April 29, 2006
Readings on African Americans and Immigration
Law professor Vernelia Randall has collected some readings on African Americans and immigration. Check the collection out by clicking here.
The Beat Goes On: The Courts Criticize IJs Treatment of Noncitizens
The courts have chastised the Board of Immigration Appeals and immigration judges for years. In January, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales instructed them to clean up their act. Still, reviewing courts criticize the IJ's treatment of noncitizens and their claims. For two recent cases, see
Given what we know what is going on in our immigration courts combined with limited scrutiny of IJ rulings by the BIA, one wonders what justification there can be for no judicial review or deferential judicial review of BIA decisions.
It's especially striking that the Third Circuit criticized by name Judge Ferlise in Pennsylvania and asked the government attorney during oral argument what the AG would do with an IJ that repeatedly acts inappropriately.
Also that the Third Circuit remands for a new hearing without requiring proof that the respondent otherwise would have prevailed.
Sensenbrenner Proposals Stir Little Debate in Wisconsin
U.S. Rep. James Sensenbrenner's immigration-control proposals have helped ignite protests across the nation but created little controversy in his solidly Republican Wisconsin district.
One newspaper in his district says it has yet to receive a single piece of reader mail concerning the 14-term Republican U.S. House of Representatives member's proposals to make undocumented immigration status a felony and build an additional 700-mile fence along the U.S.-Mexico border.
"All I hear from my constituents is to keep at it," Sensenbrenner told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel recently.
Religious Views on Immigration Debate
The Seattle Times has an interesting story today on how religious leaders of different faiths view the current debate over immigration. The paper's Faith & Values columnists were asked to weigh in on the issues.
Grits for Breakfast (click here) posted an interesting story this morning on the increasing use of immiogrant detention. here's an excerpt:
If the war on illegal immigration hasn't already become a more expensive government boondoggle than the war on drugs, I bet it soon will. Projecting into the future, the incarceration needs for potential immigration violations, given current and proposed policies, could be limitless. Already, one third of federal prosecutions in the United States are for immigration violations - more, even, than drug crimes. "The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recommended the prosecution of 65% more immigration cases in FY 2004 than it did in the previous year," according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, and that number's only increasing. According to TRAC's data, even before the recent raids immigration agents were taking more cases to court than the the FBI, the DEA and the IRS combined. A huge and growing number of these derive from Texas' Southern District (Houston). Now Johnny Sutton in Texas' Western District (San Antonio) appears to have climbed on the bandwagon - his office has "filed criminal charges against dozens of undocumented immigrants for crimes that have long been handled with simple deportation," according to the Austin American Statesman ("Austin seeing change in immigration prosecutions," April 28). "For undocumented immigrants in the Austin area, the chance of being prosecuted remains small, but the shift means they are more likely to face federal prison time or leave the country with a criminal record if they are caught," reported Steven Kreytak.
And if immigration "reform" passes, we can expect more and more detention. the beat goes on!
Vigilantes Posing As ICE Agents in Texas? Feds Won't Comment
From the Austin Statesman: With widespread reports of immigration raids in Austin multiplying and federal officials refusing to say whether the rumors are true, city and immigrant rights leaders Friday raised the possibility that vigilantes might be impersonating law enforcement officers and terrorizing immigrants and citizens. At a City Hall news conference, they called on government officials to be open about information that might help explain the numerous raid reports sweeping Austin and the region. "I think everyone just wants answers," Council Member Raul Alvarez said. "If it isn't the government doing it, who's to say it's not some other group that's doing this and is potentially violating the rights of our citizens?" But a spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Friday that the agency remained steadfast in its position of never commenting on its operations as a consideration of officer and public safety. "That's just policy," Nina Pruneda said.
Click here for the story.
Listen to the Translation that is Causing a Stir -- The U.S. National Anthem in Spanish
Listen to the Star-Spangled Banner in Spanish by clicking here. Is President Bush right to b eput off by this new version of our national anthem?
Radio Bilingüe Airs a Full Day Broadcast on May 1 Boycott
On May 1st, Radio Bilingüe, the national Latino public radio network, will open its airwaves for a full day of breaking news reports, public service announcements, and listener call-ins about the National Boycott Day or Day Without Immigrants, a day slated to rally and skip school, work and shopping to protest criminalization of immigrants and urge immigration reform. Línea Abierta, Radio Bilingüe’s national Spanish-language call-in talk show, will run an extended, four-hour edition to provide a special coverage of the news developments around the nation. Beginning at 11 AM PDT, Línea Abierta will gather reports from correspondents and affiliate stations to bring up-to-the-minute news on the national boycott and analysis on the historic mass demonstrations. In addition, guests including civil rights leader Dolores Huerta, Congressman Luis Gutiérrez from Chicago, and others are invited to comment on pending immigration bills. In addition to Radio Bilingüe’s six-station network, a partial list of stations joining this four-hour special segment of news and analysis include: KBBF, Santa Rosa, CA, KERU, Blythe, CA , WCIW, Immokalee, FL, WCOM, Grassboro, NC, KBOO, Portland, OR, WOMA, Lebanon, PA, KRUC, Pharr, TX, KDNA, Granger, WA, KSVR, Mt. Vernon, WA. In Mexico, the following stations will interconnect live to the special mid-day service: Radio Michoacán in Morelia (twelve stations), Radio Universidad de Guadalajara (seven stations), XERF-AM, Ciudad Acuña, Coahuila During the rest of the day, Radio Bilingüe will move to a full-time call-in format to allow immigrant listeners to share their stories on the air. In addition, listeners will become Radio Bilingüe’s eyes and ears in the community and will be encouraged to report any civic activity or news event they witness on May 1. Through Satélite Radio Bilingüe, the non-profit organization distributes news, information and musical programming to affiliates throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and Mexico.
