July 15, 2006
A Visit to Ellis Island Would Be Good
A Commentary from Tom Ehrich
A trip to Ellis Island requires long lines and long waits.
But it's nothing like the anxious hours, sometimes days, of scrutiny once imposed on poorer immigrants seeking entry into the United States after two weeks in steerage on an ocean liner. Our wait was more like the processing time for immigrants who could afford first- or second-class tickets; after brief inspection onboard ship, they were allowed straight into America. The theory was that anyone who could afford a decent berth wouldn't become a burden on American society. Click here for the full text.
Immigrant Rights Events Calendar
Immigrant Rights Movement Calendar of Events July-August-September 2006
Southwest Border Hearings
Border and Community Security and Comprehensive Immigration Reform
Public Hearings for Texas, Southern New Mexico and Arizona
What: Local Elected Official and Authorities (City, County, State and Federal Officials) of the Houston, West Texas - Southern New Mexico, and Southern Arizona are convening Public Hearings to listen to community concerns and testimonies as well as local ideas for solutions to for border and community security and comprehensive immigration reform.
Local community members are invited to share their experiences and proposals for improving current border enforcement policies and practices and its impacts in border communities including: border militarization, border operations and immigrant deaths, violation of civil and human rights and accountability processes, local law enforcement agencies enforcing federal immigration laws, criminalization of immigrants, community security and border walls.
Immigrant and border community members are invited to share their experiences and proposals for comprehensive immigration reform. These hearings will collect and listen to the inputs of border and interior residents in the issue areas of legalization and access to citizenship, immigration flows and regulatory programs, immigrant workers’ rights, visas, family reunification, backlogs and administrative reform.
Who: The listening panel of elected officials will be composed of local city mayors, members of the local city council, county officials (commissioners, judges and attorneys), state senators and representatives, and federal representatives (House and Senate). Members of community organizations, academics, service providers, business owners, and others will present to the panel verbal and written testimonies, proposed solutions and visions of the specified issues and concerns.
Where and When:
El Paso – New Mexico: Saturday August 5th, 10 am to 2 pm
(Tentatively at El Paso Convention Center)
Contact: Fernando Garcia at (915) 577-0724 – Border Network for Human Rights
Houston, Texas: Saturday August 5th, 2 pm to 6 pm (The Tejano Center)
Contact: Nelson Reyes at (713) 927-6451 - CARECEN
Tucson, Arizona: Saturday August 19th, 10 am to 2 pm (Location to be confirmed)
Jennifer Allen at (520) 623-4944 – Border Action Network
Why: As the U.S. House of Representatives is holding
hearings regarding border security this summer, local border communities are
stepping up to provide a genuine forum in which those that are directly
impacted by border and immigration policies have an opportunity to express
their concerns and solutions for improved policies and practices. Local
officials recognize that while immigration and border policies are a federal
issue, the tone of the debate as well as concrete recommendations for lasting,
meaningful policy reform can and must prioritize the concerns, experiences and
hopes of border and immigrant communities. As local officials convene these
hearings and listen to their constituents’ testimonies, a stronger relationship
and vision for border communities will be forged between the various sectors
and interests in our region. After the hearing, the panel of elected officials
will release a summary report of the outcomes, with special emphasis in policy
recommendations, solutions and vision.
July 14, 2006
LPRs Respond to Debate by Naturalizing
The uncertainty over the future of U.S. immigration policy is leading more legal permanent residents to apply for citizenship.
Fabiola Valencia came to the United States
from Guadalajara, Mexico, 13 years ago. She works at a casino in
Scottsdale, Arizona. She says she's been eligible to apply for U.S.
citizenship for the last eight years, but only decided to do so this
month. Valencia says after all this time, now is when she needs
citizenship the most. "To be able to vote," she says... "to help my
family, my people, and to change the laws to favor us." Click here.
Commerce Dept. Supports Guestworker Proposal
U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez said the U.S. needs immigrants to meet the employment needs of a growing economy and urged Congress to approve immigration legislation that includes a temporary-worker program.
Gutierrez said there were 4.1 million U.S. job openings in May, many in the hospitality industry, that immigrants are needed to fill because Americans can't or won't do that work. Click here.
