Saturday, May 27, 2006

Vote Tally on S. 2611

As we have reported, the S. 2611 (Hagel-Martinez) passed the Senate last Thursday on a vote of 62-36. Of the 36 "nay" votes, only four were Democrats. Most of the "yea" votes were Democrats along with moderate Republicans. For a complete tally of the votes by each senator, click here.

bh

May 27, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

More on the Impact of Immigration on Republican Politics

Is support for comprehensive immigration reform, as proposed by President Bush, better for the Republican Party in the long run? In the Republican primary for governor in Nebraska, Rep. Tom Osborne criticized incumbent Governor Dave Heineman for vetoing legislation that would provide in-state tuition benefits for undocumented college-age students. Osborne lost. Within the Republican Party, the calculus is up for debate. Click here.

bh

May 27, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Private Prison Officials Looking Forward to "Reform"

For the savvy investor looking for a growth industry, South Texas offers a sure thing. The business calculus is simple: More immigrants than ever are being apprehended. That means the federal government needs more detention centers and more people to run them. No matter how the national debate on immigration plays out in Congress, the corporations that have moved into the business of building and operating detention centers are likely to see a steady stream of revenue for years to come.

Click  here.

bh

May 27, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

How Do Undocumented Arrive?

About 45% entered with visas that allowed them to visit or reside for a limited amount of time, then overstayed.The Pew Hispanic Center has published a fact sheet on modes by which the unauthorized migrant population enters. New estimates show that nearly half  entered through a port of entry such as an airport or border crossing point where they were subject to inspection by immigration officials. A small share entered legally from Mexico using a border crossing card allowing short visits limited to the border region, then overstayed. Click here for the fact sheet.

bh

May 27, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Forced Labor in the Heartland

A federal jury found a wealthy suburban couple guilty Friday of harboring an illegal immigrant and forcing her to work as their maid for 19 years. The Filipino national testified during the eight-day trial that she felt like a prisoner in Jefferson and Elnora Calimlim's home. The couple was found guilty of harboring an illegal immigrant for financial gain, conspiracy to harbor an illegal immigrant for financial gain, forced labor and attempted forced labor. Elnora Calimlim testified Martinez earned $150 a month for the first 10 years and $400 a month thereafter. Most of the money went to Martinez's parents, who French said received about $18,000 over the 19 years. Martinez would have earned about $480,000 over that period had the Calimlims paid her a U.S. minimum wage for her 16-hour days, a U.S. Department of Labor witness testified.

For the full story, click here.

Unfortunately, stories of forced labor are on the rise.  And, despite what the media suggests, the instances are not limited to the sex industry.  Rather, forced labor has arisen in homes, the garment industry, agriculture, and many other industries.  For a full analysis of the human trafficking industry, make sure to check out Jennifer Chacón's article on "Human Trafficking" that will be published any day by the Fordham Law Review.

KJ

May 27, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, May 26, 2006

Hi-Tech Visas in the Senate Bill

Our earlier report today on David Bacon's views focused on corporations and low wage guestworkers. Amid the heated debate in Washington over border enforcement and citizenship for undocumented immigrants lies a Senate bill provision that may make Bill Gates happy as well. Click here.

bh

May 26, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

A Non-Immigration Diversion -- Cal/Stanford The Play 1982

For you Cal fams, here a video clip that will bring back fond memories.  Click here to see THE PLAY.  GO BEARS!!!!!!!!!!!!

KJ

May 26, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Big Human Trafficking/"Virtual Slavery" Judgment

Congrats to Professor Johnny Parker for a great win in a case concerning human trafficking to the US! A federal judge found the John Pickle Co. guilty Wednesday of fraud, false imprisonment and civil rights violations and awarded more than $1.2 million to the foreign workers who accused the Tulsa business of holding them in 'virtual slavery.'  Click here for more of the story.  Professor Michael Scaperlanda served as an expert witness in an earlier phase of this case (344 F. Supp.2d 1278 (N.D. Olka. 2004) and has published an excellent article about it (2 Loyola International Law Review 219 (2005)).  As many of you are aware, human trafficking has increased dramatically over the last 12 or so years.  Not coincidentally, slavery and indentured servitude are on the rise.  Increased border enforcement likely will increase smuggling fees and make the business even more lucrative.

KJ

May 26, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

PBS Program on Guest Workers

On Friday 5/26/06 the PBS program "Now" will air a segment on abuse of migrant workers under our nation's existing guestworker programs. The program airs at 7:30pm on Austin station KLRU - but check your local listings for air time on other stations. This may be a very timely report, since the Congress is now considering - as part of the immigration reform legislation - a new guestworker program.

THANKS to Cappy White for locating this information.

