July 29, 2006
Subcontractor Charged in Criminal Complaint
In US v. Witt, et. al, 06-2059M-1, complaint filed in USDC Eastern Kentucky May 08, 2006, the ICE agent filed a criminal complaint charging Defendants, the supervisors at Fischer Homes, a construction company, for harboring undocumented aliens for the purpose of commercial advantage and private financial gain, in violation of 8 USC 1324(a)(1)(B)(i) and 8 USC 1324(a)(1)(A)(iii) and (a)(1)(A)(v)(II). We believe this is the first time that a criminal complaint for harboring has been filed against an Company's supervisors for undocumented aliens that were employed by a sub-contractor.
Is racism behind treatment of Haitians?
CLICK HERE FOR AN ARTICLE THAT POSES THIS SEEMINGLY AGE-OLD QUESTION:
The conference room at the law offices of Kurzban, Kurzban, Weinger and Tetzeli was crammed tight. Attorneys took turns at the microphone, their faces etched with frustration. The question they kept coming back to: Why? Why, they asked, are Haitian immigrants singled out by the U.S. government for unequal treatment? On this day, earlier in the year, the topic was temporary protected status, a designation the federal government can grant to foreigners allowing them to remain part time in the United States because of political unrest or environmental disasters at home. Central Americans have repeatedly been granted protected status following hurricanes and earthquakes in Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador. Immigrants from Burundi, Liberia, Somalia and Sudan also enjoy such protections. But Haitians have never obtained relief, despite decades of political turmoil, kidnappings and killings, and tribulations from tropical storms.
One can only wonder how much race and racism affects all of U.S. immigration law and enforcement. yes, the immigration laws for the most part are race neutral. However, the law and its enforcement has racially disparte impacts. And just how much anti-Mexican sentiment is affecting the debate over immigration reform? I sure wish I could say "not at all" but that would be a lie.
Catholic Church and Immigrants
As political leaders are mired in debate over immigration reform, the U.S. Catholic Church is busy reaching out to embrace the cultural richness of its increasingly diverse flock.
While it didn't make front page news, more than 2,000 young Hispanic Catholics -- many of them new immigrants -- gathered recently for dialogue with bishops from the United States and Latin America who heard their calls for a more visible place in their church and country. Bishop Felipe Estévez, an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Miami, joined a delegation of 44 Miami Hispanic Catholic youth at this encuentro (gathering) held at the University of Notre Dame. Click here.
More on Colorado Immigration Politics
Colorado is the home of U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo, a Republican who has become a serious national figure courtesy of his vehement opposition to undocumented immigration. It is also the home of U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar, a Democrat who worked hard for a Senate bill that combines tougher border enforcement with a path toward citizenship for illegal immigrants. Tancredo happens to despise the bill Salazar supports.
Given the passions and the inevitable political calculations going into
this fall's elections, this may be the worst moment to write a sensible
national immigration policy. Bills that give a little to one side and a little
to the other can get so complicated that they become unworkable and fail to
resolve the fundamental issues. Click here.
July 28, 2006
Debate Over Senate Bill Within Immigrant Rights Movement
Even as Congress is stalled over legislation dealing with the growing number of undocumented immigrants, a split has emerged among pro-immigrant rights groups over whether to back the Senate measure, seen as the more lenient of the two bills being considered by lawmakers.
A number of the larger and more well-known organizations, such as the National Immigration Forum and the National Council of La Raza, back the Senate bill, albeit reluctantly. But a growing number of other liberal immigrant rights advocates, dismayed at what they say are onerous provisions of the Senate measure, are now saying they would prefer that Congress not enact an immigration law this year. Click here.
Amnesty Debate in France
Even as Italy and Spain have legalized hundreds of thousands of undocumented foreigners, the European Union is mulling a battery of anti-immigration measures, including border guards and patrol boats to scour Africa's coasts for vessels carrying suspected would-be immigrants. In France, the new legislation has sparked passionate reactions a year ahead of general elections, exposing deep-seated ambivalence toward immigrants. Successive polls underscore widespread support for tougher policies. Yet many are troubled at the prospect of deporting youngsters like Sambou, and particularly at expelling those born and raised in France. Click here.