Chicago March Next Week
Grass-roots organizers are planning another major immigration march in
Chicago next week, hoping a third massive showing in the streets of the
Loop will bring new momentum to stalled efforts to liberalize
immigration laws. At a news conference Thursday in
downtown Chicago, Illinois immigrant advocates said they want to
increase the pressure on Congress. The march's organizers include many
of the same churches, labor unions and immigrant clubs that helped plan
the previous marches. Click here.
July 13, 2006
Another Local Government Intervention in the Immigration Debate
BREAKING NEWS: Hazleton City Council passes ordinance
The Hazleton (Pennsylvania) City Council passed Mayor Lou Barletta's Illegal Immigration Relief Act.Thursday, 13 July 2006 The vote was 4-1 Thursday night. The Act imposes severe penalties on landlords who rent space to illegal immigrants, suspends the licenses of businesses that employ them, and declares English the city's official language. The LA Times report can be read by clicking here.
The ordinance can be viewed by clicking here. Mayor Louis J. Barletta, in "An Open Letter from Mayor Lou Barletta," offers his plea for the ordinance:
I believe the United States of America is the greatest nation on Earth. People who are in this country have an incredible amount of opportunities and blessings. But some people have taken advantage of America’s openness and tolerance. Some come to this country and refuse to learn English, creating a language barrier for city employees. Others enter the country illegally and use government services by not paying taxes or by committing crime on our streets, further draining resources here in Hazleton. Illegal immigration leads to higher crime rates, contributes to overcrowded classrooms and failing schools, subjects our hospitals to fiscal hardship and legal residents to substandard quality of care, and destroys our neighborhoods and diminishes our overall quality of life. The City of Hazleton is empowered and mandated by the people of Hazleton to abate the nuisance of illegal immigration by aggressively prohibiting and punishing the acts, policies, people and businesses that aid and abet illegal aliens. That is why I proposed the Illegal Immigration Relief Act. Part of this ordinance, if enacted, would punish companies that hire illegal immigrants by denying them permits, making it harder for them to renew permits and forcing their loss of city business. Another part would hold landlords accountable. Because people moving into the city naturally require a place to sleep, our landlords are our first line of defense. Landlords who rent to illegal immigrants—that is, who rent to people without checking their documentation, may be fined $1,000.00 for every illegal immigrant staying on their properties. The final part of this ordinance makes English the official language of Hazleton. All city documents will only be available in English. Those applying for a permit would have to speak English. While our emergency services will never be denied to anyone because of a language barrier, every other aspect of city business will be conducted only in English. Let me be clear, this ordinance is intended to make Hazleton one of the most difficult places in the U.S. for illegal immigrants. This measure is not racist because it does not target one particular race. The Illegal Immigration Relief Act is intended to deter and punish any illegal immigration in the City of Hazleton. Requiring the use of English does not target any other language; it merely states that no matter what language you prefer to speak at home, English will be spoken when you conduct business with Hazleton officials. Illegal Immigration is a drain on city resources. Every domestic incident, every traffic accident, every noise complaint, each time we send our police department, fire department or code enforcement officer to respond, it costs taxpayer dollars. If the City of Hazleton began publishing official documents or conducting business in a second language, how would we respond when someone asks us to use a third, or fourth language? Recent crimes – the shooting on Chestnut Street, the discharge of firearms at the Pine Street Playground, and high profile drug busts – have involved illegal immigrants. Sadly, some of those allegedly involved in those crimes were detained by other law enforcement officials over the years, but were somehow allowed to remain in this country. They eventually migrated into Hazleton, where they helped create a sense of fear in the good, hardworking residents who are here legally. This ordinance does not roll back the welcome mat to those who are legally in the United States. This country was built on the backs of legal immigrants. My own great grandparents came to this country seeking a better life. Rather, this ordinance seeks to stem the flow of illegal immigrants into Hazleton. They are not welcome here! To the residents of Hazleton, I say thank you for your continued support. Hazleton is moving forward and becoming an even better place to live. To our recently arrived legal immigrants, I say welcome. I personally wish you all the best. With hard work and determination, the United States and Hazleton can be a place where your dreams come true. And to illegal immigrants and those who would hire or abet them in any way, I say your time is up. You are no longer welcome. If you support this measure, please click this link to email us your support . You can also show your support by attending the City Council meeting on Thursday, June 15th @ 7:00 P.M. where this ordinance will be presented to Council for approval. The next council meeting where the second reading will take place is July 13th @ 7:00 P.M. Please mail your petition in before that date to show your support. You may also contact my office at 570-459-4910. Thank you and God Bless America. LOU BARLETTA Mayor, City of Hazleton http://www.hazletoncity.org/illegal_immigration_petition.htm
It surely seems that this ordinance is unconstitutional, infringing on the federal power to regulate immigration. Doesn't this misguided law suggest that the federal government's efforts to get the local police to assist in immigration enforcement, is misplaced?
