Saturday, April 15, 2006

Can't vote, but protesting is a risky business

A story on Page A1 of the NYTimes highlights some of the backlash faced by workers who have joined in the many peaceful demonstrations around the country -- some have been fired.  The full story is here.


April 15, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Revised Edition of "Decade of Betrayal" Released

The University of New Mexico Press has recently published a revised edition of Francisco E. Balderrama & Raymond Rodriguez, Decade of Betrayal:  Mexican Repatriation in the 1930s.  The release of this revision of this classic book on the removal from the country of hundreds of thousands of persons of Mexican ancestry, about two-thirds of whom were U.S. citizens, is especially timely in light of the national ferment over immigration, especially immigration from Mexico.

The revised edition includes a new chapter on efforts to bring the "repatriation" to national attention, including a set of hearings in the California Legislature that featured the testimony of, among others, some of the repatriates.  In January 2006, Givernor Schwarzenegger signed into law an apology for the state's role in the repatriation.  Congressmember Hilda Solis a few weeks ago introduced a bill in the House that, if passed, would create a commission to look at this unfortunate, yet largely unkown episode in U.S. history.


April 15, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Hearings on Foundations and Minorities

Investigatory Legislative Hearings on Foundations and  California's 20 Million Minorities

WHAT: Public Hearing on Diversity in Foundation Giving

WHEN:  Monday, April 24 at 4 P.M.

WHERE:  Room 444, Sacramento State Building

The California Latino Caucus, the California Legislative Black Caucus, and the California Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus will be conducting public hearings to investigate how foundations, both within and outside California, are helping to address the policy needs of this state’s 20 million minorities.

Bridging the Philanthropic Divide: Examining Foundation Investments in California’s Minority Communities

The majority of foundations have been slow to fully and effectively embrace diversity in both their governance structures and giving programs.  Several studies suggest that funding to minority communities is disproportionately low compared to the size of minority populations in the U.S.  A recent study by The Greenlining Institute ( highlights that just 3% of foundation grants go to organizations led by communities of color.  To access the report visit:

Community leaders are concerned that the paucity of foundation grants to minority-led nonprofit organizations has limited the capacity of people of color to impact public policy.  This impact is especially damaging in a time when hard-won civil and economic rights are being eroded daily by a well financed right wing.

Legislative Hearing to Stop the Redlining of Minority Communities

California Assembly Member Joe Coto, along with the Chairs of the California Latino Caucus, the California Legislative Black Caucus, and the California Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus, are holding a hearing on Monday, April 24 at 4pm in Sacramento to investigate the crisis in foundation grantmaking to minority-led organizations.  The hearing will feature testimony from leaders in the foundation, corporate, and non-profit sectors, and the Office of the Attorney General Bill Lockyer.  All are welcome to attend. 

For more information please contact Adriana Sanchez-Ochoa via email at: or Orson Aguilar at


April 15, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

More on Immigration Politics: Bush, Reid, and Pelosi

President Bush accused Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid on Thursday of single-handedly thwarting action on immigration legislation, and got a brisk retort in return. The Nevada Democrat shot back: "President Bush has as much credibility on immigration as he does on Iraq and national security."

Then yesterday, Reid and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi issued the following statement:

Pelosi and Reid: Spin Doesn’t Change the Mean-Spirited House Republican Immigration Bill

Washington, D.C. – House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid released the following statement on Speaker Hastert and Leader Frist’s support of the Sensenbrenner amendment, which would criminalize an entire population of immigrants: 

“Speaker Hastert and Leader Frist’s statement on immigration this week is a clear reflection that Republicans now feel the heat from the American people on the mean-spirited approach of the House Republican immigration bill, H.R. 4437, authored by Congressman James Sensenbrenner. 

“The statement serves to underline a key fact:  that the Republican Leaders of both the House and Senate support the criminalization of an entire population of immigrants by expressing support of an amendment that would have authorized 6-month jail sentences.

“No amount of spin by the Republican leadership can change the fact that the Sensenbrenner bill – including the felony provision – was authored by Republicans and ultimately passed by Republicans. 

“The fact is that Congressman Sensenbrenner’s amendment, if adopted, would have still criminalized an entire population for the first time in our history, rather than charging presence violations as civil offenses as provided under current law.  11 million men, women, and children, with no exceptions, would still go to jail for up to six months under the revised Sensenbrenner amendment.  That is why many Democrats voted against the Sensenbrenner amendment. 

