Saturday, May 20, 2006
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:
Friday, May 19, 2006
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.
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
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 <
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
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.
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.
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.
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).
As if we needed more evidence of the anti-Latina/o hysteria, the Senate passes an official English amendment.
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.
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.
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.
Thursday, May 18, 2006
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.
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.
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.
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.
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
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.