Some local officials are claiming "increased border security" as a result of the deployment of various state national guard units to the US-Mexico border. The policy is affectionately labeled "Operation Jump Start" - presumably because it gets a jump on any enhanced border militarization authorized by Congress, but who knows?
A story by Louie Gilot in today's El Paso Times reports:
The support by the soldiers, who mostly do surveillance and maintenance work, freed up 167 Border Patrol agents to return to the field.
The soldiers are also credited with contributing in the apprehension of 518 undocumented immigrants and the seizure of 4,700 pounds of marijuana and 18.5 pounds of cocaine.
So in this context, "border security" refers to the apprehension of undocumented migrants and of illegal narcotics.
Earlier descriptions of "Operation Jump Start" indicated that members of the guard would not be involved in actually detaining immigrants. In a June 18, 2006 story in the NYTimes by Randall Archibald, the program was described as follows:
Most of the Guard members will be unarmed unless they are in a hazardous area. Much of their time will be spent in Border Patrol offices watching monitors and handling other equipment, while those in the field will alert Border Patrol agents if they see someone crossing the border illegally.
''The National Guard is not going to be involved in any law enforcement mission,'' Mr. Martinez [a Border Patrol spokesman] said. ''Actual arrests, seizures, custodial -- none of that stuff. The Border Patrol agents are the ones trained to determine probable cause, effect arrests, and it is impossible to bring the National Guard up to speed on that.''
I haven't been able to figure out from the reports published to date on Operation Jump Start whether or not this is how things are actually unfolding on the ground.
Phoenix Demonstration Tomorrow
More from the Supremes, Or Vienna Convention, What Vienna Convention?
SANCHEZ-LLAMAS v. OREGON Decided June 28, 2006
Article 36(1)(b) of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations provides that if a person detained by a foreign country "so requests, the competent authorities of the receiving State shall, without delay, inform the consular post of the sending State" of such detention, and "inform the [detainee] of his rights under this sub-paragraph." Article 36(2) specifies: "The rights referred to in paragraph 1 ... shall be exercised in conformity with the laws and regulations of the receiving State, subject to the proviso ... that the said laws ... must enable full effect to be given to the purposes for which the rights accorded under this Article are intended." Along with the Convention, the United States ratified the Optional Protocol Concerning the Compulsory Settlement of Disputes, which provides: "Disputes arising out of the ... Convention shall lie within the compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice [(ICJ)]." The United States withdrew from the Protocol on March 7, 2005.
Petitioner in No. 04-10566, Moises Sanchez-Llamas, is a Mexican national. When he was arrested after an exchange of gunfire with police, officers did not inform him that he could ask to have the Mexican Consulate notified of his detention. During interrogation, he made incriminating statements regarding the shootout. Before his trial for attempted murder and other offenses, Sanchez-Llamas moved to suppress those statements on the ground, inter alia, that the authorities had failed to comply with Article 36. The state court denied that motion and Sanchez-Llamas was convicted and sentenced to prison, and the Oregon Court of Appeals affirmed. The State Supreme Court also affirmed, concluding that Article 36 does not create rights to consular access or notification that a detained individual can enforce in a judicial proceeding.