Radio Bilingüe also has a live audio service online at www.radiobilingue.org.
April 28, 2006
Highest Ranking Officer at Abu Ghraib Charged
CNN reports that the former head of the interrogation center at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq was charged Friday with cruelty, maltreatment and other criminal offenses for his alleged involvement in the abuse of detainees in 2003. Lt. Col. Steven L. Jordan is the highest-ranking officer at Abu Ghraib to face criminal charges, although higher-ranking officers have been reprimanded and relieved of command. Click here for the story.
P.S. It is not immigration related but CNN's breaking news on Friday afternoon is that Rush Limbaugh was arrested on prescription drug charges and released on bail, law enforcement officials in Florida, tell AP.
As Sign of Progress? The Salazar Brothers in Congress Disagree on Immigration Reform
According to an AP news report, "Rep. John Salazar was one of just 36 Democrats who voted late last year for a tough Republican-backed House bill that would make being in the country illegally a felony and proposed construction of the fence. His younger brother, Sen. Ken Salazar backs a Senate plan that would give law-abiding illegal immigrants a chance to earn U.S. citizenship." For the full story, see here.
It is amazing that there are two Salazars in Congress. My wife, Virginia Salazar, who never recalls hearing of a Salazar in public life pre-Alberto Salazar became a track and field legend in the 1980s, is shocked! But now the Salazar bros disagree?
LA Police Bracing for (Peaceful) Immigration Demonstrations
The LA Times is reporting that two immigrant rights demonstrations Monday in Los Angeles could each draw a half-million marchers or more, police said Thursday, as officials expressed concern about a major disruption of traffic, commerce and school. LAPD Assistant Chief George Gascon said the estimates are based on street intelligence and what he described as a well-organized campaign involving radio stations, churches and community groups. Police do not expect trouble, he added. Click here to see the story.
Emerging Circuit Split on Adjustment of Status Reg?
From the ABA Journal E-Report (Geri Dreiling): Two more federal appellate courts have weighed in on the validity of a federal regulation that blocks an alien in removal proceedings from applying for an adjustment of status—even if he or she marries a U.S. citizen. With the latest rulings, the battle over the regulation in the federal appellate courts appears to be turning into a circuit-by-circuit campaign with no clear resolution in sight. For the full article, click here.
From the Mailroom -- Report to the Immigration Authorities or Go Directly to Jail!
In Smith County, Texas (one of the most conservative counties in Texas), the judges are make the following [see below] as conditions of probation when people plea guilty or are found guilty. I have two undocumented clients who were given as part of their probation the following conditions. They do not qualify for any petitions. The probation officer told them that if they do not comply, their probation will be revoked and they will go to jail and then deported. I am not sure if they give this to all the Defendants or just the ones that look like they are not citizens. I am wanting to investigate as to whether what they are doing is constitutional? If the state judge has the right to impose these restrictions? Also, if not, then under what basis can I sue to get a permanent injunction to get them to stop doing it.
[CONDITIONS OF PROBATION]
(a) Within ten (10) days you must make contact with an agency or agent to start the proceedings for legalization of immigration status and provide proof to your supervision officer if such contact and initiation.
(b) Within ninety (90) days, complete the filing of all paperwork need for legalization immigration status with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and provide proof of such filing to your supervision officer.
(c) At the end of twelve (12) months from the date probation begins, if you have not obtained legal status from the U.S.I.C.E, for being within Smith County, Texas, you must leave the country and reside in a location where you do have a legally authorized status. This does not change, alter or affect the requirement that you must obtain permission from the supervision officer to move and notify such officer of your new address. You must then report by mail each month and include a sworn statement substantially in the form provided, that you have continued to live that month in the location in which you are legally authorized to reside.
(b) As a condition of Community Supervision, if the defendant is not a United States Citizen, or an alien in the United States without legal status, the defendant will, as a condition of Community Supervision report to the nearest office of the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement and initiate the process of obtaining legal status in the United States or initiate the process for voluntary deportation. The defendant is ORDERED to provide proof to his/her Probation Officer of the defendant's compliance in this matter within 35 days of the date of this order.