Connecticut Supreme Court decides not to decide
On July 27, the Connecticut Supreme Court issued an opinion in State v.Aquino, deciding the case is moot because the record does not reflect whether the client was deported for his aggravated felony or because he was here illegally. The court did not rule on the question whether criminal defense lawyers have the obligation to determine their client's immigration status, and advise the clients of the immigration consequences of the criminal case. The Court vacated a bad decision at the intermediate appeals court level. Conrad Seifert represented Mr. Aquino, the appellant. Tova Indritz, Jorge Baron, and Bruno Bier filed an amicus brief on behalf of the following eight organizations: American Civil Liberties Union Foundation Immigrants' Rights Project Connecticut Criminal Defense Lawyers Association (CCDLA). Immigration Clinic, Yale Law School, International Institute of Connecticut, Inc., National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild (NIP-NLG), National Legal Aid and Defender Association (NLADA), and the Samuel and Anna Jacobs Criminal Justice Clinic, Yale Law School. Click here (Download decision.pdf ) to read the decison.
A Message From the Low-Wage Immigrant Worker Coalition
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued proposed immigration rules that would have a disastrous effect on all workers and our economy. Under the proposed rule, employers could be held liable for violating immigration law if they continue to employ workers who receive notification that the name and social security number they gave their employer does not match the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) records (otherwise known as an SSA “no-match” letter) – despite the numerous legitimate reasons for a “no match.” This may prompt panicked employers to fire thousands of workers before workers have a chance to resolve the discrepancy. For more information about the proposed rule, see "SSA "No-Match" Letters and DHS's Proposed Rules". We must fight back! Public comments are due to DHS by Monday, August 14, 2006. We need to bombard DHS with the message that these regulations will - Lead to discrimination, abuse, and unlawful mass firings that will harm all workers; Promote an underground economy that punishes “good” employers who play by the rules while actually providing more incentive to employers who continue to exploit undocumented workers; and Ignore the reality that the SSA “no-match” letter is ill-suited as a worksite enforcement tool, and that comprehensive immigration reform is the only way to create a workable solution. Please take a moment out of your day to help defend the rights of ALL workers! How individuals can fight the proposed regulations Spend one minute sending an electronic comment to DHS at http://seiuaction.org/campaign/immigration_dhs_regulations. Spend two minutes printing out a flyer and mailing it to DHS. Spend 10 seconds forwarding this alert to your friends and family! How organizations and unions can fight the proposed regulations Widely distribute flyers to send to DHS to your members or network. Ask your members or network to submit electronic comments to DHS at http://seiuaction.org/campaign/immigration_dhs_regulations. Send comments opposing the regulations. Please copy model comments onto your letterhead and include information about your organization and your experience with SSA no-match letters. Please also forward to organizations in your state. Tell the media why these regulations are bad for all workers. Use our media talking points to reach out to the press to tell workers’ stories. Introduce a resolution in your city. The Santa Fe, New Mexico City Council has introduced a resolution (see draft) stating that the city will not take adverse action against any city employee who receives a no-match letter. The resolution passed the Finance committee unanimously, and the full City Council will vote on it tonight. Use this resolution as a model in your city. Send stories of workers who have been unlawfully fired because their employer received a no-match letter. These examples are powerful and will help demonstrate the negative impact that SSA no-match letters have had on all workers. If you have a story, please send it to Jennifer Lai at NILC, email@example.com 213-639-3900 ext 123. For more information, please contact: Tyler Moran, National Immigration Law Center, 208-333-1424 Ana Avendaño, AFL-CIO, 202-637-3949 Amy Sugimori, National Employment Law Project, 212-285-3025 x302 Sarita Gupta, Jobs with Justice, 202-393-1044 x227 (as a resource for actions that people can take in response to the proposed rule) Resources: DHS Proposed Rules: “Safe Harbor Procedures for Employers Who Receive A No-Match Letter” 71 FR 34281-85 (June 14, 2006). PLEASE DO NOT REPLY TO THIS MESSAGE, EMAIL ALL RESPONSES TO MUNOZ@NILC.ORG.