“As we consider immigration reform, Democrats believe that we must protect and defend the American people by protecting our borders.  As we do so, we must also protect and defend our values as Americans with comprehensive, humane, and realistic immigration reform.  It is imperative to our national security, and it is the right thing to do.

“In contrast to these goals, we regret that Speaker Hastert and Leader Frist’s statement indicates that the Republican leadership and your Republican allies support authorizing 6-month jail sentences for an entire population and that turns 11 million men, women, and children—among the poorest and hardest working people in our country – into criminals.   

“We are a better country than that.  We must work together for real, bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform that protects our borders, honors our values, and that we can all be proud of.  The Sensenbrenner bill fails miserably and is antithetical to our basic values as a country.   We will continue to vigorously oppose it.”


April 15, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)


The Immigrant Legal Resource Center and the Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project prepared this helpful guide for Arizona immigration practitioners on immigration consequences of various Arzona crimes. Check it out by clicking here.


April 15, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Detention Story from Eloy, Arizona

The Spring 2006 issue of La Línea, the newsletter of the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project has a fascinating story about detention.   An Iranian client of the Project, soon to graduate from law school, tells his interesting yet troubling story of detention in Eloy, Arizona.  Released from Eloy in 2003, he ends with the following:

I wonder what the Supreme Court judges would think if they had to spend a week in Eloy, wondering when or if they would get out? Would they still consider endless months at Eloy not punishment?

Click here to see the full story.


April 15, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

From the Mail Room

Here are a couple comments from readers:

On the May 1 Boycott:

I ran across your blog in Typepad's Recently Updated Section.  The following comments are personal, but may be apropos to your readers.

For obvious reasons, I'm not giving my name.  My business is in the equestrian industry in California.  Two of my employees have appropriate documentation, the others do not.  I also hire occasional labor when we go to competitions--I am sure that those men (and they are all men) are undocumented. We also have an arrangement whereby if one of my full-time, permanent employees needs to take some time off--say to travel to be with a family member--he nominates a friend or family member to be a temporary employee.  This system has been much more satisfactory for me than finding someone myself.

In my business, the horses need to be cared for every day. I have a rather complicated schedule of days off so that all the work gets done.

On Thursday, the lead men finally approached me about the "day without an immigrant" action. I have spent the last two days spending a great deal of time discussing this with my employees. There's a tremendous amount of worry and anxiety.

Here are the things I've learned in these two days of conversation.
*my employees want to participate in the action for various reasons  -- individual to each man.
*Some of my employees have wives and children in Mexico, and would very much like to jobshare with a relative -- be home in Mexico for six months while Relative is working in the US, and then reverse the procedure. (This is plausible in my industry -- it's semi-skilled labor; if international travel were possible I'd endorse it.)
*my employees do not really wish to take the day off, as that's a busy day for us. Mondays are the only days in whic I do not provide services for clients, so we use that day to catch up on all the work that is hard to get to when clients are in the establishment.  My employees take a great deal of pride in how our establishment appears, and taking that day off would mean that things would not be as ship-shape as they wish them to be.
*my employees are very worried about the impact upon their charges -- horses who need to be cared for every day.  (That's an issue that is addressable).
*my employees are worried, if they do not take the day off, their reputation among their friends or family members will suffer.
*The worries of my employees are also the worries of their   female relatives. Many of their female relatives have work providing child care or elder care or housekeeping services -- personal services -- that likewise would have a severe negative impact upon the recipient of the services. The female relatives don't know how (or if) to broach the subject of a May 1 day off with their employers.
*The language, culture, class, and gender barriers are huge here.  I finally summoned a friend who is fully bilingual (I think I am, but I know I am not) and an excellent translator for help, and one of the female relatives who is a nanny brought her charges over to sit in on the discussion.  We sent the men away for an hour to talk.

The success of my business is dependent upon the services my employees provide.  I've decided that I'm going to treat May 1 the same way I treat Christmas day: a paid day off, and I and two trusted clients (paying customers, for whom my employees take care of their horses) will feed, water, and clean the stalls.

If I get flak from others -- well, I will simply say that my employees arranged the day off in advance, so that I could prepare. 

I don't know what to say to the women -- it is so obviously dependent upon the individual relationships between the employee and employer.

