zach Rubio converses in clear, American teen-speak, a form of English in which the three most common words are "like," "whatever" and "totally." But Zach is also fluent in his father’s native language, Spanish.

"It was, like, totally not in the classroom," the high school junior said, recalling the infraction. "We were in the, like, hall or whatever, on restroom break. This kid I know, he's like, 'Me prestas un dolar?' ['Will you lend me a dollar?'] Well, he asked in Spanish; it just seemed natural to answer that way. So I'm like, 'No problema.' "

But the conversation turned out to be a big problem for the staff at the Endeavor Alternative School, in an ethnically mixed blue-collar neighborhood. A teacher who overheard the two boys sent Zach to the office, where Principal Jennifer Watts ordered him to call his father and leave the school.

Watts won't discuss the case. But in a written disciplinary message explaining her decision to suspend Zach for 1-1/2 days, she noted: "This is not the first time we have [asked] Zach and others to not speak Spanish at school."

Source: The Washington Post, Dec. 9, 2005

December 10, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Labor and immigration in Ireland

More than 10,000 labor union members protested Friday in Ireland's capital and other cities over shipping company Irish Ferries' plan to replace its workers with Eastern European immigrants (primarily from Latvia) who are willing to work for far less pay. The New York Times called the protest "the country's most bitter industrial showdown in decades." The story is here:


December 10, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, December 9, 2005

Southwest Borderlands Initiative Openings

The Department of Social & Behavioral Sciences at Arizona State
University at the West Campus seeks names of potential applicants for a
Southwest Borderlands Initiative hire to join the faculty beginning fall
semester 2006.  The Department wishes to hire in the areas of Latino
political representation, participation, and public policy
formation-three areas that represent crucial research and teaching gaps
at ASU at the West Campus.  The hire's Latino policy focus may include
but is not limited to Latino public health policy, immigration policy,
and the study of decades-old efforts to close gaps between Latino
population and political representation and participation. The hire
could complement existing research and teaching strengths in the New
College on public health policy, or on immigration broadly considered,
including the global economic forces that push and pull immigrants to
the United States. The Department anticipates that the candidate will
strengthen the overall campus emphases on social justice and social

The hire is open with respect to rank, including to ABD candidates who
are nearing completion of the PhD.  The hire should demonstrate high
scholarly productivity or promise of such productivity commensurate with

Please email the names of potential applicants (and, if possible, their
institutional affiliations) to Julie Murphy Erfani, Chair, Southwest
Borderlands Initiative Search Committee, by 12:00 noon on Monday,
December 19, 2005: Email:

December 9, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Harold Pinter on Iraq, Blair, and Bush

In his video-taped Nobel acceptance speech, writer Harold Pinter excorciated a "brutal, scornful and ruthless" United States. He argues that the invasion of Iraq was a "bandit act," and that Tony Blair and George Bush should be arraigned before the International Criminal Court of Justice for their acts of "blatant state terrorism." For the full text, see,3858,5350697-114241,00.html


December 9, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Congressional Immigration Reports

The Role of Immigrants In The US Labor Market:  Nabeel A. Alsalam and Ralph E. Smith of the Congressional Budget Office write "a large number of studies have attempted to
estimate the effects of immigration on native workers, but their conclusions reveal little consensus.",1212-alsalam.pdf

CRS Report On DHS Reorganization

The Congressional Research Service issued a report summarizing the conclusions and proposals resulting from Secretary Michael Chertoff's comprehensive second stage review (2SR) of the DHS's
organization, operations, and policies.,1212-crs.pdf


December 9, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Green Card "Recall"?

According to the Los Angeles Time, incorrect residency start dates caused by computer error led to a recall of 60,000+ green cards. For the full story, see here.,1,1018906.story?coll=la-headlines-politics

What the heck?


