Saturday, May 20, 2006

DHS-OIG Report: Detention & Removal of Illegal Aliens

Here's a link to a recent report of the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security pertaining to detention and removal. A number of recommendations are made with respect to providing more resources to ICE so that removal is more efficient and bed space is cleared. The report is in pdf format:

http://www.dhs.gov/dhspublic/interweb/assetlibrary/OIG_06-33_Apr06.pdf

bh

May 20, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Penn State Asylum Clinic wins first case

During the Penn State Dickinson School of Law Asylum Clinic's first semester of operation, second-year law students Alison Babich and Ryan Navarra worked closely with Won Kidane, professor of law and supervisor of the clinic's operations, on a case for a client seeking asylum after being detained by an immigration officer in December 2005 when he tried to enter the country without proper documentation. Their client is from the highly unstable Democratic Republic of the Congo, where human rights violations occur regularly and often go unpunished. Prior to his arrival in the United States, the client was a socially active, hardworking man who opposed the arbitrary rule of the DRC government. Because of his political beliefs, he suffered severe torture at the hands of the government and became so fearful for his life that he left the Congo to avoid further persecution. On April 14, Babich and Navarra, supervised by Kidane, presented their client's case, and after nearly five hours in court, the immigration judge granted the plea for asylum. Detainees with limited education and English skills frequently are pitted against accomplished government attorneys, and, because they are not entitled to government-appointed counsel most detainees go unrepresented. While thousands of refugees who come to America looking for safety only to face deportation, this particular refugee's fate turned out differently, no doubt in part because he had legal representation by the Asylum Clinic. According to immigration law expert Professor Victor Romero, "The current law and practice in immigration/asylum proceedings gives little protection to the non-citizen and much advantage to the government. It is not uncommon for Immigration and Customs Enforcement attorneys to act quite brazenly, taking full advantage of the informality of the administrative proceedings to get the immigration judges to consider evidence that would likely not be admissible in federal courts. "Sadly, much of immigration law is more like contract law than it is human rights law: the U.S. government gets to decide whether a non-citizen is permitted to enter, and under what conditions she is allowed to stay; should the non-citizen appear unconvincing, she has failed to meet the terms of the contract and is not allowed the privilege of being in the U.S.," Romero explained. Romero added that Kidane, Babich and Navarra prevailed in "that very difficult context" and should be congratulated for their efforts and success. When asked about the atmosphere in the courtroom, Navarra replied, "It was cordial at first, but it quickly became adversarial in nature because it was clear that the only way the government could win their case was to impeach our client." Navarra described his overall experience in the clinic as "one of my most enlightening experiences in law school." Comparing his classroom reading assignments to the case at hand, he said, "Our client's situation is very much like the cases I've read in the Refugee Law Seminar that I've been taking with Professor Maluwa this semester, so it's interesting learning the law and practicing it concurrently. Not only have I put the skills I've learned in the classroom to practical use, but I've seen the end result of one human being helping another at his or her most vulnerable time." KJ

May 20, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, May 19, 2006

Fear on the Border

President Bush's plans to send the National Guard to the border where intended to calm the fears of those who are concerned that the border is "out of control."  But efforts to quell the fears of some people have sparked the fear of others.  Daniel Borunda reports in today's El Paso Times that in the wake of Bush's speech, many undocumented immigrants in the El Paso area are concluding that there is collusion between law enforcement officers and those implementing border control efforts.

Whether these conclusions are right or wrong, the resulting fear is likely to generate unintended negative consequences for relations between undocumented populations and government officials such as law enforcement personnel and school officials.  Such fears seem inevitable given the increasingly blurry line between crime control and border control.

The full text of the El Paso Times article is here.

-jmc

May 19, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

News: Another Migrant Killed, Another Migrant Killed, and the Death Beat Goes On

Migrant Killed

The nation's busiest border crossing reopened early Friday after being shut down for nine hours when federal authorities shot and killed the driver of a vehicle headed for Mexico, officials said. One passenger in the vehicle was arrested on smuggling charges after the shooting. Four others were illegal immigrants who told investigators they had paid someone to pick them up, San Diego police said in a statement. The four were being processed Friday for deportation, Lt. Jeff Sferra said.   Click here for the story.