KJ

May 26, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Responding to the Fear of a "Flood" of Immigration under the New Immigration Bill

Doom and gloom predictions that immigration will bring about the demise of U.S. culture and society are as old as the United States itself. For instance, Benjamin Franklin famously warned that German immigrants to the United States "are usually the most stupid of their nation" and that, unless they were turned away, "they will soon outnumber us so that we will not be able to save our language or our government." Although these sorts of predictions invariably have proven to be unfounded, opponents of immigration still find it politically expedient to advance their cause by suggesting that native-born Americans soon will become strangers in their own land in the face of mass immigration. This sort of fear mongering was on prominent display over the past two weeks as the Senate debated the fate of S. 2611, the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act. With passage of the bill by the Senate and the contentious conference with the House of Representatives that is sure to follow, political scare tactics likely will continue to cloud the debate.   For the American Immigration Law Foundation's response, click here.

KJ

May 26, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

One Reaction to the Senate Immigration Reform Bill

The following is a statement by Frank Sharry, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum, a pro-immigrant advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C.:

Today, the U.S. Senate achieved a historic bipartisan breakthrough in the Senate in favor of comprehensive immigration reform. In stark contrast to the unworkable and punitive House bill enacted last December, the Senate bill has the right architecture and the right elements for comprehensive immigration reform. The bill would legalize an estimated 8 to 8.5 million undocumented immigrants and their families over the next 6 to 8 years; reunite close relatives separated by our out-of-date family immigration system within the next 6 years; create legal channels for future flow immigration so that those coming to fill available jobs do so with vetting and visas instead of smugglers and fake documents; put undocumented farm workers on a path to earned legal status; and allow undocumented students the same chance at a college education as their peers. It also includes robust enforcement measures, including a smarter employer verification system than what we have today. During the course of the floor debate, most of the multiple amendments to gut the legalization programs and limit participation were defeated. A strong bipartisan coalition of senators, including leadership from both sides of the aisle, stood together to block significant erosions to the bill’s core provisions. We salute their demonstrated commitment to bipartisan problem-solving on a difficult issue in an election year. This important bill is also imperfect. We remain concerned that some of the enforcement provisions go beyond their stated purpose. For example, a range of Title II enforcement provisions will harm legal immigrants, asylum-seekers, and others we should be seeking to protect. The bill’s earned legalization program was drafted to be less generous than the bill that passed the Senate Judiciary Committee in March. And the bill suffered hits on the floor as well, including a dramatic reduction of new worker visas needed to replace the unauthorized flow with a legal flow. We will fight to improve the bill when it is conferenced with the House so that if a final bill is enacted it will work on the ground. We know that the road ahead is an uncertain one. We do not and will not accept that a conference process between House and Senate needs to “split the difference” or accommodate the hardliners who crafted the Sensenbrenner bill (H.R. 4437) with its criminalization of undocumented immigrants and those that assist them. And if the bill does not fulfill the promise of comprehensive reform by meeting a basic standard of workability, then it would be better for Congress to pass no bill rather than a bad bill. Enforcement-only measures or half-baked reforms have been tried in the past and failed. But with all the doubts surrounding what’s next, our commitment is clear: we want a good bill and we want it enacted in this Congress. The American people are demanding a solution that brings immigration out of the black market and under the rule of law and immigrant workers and families are asking for a path to citizenship and the American Dream. Thanks to the leadership of the Senate, victory is at least and at last imaginable. May the Senators’ demonstration of political courage and bipartisan cooperation inform and inspire all of the key actors in the next act of this drama.

***

For a thumbnail sketch of the highlights/lowlights contained in the bill that passed the Senate, click here.

KJ

May 26, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

More Evidence of the Restrictionist Bent of the Center for Immigration Studies

The Center for Immigration Studies is a well-funded organization that, behind a veneer of impartiality, consistently advocates restrictionist positions.  In a year in which the immigration news coverage has been amazingly insightful and gripping, look at who the CIS gave its annual journalism award to.  Here's an excerpt from the CIS press release:

Californian Wins Immigration Journalism Award Coverage of Southern Border Highlights Serious Problems

Sara Carter of the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin in Ontario, Calif., has been named the recipient of the 2006 Eugene Katz Award for Excellence in the Coverage of Immigration. This award, presented since 1997 by the Center for Immigration Studies, is intended to promote informed and fair reporting on this most contentious and complicated issue. Traveling frequently from California to Arizona and Texas and Mexico, Ms. Carter broke story after story related to the dangerous conditions all along America’s southern border. Rare has been the week in the past six months that Ms. Carter hasn’t appeared on a cable news program discussing her latest scoop. It was Ms. Carter who broke the story that our government was alerting Mexico City to the locations and membership and other details of the Minuteman Project civilian border-watch group. She also first brought word of bounties being placed on the heads of sheriffs’ deputies along the Texas border by Mexican cartels. The body of her reporting over the past year is an important example of how the public interest can be served when even a relatively small media outlet devotes appropriate resources to coverage of our nation’s immigration crisis. More information on the Katz Award, including i

Information on the previous years’ winners, which include CNN's Lou Dobbs, can be seen by clicking here.