I'm pretty sure I am doing the right thing for my business and my employees.  But I am worried the "day without an immigrant" will have a backlash.

On Illegal Immigration:

I am from Massachusetts, a semi reformed lliberal and an Unenrolled voter. I believe that English is our language here and we should not have a divide into a second language like Quebec dues. I do not think that people should not be stopped from applying from comming here legaly, but why should Mexico get a prefered status than africa or Russia. We need to secure our southern border and be tough. We need to evict anyone who is breaking the law by tresspassing by being here illegally. If you were sleeping in my basement ilegally... I would kick you out... whats the difference.


April 15, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Immigration from Brazil

NPR did a short story on undocumented immigrants from Brazil.  Click here to see it.


April 15, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, April 14, 2006

Training for Detention Representation

UC Davis Clinical Law Professor Holly Cooper will be featured at the following training:

Asian Law Caucus Training & Pro Bono Opportunities:
Representing Immigrants Facing Detention & Deportation

The Asian Law Caucus and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher, and Flom, LLP invite you to a legal training for law firm associates, legal service providers, advocates, and community organizers on:


Tuesday, May 9, 2006


6:30 p.m – 8:30 p.m.


Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher, and Flom LLP, Four  Embarcadero Center, San Francisco, California


Last week, Senate leaders were unable to reach an agreement around a compromise that will provide a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented living in the United States. The national debate on comprehensive immigration reform has sparked strong demonstrations in Milwaukee, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City and Phoenix in the past few weeks. Thousands turned out in Washington, D.C. and around the nation on April 10 as Congress prepares to return to the Senate floor debate on April 24. If passed, the Senate immigration bills contain certain detention and removal provisions that are of important concern to the Asian Law Caucus. These provisions will increase the detention of immigrants indefinitely; limit federal court’s review of removal orders issued erroneously; eliminate voluntary departure for immigrants; expand the use of secret evidence in removal proceedings; and eliminate the authority of Immigration Courts to hear motions to reopen of deportation cases.

In preparation for the vast immigration changes, the Asian Law Caucus will host a legal training on representing immigrants facing detention and deportation. Topics will include the nuts and bolts of representing immigrants before Immigration Court; overview of the detention system; a special focus on complex criminal immigration cases and an update on the Senate Immigration bills.

Attorneys interested in pro bono cases with the Asian Law Caucus are strongly encouraged to sign up for a removal case at the end of the legal training.

Individuals attending the training must RSVP to the Asian Law Caucus by contacting Sin Yen Ling at by April 28, 2006. Directions to Skadden, Arps will be provided after your RSVP is received. CLE will not be available For additional questions, please contact Sin Yen Ling at 415-896-1701 or


April 14, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Deaths Attempting to Enter...Italy

Spring Quarter 2006


Tuesday, April 18, 3:00-5:00 p.m.
Eleanor Roosevelt College Administration Building
Conference Room 115, First Floor

Reception to follow

Visiting Research Fellow, CCIS
Ph.D. Candidate in Anthropology, University of California-Irvine

Commentator:EIKO THIELEMANNGuest Scholar, CCIS
Assistant Professor in European Politics and Policy
London School of Economics, United Kingdom

The Italian Minister of the Interior has recently declared that according to his knowledge, 1,167 clandestine immigrants” have drowned in the last decade trying to reach Italy on boats and larger vessels.  Certain non-governmental sources estimate the death toll of would-be migrants in the Mediterranean, including asylum seekers, at 6,000.  This presentation, based on ethnographic fieldwork in Italy, overviews the chronicle of death off the coasts of southern Italy from 1996 to the present.  This death is “silent,” in the sense that it is both soundless and unspoken. Building on the analysis of certain key incidents, as well as the responses of Italian and EU institutions and the mass media, Albahari explores how lethal border practices become morally and politically acceptable and legally enforceable.  He proposes that the EU and the state, in the daily struggle against would-be migrants and asylum seekers, find in the de facto power to “let die” a key prerogative of their sovereignty.  At the same time, they also propose themselves as agents of humanitarianism in rescue operations, finding in this moral intervention a paradoxical legitimization of border enforcement.