July 27, 2006
More Public Hearings Coming in August
House Republican leaders announced a plan to blanket the country with hearings in August -- 19 of them in 12 states -- to stir public support for a border crackdown this year, perhaps before the November elections.
House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill, said he came away from his recent trip to the Arizona border convinced that the public wants the border closed to undocumented immigration before there is any consideration of either a guest worker program or legalization of the 12 million undocumented immigrants now believed to be in the country, as the Senate and the White House prefer.
The hearings are part of a series that began this month after House
leaders decided to delay opening formal negotiations with the Senate and
instead spend the summer collecting testimony on why the Senate bill is so
wrongheaded. Click here.
Judge Posner's "Love Affair" With the IJs and BIA Continues
Click here for the full Seventh Circuit opinion. Thanks to Dan Kowalski for pulling out the punchline:
The immigration judge (O. John Brahos, whose decision was affirmed in a one-sentence per curiam order by the Board of Immigration Appeals) doubted the applicant's credibility on grounds that, because of factual error, bootless speculation, and errors of logic, lack a rational basis. These have been common failings in recent decisions by immigration judges and the Board. Hanaj v. Gonzales, 446 F.3d 694, 700 (7th Cir. 2006); Tabaku v. Gonzales, 425 F.3d 417, 423 (7th Cir. 2005); Hor v. Gonzales, 421 F.3d 497, 500 (7th Cir. 2005); Lin v. Ashcroft, 385 F.3d 748, 755-56 (7th Cir. 2004); Cao He Lin v. United States Dep't of Justice, 428 F.3d 391, 403 (2d Cir. 2005); Elzour v. Ashcroft, 378 F.3d 1143, 1153-54 (10th Cir. 2004); Dia v. Ashcroft, 353 F.3d 228, 249, 250 (3d Cir. 2003) (en banc); Gao v. Ashcroft, 299 F.3d 266, 278-79 (3d Cir. 2002).
A P.S. from Michael Olivas
. . . ya gotta love Posner when he is dogging immigration matters: "The IJ's credibility findings in their weirdness gave the BIA pause..." (at 3)
"Routine" border search
On July 24, 2006, in the case of U.S. v. Romm, the Ninth Circuit upheld the admission of evidence obtained through the search of the contents of a laptop computer. Romm's computer was searched at a US port of entry after he was denied entry in Canada as he attempted to enter Canada from the US. The Ninth Circuit found that the search of the computer was a valid as a "routine border search." The court wrote:
"We assume for the sake of argument that a person who, like Romm, is detained abroad has no opportunity to obtain foreign contraband. Even so, the border search doctrine is not limited to those cases where the searching officers have reason to suspect the entrant may be carrying foreign contraband. Instead, 'searches made at the border...are reasonable simply by virtue of the fact that they occur at the border.' Thus, the routine border search of Romm's laptop was reasonable, regardless whether Romm obtained foreign contraband in Canada or was under 'official restraint.'"
The language gives a good sense of the broad powers that inhere to government officials during border searches.
The focus of the news analysis has been upon the very intrusive, electronic nature of the search. Declan McCullough writes for CNET that the "[t]hree-judge panel unanimously says that border police may conduct random searches of laptops without search warrants or probable cause. These searches can include seizing the laptop and subjecting it to extensive forensic analysis." The CNET analysis can be found here:
It is worth noting, however, that it was not until the Ninth Circuit appeal that Romm raised the argument that the search of the contents of his laptop was too intrusive to qualify as a routine border search. The Ninth Circuit expressly declined to decide that issue. It is possible that, had the issue been properly raised in the lower courts, the Ninth Circuit may have been more reluctant to sanction such intrusive searches. Then again, courts are notoriously reluctant to limit the scope of border searches. The full decision is here:
New Immigration Articles
Booth, Daniel. Note. Federalism on ICE: state and local enforcement of federal immigration law. 29 Harv. J.L. & Pub. Pol'y 1063-1083 (2006).