Petitioner in No. 05-51, Mario Bustillo, a Honduran national, was arrested and charged with murder, but police never informed him that he could request that the Honduran Consulate be notified of his detention. He was convicted and sentenced to prison, and his conviction and sentence were affirmed on appeal. He then filed a habeas petition in state court arguing, for the first time, that authorities had violated his right to consular notification under Article 36. The court dismissed that claim as procedurally barred because he had failed to raise it at trial or on appeal. The Virginia Supreme Court found no reversible error.
Held: Even assuming without deciding that the Convention creates judicially enforceable rights, suppression is not an appropriate remedy for a violation, and a State may apply its regular procedural default rules to Convention claims. Pp. 7-25.
(a) Because petitioners are not in any event entitled to relief, the Court need not resolve whether the Convention grants individuals enforceable rights, but assumes, without deciding, that Article 36 does so. Pp. 7-8.
(b) Neither the Convention itself nor this Court's precedents applying the exclusionary rule support suppression of a defendant's statements to police as a remedy for an Article 36 violation. The Convention does not mandate suppression or any other specific remedy, but expressly leaves Article 36's implementation to domestic law: Article 36 rights must "be exercised in conformity with the laws ... of the receiving State." Art. 36(2). Sanchez-Llamas' argument that suppression is appropriate under United States law and should be required under the Court's authority to develop remedies for the enforcement of federal law in state-court criminal proceedings is rejected. "It is beyond dispute that [this Court does] not hold a supervisory power over the [state] courts." Dickerson v. United States, 530 U. S. 428, 438. The exclusionary rule cases on which Sanchez-Llamas principally relies are inapplicable because they rest on the Court's supervisory authority over federal courts. The Court's authority to create a judicial remedy applicable in state court must therefore lie, if anywhere, in the treaty itself. Where a treaty provides for a particular judicial remedy, courts must apply it as a requirement of federal law. Cf., e.g., United States v. Giordano, 416 U. S. 505, 524-525. But where a treaty does not provide a particular remedy, either expressly or implicitly, it is not for the federal courts to impose one on the States through lawmaking of their own.
Even if the "full effect" language of Article 36(2) implicitly requires a judicial remedy, as Sanchez-Llamas claims, that Article equally requires that Article 36(1) rights be exercised in conformity with domestic law. Under domestic law, the exclusionary rule is not a remedy this Court applies lightly. It has been used primarily to deter certain Fourth and Fifth Amendment violations, including, e.g., unconstitutional searches and seizures, Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U. S. 643, 655-657, and confessions exacted in violation of the right against compelled self-incrimination or due process, Dickerson, supra, at 435. In contrast, Article 36 has nothing to do with searches or interrogations and, indeed, does not guarantee defendants any assistance at all. It secures for foreign nationals only the right to have their consulate informed of their arrest or detention--not to have their consulate intervene, or to have police cease their investigation pending any such notice or intervention. Moreover, the failure to inform a defendant of his Article 36 rights is unlikely, with any frequency, to produce unreliable confessions, see Watkins v. Sowders, 449 U. S. 341, 347, or to give the police any practical advantage in obtaining incriminating evidence, see Elkins v. United States, 364 U. S. 206, 217. Suppression would also be a vastly disproportionate remedy for an Article 36 violation. The interests Sanchez-Llamas claims Article 36 advances are effectively protected by other constitutional and statutory requirements, including the right to an attorney and to protection against compelled self-incrimination.
Finally, suppression is not the only means of vindicating Article 36 rights. For example, diplomatic avenues--the primary means of enforcing the Vienna Convention--remain open. Pp. 8-15.
(c) States may subject Article 36 claims to the same procedural default rules that apply generally to other federal-law claims. This question is controlled by the Court's holding in Breard v. Greene, 523 U. S. 371, 375, that the petitioner's failure to raise an Article 36 claim in state court prevented him from having the claim heard in a subsequent federal habeas proceeding.