Another Migrant Killed

The Jim Hogg County Sheriff's Office in South Texas is investigating the death of an undocumented immigrant who was run over by a border patrol agent during a chase on a ranch here early Wednesday, authorities said. Border Patrol agents were giving chase to a group of border crossers when one of the immigrants apparently hid by lying down in high grass, Jim Hogg County Sheriff Erasmo Alarcon said. Click http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/metro/stories/MYSA051906.1B.migrantdeath.21d53321.html KJ <

May 19, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Naturalization Meaningful for Liberian Refugee

Here's a  nice op-ed piece on a recent naturalization ceremony that included the elderly, disabled mother of the writer.

bh

May 19, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Washington Post Editorial Critical of Poison Immigration Amendments

As the immigration bill steams through the Senate with surprising speed, it is acquiring a number of new and unpleasant amendments, mostly designed to placate people who don't really want an immigration bill at all. Some of the worst -- those that would have eviscerated the bill entirely or prevented immigrants from collecting Social Security owed to them -- have been voted down. Other noxious amendments, such as yesterday's proposal to make English the "national language," have been approved. None that has been accepted so far is a deal-breaker. But some changes would make the bill untenable. In particular, any amendment that would prevent illegal immigrants who live here now from coming out of the shadows is unacceptable -- as is any measure that creates a class of "lesser" Americans who live here but can never become citizens.

Click:  Post Editorial

bh

May 19, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

U.N.: U.S. should close Guantanamo prison

The United States should close its prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and avoid using secret detention facilities in its war on terror, a U.N. panel report released Friday said.  Click here for the story and here for the report.

Haitians, Cubans, and now Muslims are being detained in Gitmo.  Who is next?  By the way, I found Brant Goldtein's book Storming the Court (despite its Yale rah-rah drumbeat in the background :) ) and its discussion of the Haitian litigation headed by Michael Ratner and Harold Koh quite interesting in the lucid discussion of conditions there.  And revealing that there is a McDonald's for the military personnel!  It made be wonder whether there might be a taqueria there.

KJ

May 19, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Immigration Tests Dutch Values

Immigration is a political mess in America, but it is reasonably tractable compared with the problem in the Netherlands, which has seen its liberal values turned inside out by tensions between Muslim immigrants and the Dutch.

The question is whether multiculturalism is possible in such a small, ethnically homogeneous nation, or whether the Government will keep insisting on assimilation. There have been flash-points along the way, chief among them the 2004 murder of the filmmaker Theo van Gogh by a Muslim extremist. Now there's a new one: the resignation of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who was born in Somalia, from Parliament.

Click:  here

bh

May 19, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

(Illegal) Irish Go Home!

The Buffalo News is reporting arrests in a Irish smuggling "ring."    They weren't terrorists from the Irish Republican Army. They had no apparent plans to cause havoc in the United States or anywhere else.  They were Irish men and women who sneaked illegally into the United States to work - usually as bartenders or waitresses in Irish pubs.   Three of them were arraigned in Buffalo's federal court on Thursday, in connection with an investigation into the smuggling of Irish illegal aliens through Western New York. Two American citizens were arraigned on charges that they arranged the smuggling. "From everything we can determine, they're just people who like living and working in America," said Peter J. Smith, a supervising agent with U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement. "These people had been in America before, overstayed their visas and had been deported. Then, they came back illegally." Click here for the full story.

KJ

May 19, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

More English Only -- A Win for Samuel Huntington Et Al.

In the wee hours, the Senate, as part of the "immigration" debate, voted for English as the "National Language". Here is a link to the c-span page on how senators voted. In my home state (Florida), Republican Martinez did not vote, and Democrat Nelson voted Yea! Landrieu of Louisiana vote Yea as well (11 Democrats voted yea, and Pete Domenici of New Mexico was the sole Republican Nay).

Pedro

May 19, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

English Only Part of Immigration Reform

As if we needed more evidence of the anti-Latina/o hysteria, the Senate passes an official English amendment.

Pedro

Senate Votes English as 'National Language' By Jonathan Weisman and Jim VandeHei After an emotional debate fraught with symbolism, the Senate yesterday voted to make English the "national language" of the United States, declaring that no one has a right to federal communications or services in a language other than English except for those already guaranteed by law. To view the entire article, click here.