Coffino, Eli. Note. A long road to residency: the legal history of Salvadoran & Guatemalan immigration to the United States with a focus on NACARA. 14 Cardozo J. Int'l & Comp. L. 177-207 (2006).
Nessel, Lori A. Forced to choose: torture, family reunification, and United States immigration policy. 78 Temp. L. Rev. 897-948 (2005). I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS ARTICLE.
Richter, Jennifer E. Casenote. Return to sender: Supreme Court authorizes removal of aliens without prior consent from the destination country in ... (Jama v. ICE, 543 U.S. 335, 2005.) 57 Mercer L. Rev. 953-969 (2006).
Joke of the Day
For a video Border Patrol joke, click Download BorderPatrol.wmv
Anti-Immigrants Don't Build Strong Community
An interesting op-ed by Bookda Geisar:
"The attack on immigrant rights is part of a broader attack on civil and human rights, one that diverts attention from the real issues. As long as we allow the poor, immigrants, people of color, religious minorities, gays and lesbians and people with disabilities to be used as scapegoats, we will never find solutions for poverty, lack of access to a quality education and lack of affordable health care." Click here for the entire commentary.
English Only Once Again -- Chapter 1001
Against the backdrop of a larger national debate on immigration laws, the House Committee on Education Reform today examined different perspectives on the controversial issue of making English the nation's official language. The session, the second in a series of committee hearings to focus on various aspects of the proposed changes to U.S. border security and enforcement, featured testimony from five witnesses who expressed concerns about stoking divisiveness in American society. "The move to make English the official language will yield no discernible benefit," said witness John Trasvina, interim president of the California-based Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. "Discrimination will be made our official language. . . . It will promote divisiveness." For the full Washington Post story, click here.
REPORT ON ON HAZLETON ORDINANCE
The Congressional Research Service concludes that many provisions of the Hazelton ordinance, the subject of a number of posts over the last few weeks, may be prempted by federal law as well as violate federal antidiscriminatonm laws. Download hazleton_ordinance_crs_report.pdf
July 26, 2006
Anti-Immigrant Protestor Claims Brain Injury
A public interest law firm has filed suit against the California city of Baldwin Park, its mayor, some council members and a pro-illegal immigration publication for their alleged role in harming a senior citizen who was protesting what she viewed as an anti-American monument.
The Temecula, Calif., firm of Lively, Ackerman and Cowles, in papers filed in Los Angeles Superior Court Thursday, charged that Laura D. Dalton, of Murrieta, Calif., was injured at the city park when she was struck in the head by a water bottle. The injury, court documents said, required her to be transported to a nearby hospital by ambulance, where she was treated for a "brain injury."
Dalton and supporters, according to court papers, had come to the park last May 14 for a pre-planned protest of the Danzas Indigenas Monument, or Indigenous Dance, when they were confronted with counter-demonstrators.
Dalton was part of a protest that included members from "Save Our State," or SOS, a grassroots group opposed to illegal immigration, and The Minutemen, an organization formed to assist Border Patrol and other law enforcement authorities with curbing illegal immigration. Click here.
U.S. Senate Race in Washington State
Democrat U.S. Senator, Maria Cantwell, is being challenged by Republican candidate Mike McGavick. The Seattle Times recently asked the candidates to state their positions on immigration questions:
Should illegal immigration be considered a felony?
Mike McGavick: We don't need to change what kind of crime illegal immigration is; the focus should be on ways to better enforce our immigration laws. Illegal immigration-related offenses such as human smuggling and drug smuggling should remain felonies and carry the strictest penalties.
Maria Cantwell: No, illegal immigration is already a crime. Under the Bush administration, there has been a 30 percent decline in enforcement on the Mexican border. We need a tough, fair and practical approach to this issue — better enforcement of the laws on the books right now is where we ought to start.
Should some illegal immigrants have a path to U.S. citizenship?