Bustillo's two reasons why Breard does not control are rejected. First, he argues that Breard's procedural default holding was unnecessary to the result because the petitioner there could not demonstrate prejudice from the default and because, in any event, the later enacted Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 superseded any right the petitioner had under the Vienna Convention to have his claim heard on collateral review. Resolution of the procedural default question, however, was the principal reason for denying the Breard petitioner's claim, and the discussion of the issue occupied the bulk of the Court's reasoning. See 523 U. S., at 375-377. It is no answer to argue that the procedural default holding was unnecessary simply because the petitioner had several other ways to lose.
Second, Bustillo asserts that since Breard, the ICJ's LaGrand and Avena decisions have interpreted the Convention to preclude the application of procedural default rules to Article 36 claims. Although the ICJ's interpretation deserves "respectful consideration," Breard, supra, at 375, it does not compel the Court to reconsider Breard's understanding of the Convention. "The judicial Power of the United States" is "vested in one supreme Court ... and ... inferior courts." U. S. Const., Art. III, §1. That "power ... extend[s] to ... treaties," Art. III, §2, and includes the duty "to say what the law is," Marbury v. Madison, 1 Cranch 137, 177. If treaties are to be given effect as federal law, determining their meaning as a matter of federal law "is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department," headed by the "one supreme Court." Ibid. Nothing in the ICJ's structure or purpose suggests that its interpretations were intended to be binding on U. S. courts. Even according "respectful consideration," the ICJ's interpretation cannot overcome the plain import of Article 36(2), which states that the rights it implements "shall be exercised in conformity with the laws ... of the receiving State." In the United States, this means that the rule of procedural default--which applies even to claimed violations of our own Constitution, see Engle v. Isaac, 456 U. S. 107, 129--applies also to Vienna Convention claims. Bustillo points to nothing in the drafting history of Article 36 or in the contemporary practice of other Convention signatories that undermines this conclusion. LaGrand's conclusion that applying the procedural default rule denies "full effect" to the purposes of Article 36, by preventing courts from attaching legal significance to an Article 36 violation, is inconsistent with the basic framework of an adversary system. Such a system relies chiefly on the parties to raise significant issues and present them to the courts in the appropriate manner at the appropriate time for adjudication. See Castro v. United States, 540 U. S. 375, 386. Procedural default rules generally take on greater importance in an adversary system than in the sort of magistrate-directed, inquisitorial legal system characteristic of many of the other Convention signatories. Under the ICJ's reading of "full effect," Article 36 claims could trump not only procedural default rules, but any number of other rules requiring parties to present their legal claims at the appropriate time for adjudication, such as statutes of limitations and prohibitions against filing successive habeas petitions. This sweeps too broadly, for it reads the "full effect" proviso in a way that leaves little room for the clear instruction in Article 36(2) that Article 36 rights "be exercised in conformity with the laws ... of the receiving State." A comparison with a suspect's rights under Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U. S. 436, disposes of Bustillo's "full effect" claim. Although the failure to inform defendants of their right to consular notification may prevent them from becoming aware of their Article 36 rights and asserting them at trial, precisely the same thing is true of Miranda rights. Nevertheless, if a defendant fails to raise his Miranda claim at trial, procedural default rules may bar him from raising the claim in a subsequent postconviction proceeding. Wainwright v. Sykes, 433 U. S. 72, 87. Bustillo's attempt to analogize an Article 36 claim to a claim under Brady v. Maryland, 373 U. S. 83, that the prosecution failed to disclose exculpatory evidence is inapt. Finally, his argument that Article 36 claims are most appropriately raised post-trial or on collateral review under Massaro v. United States, 538 U. S. 500, is rejected. See Dickerson, supra, at 438. Pp. 15-25.
(d) The Court's holding in no way disparages the Convention's importance. It is no slight to the Convention to deny petitioners' claims under the same principles this Court would apply to claims under an Act of Congress or the Constitution itself. P. 25.
No. 04-10566, 338 Ore. 267, 108 P. 3d 573, and No. 05-51, affirmed. Roberts, C. J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, and Alito, JJ., joined. Ginsburg, J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment. Breyer, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which Stevens and Souter, JJ., joined, and in which Ginsburg, J., joined as to Part II.
For the full opinion, click here.
Johnson's Believe It or Not!