December 9, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

60 Minutes on the Border

Two weeks ago, President Bush promised to spend more than ever before to stop illegal immigrants from crossing our 2,000-mile mile border with Mexico. It's not the first time a president has pledged to do that; in the early 90s, the Clinton Administration also vowed to tighten the US-Mexican border. Since then, the U.S. government has tripled the budget for border control, spending a small fortune on surveillance technology, not to mention thousands of additional border patrol agents. All of that was supposed to make it harder for illegal immigrants to cross over in cities and towns along the border. And it did. So why are some of the same people who designed the strategy now saying it's been a huge waste of taxpayers' money?  60 MINUTES will take a hard look at the problem on this week's show. Sunday, Dec. 11, 7PM ET/PT on CBS.


December 9, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Expansion of Ag Felonies and Restrictions on Judicial Review Again

A bill introduced by Congressman Sensenbrenner on Tuesday deals with both border enforcement and expanding aggravated felonies/restricting judicial review (yet again). The House Judiciary Committee scheduled an immediate markup of the bill with a possible House floor vote next week.

December 9, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)


Tamar Jacoby, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, reviews "THE 50% AMERICAN: Immigration and National Identity in an Age of Terror" by Stanley A. Renshon in the Washington Post (Dec. 9). The review begins "There's nothing more disappointing in a public-policy book than a good idea pushed too far: an author who raises probing and important questions and then, instead of exploring them thoughtfully, crushes the topic with a sledgehammer." You get the idea


December 9, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Immigration News Bits from the Beltway

Extension of Patriot Act

Congressional leaders reached a deal Thursday to extend key provisions of the Patriot Act, the government's premier anti-terrorism law. However, prominent Democratic senators said they opposed the compromise, and one threatened a veto. Under the deal, two of 16 provisions set to expire at the end of the year will be extended for four years, Sen. Arlen Specter, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee announced. The remaining 14 provisions will be made permanent. The controversial U.S. anti-terrorism law passed in the months after the September 11, 2001, attacks and expanded government surveillance powers. The deal marks Congress' first revision of the law.

Border Enforcement

On December 8, 2005, the House Judiciary Committee approved legislation "preventing illegal immigration and bolstering border security," or so says the Committee.


December 9, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, December 8, 2005

Database Errors and Immigration Enforcement by Local Police

Thousands of times each year, police officers checking the name of an individual stopped or detained against records in the nation’s main criminal database have received an initial “hit” for an immigration violation that, upon further investigation, the Department of Homeland Security could not confirm. These “false positives” have likely caused wrongful detentions and diverted scarce police resources from local public safety priorities, finds a report to be released on Thursday by the Migration Policy Institute.

The study, based on government data, finds that from 2002 to 2004, when police queried names in the FBI's National Crime Information Center database, the officer received erroneous immigration hits in almost 9,000 cases. The rate of false positives was 42% overall, and some individual law enforcement agencies had error rates as high as 90%.

“The incredibly high number of false positives in the database means that police resources, which are always stretched thin, are being wasted on detaining immigrants and non-immigrants alike who haven’t done anything wrong,” said MPI President Demetrios Papademetriou.

The report, Blurring the Lines: A Profile of State and Local Police Enforcement of Immigration Law Using the National Crime Information Center Database, 2002-2004, uses data released by DHS in partial settlement of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.  The report provides the first glimpse of how immigration data in the NCIC is being used, by which local law enforcement agencies, and against which immigrants.


December 8, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

More tidbits...

Stewart Elliott has asked the acting governor of New Jersey for a pardon, which would allow the Kentucky Derby-winning jockey to avoid possible deportation over a 2001 guilty plea for aggravated assault. A short story on the matter is here:

His lawyers note that he has a clean record since he entered his 2001 plea for aggravated assault and that he's kicked the drinking problem that apparently led to the incident. Under these circumstances, the pardon seems warranted. Unfortunately, that is also the case for many people who are deported every year. But if you're not a "highly successful rider," it is exceptionally difficult, if not impossible, to have your arguments heard.