KJ

May 26, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Congressional Research Service FAQ on State Criminal Alien Assistance Program

For a CRS FAQ on the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program, click at  Download crs_faq_scaap_rl33431_may_2006.pdf

KJ

May 26, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Bacon on Immigration Reform: How US Corporations Won The Debate Over Immigration

David Bacon writes "Today, the word illegal is used to mean a person without immigration papers. But Guthrie uses it in the sense of an earlier era - of being excluded."  Read on by clicking here.

KJ

May 26, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Detention Facilities: Big Business on the Border

It's been said before, but it's worth remembering that there is big money involved for some companies (and big payments required of taxpayers) in connection with the "enforcement" strategies of the immigration bills that are currently wending their way through Congress --particularly with regard to the building of detention facilities.  As Forrest Wilder writes for the Texas Observer:

For the savvy investor looking for a growth industry, South Texas offers a sure thing. The business calculus is simple: More immigrants than ever are being apprehended. That means the federal government needs more detention centers and more people to run them. No matter how the national debate on immigration plays out in Congress, the corporations that have moved into the business of building and operating detention centers are likely to see a steady stream of revenue for years to come.

The full article is here.

-jmc

(Thanks to Cappy White for the tip.)

May 26, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Senate Immigration Bill S. 2611 Passes 62-36

The Senate has just passed the Hagel-Martinez immigration bill. The question is whether the Senate and the House can now reach a compromise before the November elections. Click here.

bh

May 25, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Mixed feelings in Mexico on the Border Wall?

Ginger Thompson's article in today's NYTimes is titled "Some in Mexico See Border Wall as an Opportunity."  The title of the article, attached here, seems a bit of a stretch -- no one quoted in the article seems to support a wall, per se, except insofar as it keeps people from dying in the desert and works to mitigate US opposition to legalization programs.

But the article discusses another important issue in the immigration reform discussion -- namely, what steps the Mexican governing elite can and should start taking to deal with the issue of Mexican migration to the US.

"For too long, Mexico has boasted about immigrants leaving, calling them national heroes, instead of describing them as actors in a national tragedy," said Jorge Santibáñez, president of the College of the Northern Border. "And it has boasted about the growth in remittances" — the money immigrants send home — "as an indicator of success, when it is really an indicator of failure."

The role that Mexico can play in addressing issues of cross-border migration is not at the center of the domestic immigration discussion, but it is an important part of that discussion.  And it is clear that some people are thinking about that issue, even if it's not a hot topic in the halls of congress or on the 24 hour television news cycle.  One example:

In a column in the Mexican newspaper Reforma, Jorge G. Castañeda, a former foreign minister, suggested a "series of incentives," rather than law enforcement strategies to keep Mexicans from migrating. They included welfare benefits to mothers whose husbands remained in Mexico, scholarships for high school students with both parents at home, and the loss of land rights for people who were absent from their property for extended periods of time."

Clearly, US law alone is not going to solve the problem of unauthorized migration into the US.   Mexican governing elite needs to think creatively about how to create opportunities for their citizens at home.  Equally importantly, the US government needs to think more proactively about trade policies that create, rather than undermine, economic opportunities in Mexico.

-jmc

May 25, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Amendments to Hagel-Martinez

Here's a handy link to the votes on the various amendments that were offered on the Hagel-Martinez Sentate Billl (S. 2611):
http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/vote_menu_109_2.htm

bh

May 25, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Immigration and Assimilation in America, Talk of the Nation, May 24, 2006

For some, the immigration debate is framed by economics, for others, it's about fitting in. But what does "fitting in" really mean? Guests: Linda Chavez, chairman of the Center for Equal Opportunity; director of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights in the Reagan administration Bill Hing, professor of law and Asian-American Studies, University of California-Davis; Author of To Be an American: Cultural Pluralism and the Rhetoric of Assimilation   Click here to listen. 

Interestingly, Hing and Chavez agree on a lot.

KJ

May 24, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Steal -- I Mean Buy -- This Book!!!!!!!!!!

New immigration Book: 

Deporting Our Souls Values, Morality, and Immigration Policy Bill Ong Hing ISBN-13: 9780521864923 | ISBN-10: 0521864925

Book Description: In the past three decades, images of undocumented immigrants pouring across the southern border have driven the immigration debate and policies have been implemented in response to those images. The Oklahoma City bombings and the tragic events of September 11, both of questionable relevance to immigration policy have provided further impetus to implement strategies that are anti-immigration in design and effect. This book discusses the major immigration policy areas - undocumented workers, the immigration selection system, deportation of aggravated felons, national security and immigration policy, and the integration of new Americans - and the author suggests his own proposals on how to address the policy challenges from a perspective that encourages us to consider the moral consequences of our decisions. The author also reviews some of the policies that have been put forth and ignored and suggests new policies that would be good for the country economically and socially. About the Author: Bill Ong Hing is Professor of Law and Asian American Studies and the director of law clinical programs at University of California, Davis. He has litigated before the United States

Order a copy by clicking here.

KJ

May 24, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)