Jose Sanchez Jose Sanchez Law Firm, P.C. Longview, TX
Tougher Criminal Enforcement of Immigration Laws
In Austin, Texas, immigration agents in recent months have filed criminal charges against dozens of undocumented immigrants for crimes that have long been handled with simple deportation, according to the agents' supervisor. Alonzo Pena, the special agent in charge of Immigration and Customs Enforcement's San Antonio division, which includes Austin, attributes the change to a recent shift in the cases that federal prosecutors are willing to take to court. Click here for the story.
Call this blogger paranoid but is this part of an increased immigration enforcement campaign -- recall the workplace raids reported last week -- perhaps designed to show that the Bush administration is willing to vigorously enforce the immigration laws and facilitate passage of "comprehensive" immigration reform?
Christian Right Split Over Immigration
Religious conservatives bared their internal struggles over immigration Thursday at an unusually frank public debate, demonstrating that the most powerful faction of the Republican Party is as divided as the party itself on the issue.
Torn between the values of Christian compassion and a disapproval of lawbreaking -- with an undercurrent of angst about cultural change -- social conservatives and their political allies squared off in the face of internal polls that show their "values voters" overwhelmingly prefer strong border security.
The Family Research Council, which sponsored Thursday's debate, surveyed its members earlier this month and found that by a ratio of 9 to 1, they believe undocumented immigrants should be "detected, arrested and returned to their country of origin."
April 27, 2006
California Students Warned to Attend Class on May 1
Silicon Valley and state education officials are urging students to wait until after school on Monday to join organized demonstrations against proposed immigration reform.
Jack O'Connell, state superintendent of public instruction, was joined by San Jose Unified Superintendent Don Iglesias, other officials and students at San Jose High Academy today to encourage students to discuss immigration issues freely in class.
But skipping school, officials warned, put students at risk of discipline such as Saturday school.
Organized Labor Announces Support for May Day Immigrant Rights March
On April 24, Chicago labor leaders and union members held a press conference to declare their wholehearted support for what is expected to be a massive rally/march on May 1 calling for immigrant workers' rights.
New Immigration Article
SSRN has posted the near final draft of an article by Virgil Weibe on "Corroboration and Authentication" issues in asylum cases that will be in this year's Immigration & NationalityHandbook. The title is "Maybe You Should, Yes You Must, No You Can't: Shifting Standards and Practices for Assuring Document Reliability in Asylum Cases." Click here to see the article.
Immigration Raid in Central Texas
For a story on an immigration raid at a construction site in Central Texas, which included questioning of U.S. citizen Latina/os, click here.
RICO Immigration Case before High Court, or Supremes Wrestle RICO
The Supreme Court recently heard argument in Mohawk v. Industries v. Williams which concerns claims' made in an immigration matter. For an account of the argument from Legal Times, click here.
EOIR Announces Planned Expansion For Legal Orientation Programs
The Executive Office for Immigration Review announced that planning is underway to double the number of locations providing legal orientation programs to individuals in immigration court proceedings. Click here for the announcement.
EOIR Legal Access Program Fact Sheet
The Executive Office for Immigration Review provides a fact sheet on the Legal Access Program which focuses principally on four areas - the Legal Orientation Program (LOP), the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) Pro Bono Project, the Unaccompanied Alien Children Initiative, and the Model Hearing Program. To see the fact sheet, click here.
DOJ Immigration Litigation Bulletin: November 2005
The Department of Justice Office of Immigration Litigation released the November issue of its publication, Immigration Litigation Bulletin. Click here to see the report.
UC Hastings Center for Gender & Refugee Studies
For a nice summary of the great work of this center, click here.
Hate Crime in Texas
CNN Is reporting that white teens accused of brutal racist attack Hispanic boy left for dead in Spring, Texas. Two white teenagers severely beat and sodomized a 16-year-old Hispanic boy who they believed had tried to kiss a 12-year-old white girl at a party, authorities said. The attackers forced the boy out of the house party, beat him and sodomized him with a metal pipe, shouting epithets "associated with being Hispanic," said Lt. John Martin with the Harris County Sheriff's Department. Click here to read the full story.
Dick Morris on Immigration
Here is what political strategist Dick Morris thinks the GOP should deal with immigration reform. The immigration bill pending in Congress poses as crucial a test for GOP efforts to reach out to Hispanic voters as the 1964 Civil Rights Act did in determining the future partisan preferences of America’s African-Americans. Click here to see what he has to say.
May 1 Boycott and Colleges
This article, "Colleges Urged to Prepare for Immigrant-Rights Boycott Planned for May 1" is available online by clicking here. For MALDEF's stand on the boycott and school dismissals, and immigration reform generally, see www.maldef.org for additional information. Thanks to Professor Michael A. Olivas at the University of Houston Law Center for this tip.