About the Presenter:
Maurizio Albahari is a Ph.D. Candidate in Anthropology at the University of California-Irvine, where he is completing his dissertation and has been offering a comparative course on contemporary migration.  His interests include migration, religion/secularism, and the public sphere; nationalism and other forms of identitarian engagement; and ethics, biopolitics, and the politics of space, and culture and identity in the United States and Europe.  Albahari received his B.A. in Letters and Philosophy from the University of Florence, Italy.  During 2006-07, he will be a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Erasmus Institute, University of Notre Dame.


April 14, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

More Death on the Border

The San Francisco Chronicle (Apr. 14) reports that

the number of Mexican migrants who died attempting to come work in the United States climbed to a record high of 516 last year, almost 40 percent more than in 2004, according to figures compiled by the Mexican government. Record heat last summer and an American border control strategy that induced people to trek across more remote areas were largely to blame, Border Patrol officials and immigration analysts have said.

Click here to read the entire story.


April 14, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Supreme Court Transcript in Fernandez-Vargas

For the transcript to trial argument in Fernandez-Vargas v. Gonzalez -- an "aggravated felony" case -- argued before the Supreme Court on March 22, click here.


April 14, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

U.S. Government Pays for Strip Search and Detention at the AIrport

A young African woman who came to San Francisco to visit her mother in 2002 and instead was jailed, strip-searched and sent home the next day has settled her lawsuit against the government for $65,000 and said Thursday she hopes her case affects the way foreign visitors are treated at U.S. airports.   For the story, click here.


April 14, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

CRS On Criminalizing Unlawful Presence

The Congressional Research Service issued a report on the issues raised by criminalizing unlawful presence.  To check it out, click here


April 14, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Brush with Local Authorities Leads to Deportation

In some places, the local authorities are flagging some undocumented immigrants who are caught up in the criminal justice system, sometimes for minor offenses, and are alerting immigration officials to their illegal status so that they can be deported.

Click on: Path to Deportation Can Start With a Traffic Stop


April 14, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

A Radio Story on "Alien" Terminology

Alien, illegal, undocumentated, immigrant -- the debate over immigration policy is also about the words used by the various sides. Linguist Geoff Nunberg says the language of immigration has been controversial for as long as immigration has been an issue in American life. Listen by clicking here.


April 14, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 1 Boycott Controversial Among Immigrants

The coalition of grass-roots organizations that staged huge rallies on behalf of illegal immigrants in recent weeks is torn over an ambitious next step, a massive job and economic boycott that some are calling "A Day Without Immigrants."

Across the country, some groups have expressed enthusiasm for a May 1 action that they hope would paralyze restaurants, hotels, meat-packing plants and construction sites. But others have questioned the strategic value of such a move so soon after the wave of demonstrations, particularly as it would require many illegal immigrants to risk their jobs by skipping yet another workday.

See: Immigrant Groups Split on Boycott


April 14, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The Immigration Marches Redux

From the

Journalist and dual Mexican-American citizen David Brooks estimated that two to three million people across America demonstrated on Monday for increased immigrants' rights, and not all of them were concentrated in major urban centers, revealing what he said was an emerging political movement.


April 14, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Local Enforcement of the Immigration Laws

The New York Times has an article on local enforcement of the immigration laws. Here is an excerpt:

While lawmakers in Washington debate whether to forgive illegal immigrants their trespasses, a small but increasing number of local and state law enforcement officials are taking it upon themselves to pursue deportation cases against people who are here illegally. In more than a dozen jurisdictions, officials have invoked a little-used 1996 federal law to seek special federal training in immigration enforcement for their officers.

To see the entire article, click here.

Kris Kobach (Missouri-KC) has a recent article in the Albany Law Review (vol. 69, at 179) arguing in favor of the inherent authority of local police to make immigration arrests. Among others, Huyen Pham (Missouri-Columbia) and Mike Wishnie (NYU) have written to the contrary.


April 14, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Column of the Americas

The COLUMN OF THE AMERICAS by By Roberto Rodriguez and Patricia Gonzales often covers immigration issues. Here is a sample from the latest column:

Look up the word Mexican or Central American in any U.S. political dictionary and you will find these definitions: 1) people who are illegal, or are treated as such, no matter how long they've been living in this country; 2) the nation's number one threat to homeland security; 3) people who do the jobs no Americans want and who threaten the American Way of Life; 4) as a result of extremist politicians, the nation's favorite scapegoats; and 5) people, who due to vicious anti-immigrant hysteria, are prone to become Democrats.

To subscribe, send an e-mail to


April 14, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)