Sometime in August, the Fox Network will air “30 Days” a reality show that will focus on what happens when a member of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corp spends 30 days in a cramped apartment in Los Angeles with seven undocumented immigrants. Even if you are not a fan of reality shows, this one may be worth watching.
Details to follow. But you heard it here first!
Immigration Scam Artist Arrested
Working out of a basement office on East 110th Street in East Harlem, John Nevarez used a fake badge and identification to convince low-wage laborers he was a U.S. agent who could solve their immigration problems, authorities said. In reality, he charged $8,000 per person in exchange for "absolutely nothing," according to authorities. Click here.
From the Hill -- They Say the Damndest Things
It was prop time on the House floor Tuesday night when Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), making the case for building a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border, showed a miniature version of a border wall that he “designed.” He had mock sand representing the desert as well as fake construction panels as C-SPAN focused in on the unusual display. But it got really interesting when King broke out the mock electrical wiring: “I also say we need to do a few other things on top of that wall, and one of them being to put a little bit of wire on top here to provide a disincentive for people to climb over the top.” He added, “We could also electrify this wire with the kind of current that would not kill somebody, but it would be a discouragement for them to be fooling around with it. We do that with livestock all the time.” King spokeswoman Summer Johnson disputed the notion that it was an immigrant-livestock comparison, saying, “He was comparing a fence to a fence — a border fence to an Iowa farm fence.” The outspoken proponent of border security, however, did not mention an Iowa farm fence during his show-and-tell performance.
Another Effort at More Court Stripping
Earlier this week, Senator John Cornyn introduced a 2nd degree amendment to the DHS appropriations bill that would gut injunctive relief in immigration litigation. If DHS or DOJ improperly implements asylum law or regulations, asylum seekers would have a very difficult time getting appropriate injunctive relief from federal courts if this amendment passes. Click below for the amendment, as well as excellent analysis and talking points prepared by the National Immigrant Legal Centerc on this issue. Download cornyn.pdf Download cornyn_amendment_analysis.doc Download cornyn_amendment_bullet_points.doc
July 11, 2006
Bosnian Immigration Fraud Case Goes to Jury
On the 11th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre, prosecutors and defense attorneys made their closing arguments Tuesday in the immigration fraud trial of a Bosnian who admitted participating in the carnage.
But both prosecutors and a defense lawyer for Marko Boskic insisted the case against him is not a war crimes case. The question, both sides agreed, was did Boskic lie about his military service so he could get into the United States? Click here.
Agreement on African Immigration
European and African officials have agreed to
a series of joint measures to stem the flow of illegal immigration to
Europe during an unprecedented, two-day meeting Morocco. Plan mixes
tougher security with incentives to stem to the exodus from Africa. The action plan agreed to by ministers meeting in Rabat includes 67
recommendations on ways to prevent undocumented immigrants from entering
European soil, and incentives to keep Africans from emigrating in the
first place. The meeting of ministers from more than 50 African and European
countries represents the first time they are jointly tackling the
problem of undocumented immigration, which has become a major issue in
Europe. Click here. bh
European and African officials have agreed to a series of joint measures to stem the flow of illegal immigration to Europe during an unprecedented, two-day meeting Morocco. Plan mixes tougher security with incentives to stem to the exodus from Africa.
The action plan agreed to by ministers meeting in Rabat includes 67 recommendations on ways to prevent undocumented immigrants from entering European soil, and incentives to keep Africans from emigrating in the first place.
The meeting of ministers from more than 50 African and European countries represents the first time they are jointly tackling the problem of undocumented immigration, which has become a major issue in Europe. Click here.
More on immigrants and crime
On July 9, Kevin Johnson posted information about a new anthology examining questions of immigration and crime. Describing the text, he wrote, "Overall, the contributors argue that fears of immigrant crime are largely unfounded, as immigrants are themselves often more likely to be the victims of discrimination, stigmatization, and crime rather than the perpetrators."