December 8, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

LULAC on the Repeal of Birthright Citizenship

League of United Latin American Citizens PRESS RELEASE December 8, 2005

Proposed Immigration Legislation Challenges U.S. Constitution by Eliminating Birthright Citizenship to Babies Born to Undocumented

LULAC condemns the House Republicans for introducing bills that destroy a system of integration, creates a permanent underclass of children and reverts the American way of life to an era of systemic oppression. The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) condemned today House Republicans for introducing a series of immigration proposals that have taken an illegal, radical and cruel turn in immigration reform - eliminating birthright citizenship to babies born to undocumented parents.Bills that contain language to eliminate birthright citizenship include: "The Reducing Immigration to a Genuinely Healthy Total (RIGHT) Act" introduced by Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO); the "Citizenship Reform Act" introduced by Rep. Nathan Deal (R-GA); and the "Enforcement First Immigration Reform Act" introduced by Rep. J.D. Hayworth (R-AZ). The latest attack on immigration by House Republicans challenges the U.S. Constitution, which the Supreme Court has upheld this basic right for more than 150 years. The 14th Amendment codifies that "all persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States." Rights and safeguards guaranteed under the 14th Amendment prohibit the government from depriving citizens of due process of law, guarantee citizens equal protection, and extend citizenship and voting rights to persons born in the U.S. Historically, the 14th Amendment was designed to protect the rights of Southern blacks and restrict the political power of former Confederates. It added into the Constitution the definition of U.S. citizenship that was enacted in the Civil Rights Bill; barred states from abridging "the privileges or immunities of citizens" or depriving "any person of life, liberty or property without due process of law"; encouraged Southern states to allow blacks to vote; barred former officials who had rebelled against the Union from holding public office; and repudiated both Confederate war debts and claims of former slaveholders to compensation for the loss of their slaves. "The U.S. Constitutions is clear and any measure that strips the citizenship of anyone born in the United States is unlawful and damaging to the structure of the United States," said Brent Wilkes, executive director of LULAC. "America has had a long trajectory of integrating newcomers into this country, which creates a sense of belonging, pride and the ability to become productive members of society. These bills will destroy that system of integration and instead create a new, permanent underclass of children." Wilkes continued: "Punishing children in the name of immigration reform is a poor and unlawful attempt to resolve very real immigration challenges, and it reverts the American way of life to an era of systemic oppression. No U.S. law currently on our books punishes children for their parent's lawbreaking. All Children born in the United States should be treated equal under the law." LULAC strongly opposes bills that offer no real solutions toward comprehensive immigration reform and jeopardizes the quality of life by creating an unfair system that punishes children. The League of the United Latin American Citizen ( advances the economic conditions, educational attainment, political influence, health and civil rights of Hispanic Americans through community-based programs operating at more than 700 LULAC councils nationwide.


December 8, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

AILF Newsletter

AMERICAN IMMIGRATION LAW FOUNDATION, LEGAL ACTION CENTER, LITIGATION CLEARINGHOUSE NEWSLETTER , Vol. 1, No. 1 December 7, 2005 Check it out at Download 12705_litigation_newsletter.pdf

AILF does great work!


December 8, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Immigration News Tidbits

Good News:  Jim Gilchrist, Minutemen founder, lost in his bid for Congress.

Bad News:  Gilchrist got 25% of the vote.  His was a one-issue, anti-immigrant campaign that apparently struck a chord with a good chunk of the voters in the OC.

Bad News:  Tom Tancredo is trying to attach as a rider to a bill a provision that would deny birthright citizenship to the children of undocumented immigrants.  The idea is to create a constitutional challenge and have the Supremes revisit the issue.


December 8, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

New Immigration Article

"Immigration Law and Federal Court Jurisdiction through the Lens of Habeas Corpus" Cornell Law Review, Vol. 91, January 2006 BY: HIROSHI MOTOMURA University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law Document: Available from the SSRN Electronic Paper Collection: Paper ID: UNC Legal Studies Research Paper No. 05-26 The focus of this article is habeas corpus in immigration cases from 1996 to 2005, when it was a principal vehicle for federal court jurisdiction to review removal orders. Although the REAL ID Act of 2005 seemed to eliminate habeas review of removal orders in favor of petitions for review in the federal courts of appeals, the decade of experience with immigration habeas is not just a matter of historical interest. It holds important lessons for federal courts as they define their jurisdiction in immigration cases after the REAL ID Act.