KJ

May 19, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Open Letter to President From Economists

For an "open letter" to the President from economists in favor generally of immigration and immigrants, click here.

KJ

May 19, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Commentary on LA Marches

For an interesting commentary on the recent immigrant marches, see "LA’s New Immigrant Movement: Observations and Questions" by Sonali Kolhatkar.  It starts lock this:

Los Angeles is being seen as the epicenter of the new immigrant movement, mobilizing the largest numbers of people nationally at the recent protests. On May Day, there were two separate marches and I was fortunate enough to be at both, reporting for KPFK, Pacifica radio. While the mass-movement for immigrant rights is still relatively new, it’s time for some observations and questions

For the full story, click here.

KJ

May 19, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Cinco de Mayo Asylum Decision

From Charles Kuck, immigration attorney in Atlanta:

For all of you who do asylum work in the Immigration Courts in the 11th Circuit, it is ESSENTIAL, that you read this case, particularly Judge Carnes Dissent.  (Click here).  Basically, this case says it is impossible to get asylum if you are from Colombia. The 11th Circuit wrote this decision on a case in which the applicant was NOT represented at her immigration Court hearing (pro se), adopting a favorite practice of the BIA. While I have not thought through what can be done to fight this case (distinguishing it in [Atlanta] will be just a might bit difficult), it is clear we all must be aware of this decision and structure our asylum applications and client's testimonies around the grounds for denial.

***

The case is an asylum case involving a Colmbian applicant.

KJ

May 19, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 18, 2006

The Border Fence and Defense Contractors

The defense industry has seen good times in this country in recent years.  And it looks like they will also milk profits out of the current efforts to create fences -- physical and virtual -- along the border.  Eric Lipton reports in today's NYTimes that the administration has already turned to the defense industry for help in this area.  He writes:

Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman, three of the largest, are among the companies that said they would submit bids within two weeks for a multibillion-dollar federal contract to build what the administration calls a "virtual fence" along the nation's land borders.

Using some of the same high-priced, high-tech tools these companies have already put to work in Iraq and Afghanistan — like unmanned aerial vehicles, ground surveillance satellites and motion-detection video equipment — the military contractors are zeroing in on the rivers, deserts, mountains and settled areas that separate Mexico and Canada from the United States.

It's worth thinking about the ways in which broad concepts like "securing the borders" and "ending catch and release" are implemented through policies that have the primary effect of shifting resources from public coffers (where they might be used to improve health care and education for all) to highly profitable private companies.

-jmc

May 18, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The Central American Foreign Born In The US

Megan Davy writes "In the US, more attention is paid to migration from Mexico than from the Central American countries south of Mexico." Click here for thr story.

KJ

May 18, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

1.5 Million Undocumented Asians in U.S.

Though Asians are the second largest subgroup (mostly Chinese and Filipino) of undocumented immigrants, they have been largely invisible in the nation's massive protests this spring against proposals to crack down on undocumented immigration. Undocumented immigrants from Asia mirror a cross-section of the San Francisco Bay Area; in addition to house cleaners and restaurant workers, they are small-business owners and even highly trainged professionals. Click here.

bh

May 18, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Voting Rights Act and Naturalized Citizens

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) is holding up extension of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, insisting that the House strip away the provision requiring bilingual assistance at certain polling places. People who need the assistance "either they are naturalized citizens who did not meet the required language proficiency or they grew up in an ethnic enclave without benefit of learning English. If that's the case, it's high time they learned it," said King in April.

bh

May 18, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

More Responses to Bush Speech

For a variety of responses to Bush's immigration speech, click here and hereFor Jon Stewart's insightful "analysis," click on "Mexican standoff after clicking here.

The immigration debate apparently has caused a spike in naturalization petitions.  Ffor a Newsweek story titled "see The Next Step in a Very Long March: The immigration debate spurs bids for citizenship," click here.

KJ

May 18, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Today's Senate Actions: More Fencing, Restrictions on Guestworkers

In today's Senate amendment votes, amendments to  add more fencing along the southern border, preclusion of felons and those convicted of 3 misdemeanors from legalization, and a narrow vote to allow only those temporary workers whose employers petition for them to be eligible for permanent status were part of the activity.

Click on: http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/politics/14604271.htm

bh

May 17, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)