Earlier studies similarly suggest that immigrants tend to commit crimes at lower rates than comparable nonimmigrant groups. This begs the question: where do the strong perceptions of immigrant criminality come from? I think that part of the answer lies in the conflation of undocumented status and general criminality. But the immigrant/crime link also may be due to the pervasive nature of general statements about immigrants and crime that are primarily intuitive, and seldom supported by any data. A typical example appears in an NYTimes story from today about the potential link between meth use and identity theft. The article (linked here) explores the notion that meth use and identity theft may be linked. Ultimately, the evidence seems mixed. But what caught my eye was a quote from Joe Morales nestled in the middle of the article.
Mr. Morales, director of the Denver district attorney’s economic crime unit, said 60 percent to 70 percent of his office’s identity theft cases involved methamphetamine users or dealers, often in rings of 10 or more.
“Look at the states that have the highest rates of identity theft — Arizona, Nevada, California, Texas and Colorado,’’ Mr. Morales said. “The two things they all have in common are illegal immigration and meth.”
The obvious implication of Mr. Morales' statement is that undocumented immigrants commit identity theft. The statement may have intuitive appeal, but there is no data presented by Mr. Morales to support the notion that illegal immigration and identity theft are in any way related (nor does the article advance this point). Mr. Morales implies that there is a link, based entirely upon a remedial form of reasoning that the states with the highest rates of identity theft also have "illegal immigration" in common. In the spirit of Mr. Morales, I offer a list of 3 other things that Arizona, Nevada, California, Texas and Colorado all have in common:
--Whites constitute the single largest ethnic group in all 5 states.
--None of these 5 states yet allow gay marriage.
--All 5 states allow for the death penalty by lethal injection.
There is just as much evidence offered (i.e. none) to support the notion that any of these factors are linked to identity theft as there is offered to support his link between "illegal immigration" and identity theft.
Morales' sweeping statement also does not account for the fact that many other states with high rates of "illegal immigration" are not on his list of states with high rates of identity theft. So in addition to proving too little, his statement also seems to prove too much -- just like my list of 3 other commonalities.
Perhaps there is a link between undocumented migration and identity theft. One can come up with at least a few intuitive reasons that this might be the case. But Mr. Morales' reasoning certainly does not establish the link. My point is simply that we should be wary the the ways in which immigrants are portrayed -- often without evidence, and often in a very matter-of-fact way -- in statements about crime in America.
With all the talk about immigrants and unskilled labor lately, I was reminded of this passage from the book "Nickel and Dimed"
You might think that unskilled jobs would be a snap for
someone who holds a Ph.D. and whose normal line of work requires learning
entirely new things every couple of weeks. Not so. The first thing I discovered
is that no job, no matter how lowly, is truly “unskilled.” Every one of the six
jobs I entered into in the course of this project required concentration, and
most demanded that I master new terms, new tools, and new skills—from placing
orders on restaurant computers to wielding the backpack vacuum cleaner. Barbara Ehrenreich, Nickel and Dimed—On (Not)
Getting By in America 194 (2001)
Colorado Passes Tough Immigration Measures
Colorado lawmakers ended a five-day special session on undocumented immigration with a resounding approval of several bills that Democrats call the toughest in the nation and Republicans say don't go far enough.
The legislation sent late Monday to Republican Gov. Bill Owens would force a million people receiving state or federal aid in Colorado to verify their citizenship.
It would deny most non-emergency state benefits to undocumented immigrants 18 years old and older _ forcing people to prove legal residency when applying for benefits or renewing their eligibility. The state Senate passed it 22-13 and the House voted 48-15 in favor. Both chambers are controlled by Democrats. Click here.
NY Times on Sen. Sensenbrenner
The NY Times did a front page article today on Sen. Sensenbrenner's views on immigration. It starts as follows:
Representative F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. has no tolerance for illegal immigrants, either in his political life or personal life.
"My housekeeper in Wisconsin was born in Wisconsin," says Mr. Sensenbrenner, the Republican congressman and chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. "My housekeeper here is a naturalized U.S. citizen from Nicaragua."
Mr. Sensenbrenner is so loath to risk dealing with illegal immigrants that when his Cadillacs need cleaning, he prefers do-it-yourself car washes that require tokens. "They don’t have Montezuma’s picture on the front of them," Mr. Sensenbrenner says of the tokens.
For the full story, click here.