December 8, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, December 7, 2005

UC Davis Immigration Law Clinic Wins Again!!!

The UC Davis Immigration Law Clinic had two big wins this week in the Immigration Court in San Francisco. Jim Smith and Amagda Perez, the two sage staff attorneys in the Clinic, supervised an excellent group of UC Davis law students on these cases.

Brazilian asylum case

The Immigration Clinic represented a Brazilian man with his application for asylum before the Immigration Court in San Francisco. The client was persecuted by community and family members because of his sexual orientation. Students Andrea Anapolsky, Melyssa Minamoto, and Katie Ruhl did an outstanding job preparing the pre-hearing brief, getting experts ready to testify at the hearing, and preparing their client for his hearing. A few minutes before the removal hearing began, the Department of Homeland Security attorney asked the students if our client was homosexual. The students responded that he was, and then the DHS attorney told the students and professor Smith that he was interested in justice and would not oppose a favorable grant of asylum by the Immigration Judge. When the Immigration Judge walked in to the courtroom, the DHS attorney reiterated his position to the Immigration Judge. Immigration Judge Lawrence DiCostanzo indicated that he was ready to make a decision on the case based on the pleadings, but if the students wanted the opportunity to present their case, he would allow them to do so. Taking into account the best interest of their client and not wanting to subject him to painful testimony, the students forewent their opportunity to do a full removal hearing. At the conclusion of the hearing, both the Immigration Judge and the DHS security congratulated the students on their excellent work preparing the case. Immigration Judge DiCostanzo noted that the UC Davis Immigration Law Clinic has the reputation of doing exceptional work and these students once again demonstrated the high caliber of work that comes from UC Davis.

Mexican Cancellation/Withholding Case

The Immigration Clinic representedg a young Mexican man placed in removal proceeding following bad advice he received from his public defender. Our client suffers from schizophrenia. During one of his delusional moments, our client, hungry and confused, attempted to enter a home. He shook the door handle, but did not enter the home. The homeowners called the police and our client was arrested. The public defender, not having taken a careful look at the criminal history record before him, advised our client to plead to attempted first degree burglary, despite the fact that our client did not have the mental capacity to form the intent to burglarize. The public defender incorrectly believed that the Clinic's client had prior convictions and did not investigate further. Because of the plea and accompanying sentence, our client was subjected to mandatory immigration detention. For one year, our client was locked up. He was transferred to another detention facility far from his family members and denied his medication. Consequently, the client became incapable of testifying at his state court of immigration hearings. DHS refused to transport our client to state court proceedings to withdraw the plea that was based on a mistake of fact by his public defender. After great advocacy efforts, the Immigration Judge accepted the argument that given the circumstances that had lead our client accept a no contest plea and that the plea was scheduled to be set aside based on constitutional violations, the conviction was not final and our client could be released on bond. After one year of being detained, our client was released from immigration custody and will be able to spend the holidays with his family.


December 7, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Ninth Circuit Case: Tchoukhrova v. Gonzales, 404 F.3d 1181 (9th Cir. 2005)

The Ninth Circuit has denied the government's petition for rehearing en banc in Tchoukhrova v. Gonzales, 404 F.3d 1181 (9th Cir. 2005). This was the case involving a disabled Russian child who suffered horrible abuse and separation from his mother, who was the principal asylum applicant. The panel decision held that harm to the child could be considered ("imputed") in determining whether his mother had suffered persecution. A dissent from the denial of the petition for rehearing en banc by Judge Alex Kozinski, joined by several other judges, argued that the panel in effect had created "reverse derivative asylum," that the Board had not considered the construction of the statute argued before the circuit, and that the panel decision was "nothing but a big end-run around [INS v. Ventura, 537 U.S. 12 (2002) (per curiam)]." The full dissent is at 2005 U.S. App. LEXIS. There are memos on the case, as well as a copy of an amicus brief (largely written by Matt Muller) at


December 7, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)