Mike McGavick: Any comprehensive immigration bill should start with securing the borders and include a temporary and rigid guest-worker program. A path to citizenship that includes the payment of back taxes, a requirement to learn English, and other financial penalties for laws that have been broken can then be implemented for illegal immigrants already working in America, already immersed in our communities and who wish to become citizens.
Maria Cantwell: Yes. We need a practical solution that deals with the 12 million illegal immigrants already here. This solution must be fair to taxpayers and seal our borders. We must get tough on the border, allowing only those who pass a background check, register with the government, pay fines, learn English, meet civic requirements, and continue to work to earn a path to citizenship — making taxpayers out of illegal-immigrant workers.
click here for more.
Brazil hosts innovative approaches to combat racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia at the Regional Conference of the Americas-- Starts Today!
“I will never be satisfied until racial segregation disappears in America.” (Martin Luther King).
Martin Luther King’s statement expresses a universal ideal that transcends the dream of just one great Black leader. Governments and civil society groups speak out in favor of affirmative action policies and the creation of mechanisms that guarantee citizen involvement, not only for afrodescendents. For all civil rights movements, the combat against racism, xenophobia and any sort of intolerance are inter-related. In response to an appeal from civil society groups of 35 South American, North American and Caribbean countries, the Brazilian and Chilean governments, with support from the U.N. High Comissioner, have initiated the Regional Conference of the Americas on Successes and Challenges of the Action Plan against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Other Intolerance. Brasilia will host the international conference, from the 26th to the 28th of next July. The Special Secretariat for the Promotion of Policies for Racial Equality (SEPPIR/PR) expects 400 participants, including representatives of governments, civil society and other invitees. The official opening of the Regional Conference of the Americas will occur on July 26th, at 5 pm, in the Palácio do Planalto, in Brasilia. Minister Matilde Ribeiro, Secretary for the Promotion of Racial Equality and the Chilean embassador, Juan Martabit will preside over the Conference. The president of the Republican Federation of Brazil, Luís Inácio Lula da Silva, will make an official announcement. Besides the Palácio do Planalto, which will also host the Conference’s Opening Cocktail Reception, on July 26th at 8 pm, conference activities will take place at the Blue Tree Towers Hotel, also in Brasilia. During the three days of the international conference, the participants will join work groups in assemblies and small meetings. Government and civil society will evaluate public policies, with an emphasis on the exchange of effective practices that have been established since the Conference in Santiago, Chile in 2000, and are based on the agreements reached in the Third World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Other Intolerance, held in Durban, South Africa in 2001. Remember, there will be a limited number of spots for civil society participants. Members of the media can sign-up before Monday, July 24th through www.americascontraracismo.com.br. The website provides access to information on the official program, history of past conferences, where-to-stay, city tours and other services. http://portal.saude.gov.br/portal/se/datasus/area.cfm?id_area=738
Reminder from the Yale Law Journal
Here is a message from the Yale Law Journal that I was asked to post for our readers:
I am writing on behalf of The Yale Law Journal to ask for your help once again as the deadline for submissions, August 1, 2006, draws nearer. We hope that you will help us remind your readers of this exciting opportunity. The Journal seeks to publish two Articles engaged in a dialogue on a single compelling legal topic. Selected Articles will be published in the same issue in the spring of 2007. We encourage scholars to submit pieces in development rather than completed pieces ready for submission and publication so that the pieces that will evolve in response to each other. Interested authors should seek out a colleague in their field with a differing viewpoint who will join them in this project. There is no subject matter limitation for submissions, but the topic should be both contentious and suitable to thorough and engaging discussion. Each submission should include a partially developed paper of at least 5000 words and the author’s curriculum vitae. The interlocutor should include a prospectus of at least 1200 words, as well as a curriculum vitae. Please send proposals via e-mail in MS Word format to the Features & Symposium Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org. The subject line should read: Debate Proposal: [Title]. All submissions must be received by August 1, 2006, and the Journal will respond by August 15. If you would like more information, please do not hesitate to email us at email@example.com or visit our website at http://www.yalelawjournal.org/documents/CallforDebate.pdf
Sincerely, Brian Wong Symposium Editor, Yale Law Journal