Saturday, August 19, 2006

Boat Carrying Immigrants Seeks Near Italy

A boat carrying 120 undocumented immigrants bound for Italy sank south of the Sicilian island of Lampedusa early Saturday, killing at least 10 people, port authorities in Palermo said.

Ships, planes and helicopters searched the sea throughout Saturday, but no more survivors were found or bodies recovered, port officials said. The group of migrants also included Iraqis, Lebanese and other North Africans, authorities said.

Click here.


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

DHS to Share Data with Local Law Enforcement

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security plans to unveil an information-sharing program next month to give local law enforcement access to federal immigration data.


Robert Mocny, acting director of the U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology program, said Homeland Security and the FBI are working to electronically combine their records on criminal and immigration offenders. Click here.


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

Friday, August 18, 2006

When commerce and security collide

New requirements set to go into effect on January 8, 2007, would require U.S. travelers returning from Canada, Mexico, Panama and the Caribbean islands to present passports to return to the United States.  At the moment, the presentation of driver's licenses and birth certificates suffice for reentry.  (Although I observed on a recent return trip from Canada that U.S. citizens without passports had a bit of a slog trying to get through U.S. immigration at the airport in Vancouver.)

The passport requirement were enacted as part of a laundry list of post-9/11 measures designed to improve security through more rigorous documentation requirements at points of entry.  In today's New York Times, Rachel Swarn notes that largest travel industry association in the US is opposing the move, and has urged the Bush administration to delay implementation until June 2009.  The full article is here.


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


The Georgetown Journal of Law & Public Policy announces a call for articles on the current immigration reform. Articles will be selected for their scholarly merits and their likelihood of provoking debate, regardless of ideology. The articles must be at least 3,500 words (about 12 double-spaced pages) in length including footnotes and are due by December 15, 2006. There is no maximum page limit. Articles selected for publication will appear in the Georgetown Journal of Law & Public Policy's 2007 Symposium issue. This year's Symposium, hosted by the American Constitution Society and the Federalist Society at the University of Arizona Rogers College of Law, will be held in Tucson, Arizona on February 9, 2007. Please submit materials electronically to Questions concerning submissions should be directed to Jed Borghei ( and questions concerning the February 9th Symposium event should be directed to Jonathan Millet (


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

Undocumented Population Estimate

The Office of Immigration Statistics estimates that as of January 2005, the undocumented immigration population in the U.S. was 10.5 million.

The Office of Immigration Statistics (OIS) would like to announce the release of
*Estimates of the Unauthorized Immigrant Population Residing in the United States:
January 2005*. This report provides estimates of the unauthorized immigrant population
residing in the United States as of January 2005 for periods of entry and leading
countries of birth and states of residence. The PDF is available on the OIS website at:


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

Anti-Immigrants Seek Office in San Bernadino

The sponsor of a failed measure that targeted undocumented immigrants is running for the city's school board and says he will campaign to abolish bilingual education in the city's schools.

Joseph Turner, 29, said he is running for the San Bernardino City Unified School District board to "aggressively target the policies that aid and abet illegal immigration."

His girlfriend, Alexis Ashley, is running for the San Bernardino County Board of Education and is seeking the same seat as Gil Navarro, a pro-immigrant activist who campaigned against Turner's ballot measure. Click here.


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

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Deportee Takes Refuge in Church

Taking refuge in a church, a prominent advocate for undocumented immigrants publicly defied federal authorities in Chicago who were trying to deport her Tuesday.

Elvira Arellano, who became a national spokeswoman for families facing deportation, had been ordered to report to the Department of Homeland Security by 9 a.m.

Instead, Arellano appeared at the pulpit of Adalberto United Methodist Church in the Humboldt Park neighborhood, vowing before dozens of supporters that she would not return to Mexico "like a coward." She said she would stay in the church indefinitely with her 7-year-old son, a U.S. citizen. Click here.


August 17, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Dramatic Growth In Communities of Color

Today, the Applied Research Center  (ARC) released data showing dramatic increases in U.S. communities of color.  Pulled from newly released census data, the analysis confirms an increasingly multi-racial, multi-national and multi-lingual nation.

ARC found a 5.6% increase in Blacks, while Asians and Pacific Islanders (API) are up 18.5% compared to five years ago. The biggest increases came in the Latino community, which grew by 7 million between 2000 and 2005, an increase of nearly 20%. 

“The new census data confirms what has already been predicted.  There will soon be a new majority in the U.S. made up of communities of color,” said Rinku Sen, executive director of the Applied Research Center.  “The growth of immigrants has been explosive, but not that’s not the whole story; the face of the nation is changing from coast to coast and public officials must respond to the rising majority.”

View the press release and fact sheets on national and statewide demographic trends here.


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

Immigration Enforcement Initiative in Arizona

A group that wants to require Phoenix police officers and other city employees to enforce federal immigration laws has now collected enough signatures to put that measure to a public vote as early as November. Click here.


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

New AILF Report

According to a new report of teh American Immigration Laaw Foundation, new data released by the Census Bureau on August 15 underscore the extent to which immigration continues to fuel the expansion of the U.S. labor force. The foreign-born population of the United States increased by 4.9 million between 2000 and 2005; raising the total foreign-born population to 35.7 million, or 12.4 percent of the 288.4 million people in the country. While the majority of immigrants still settle in traditional gateway states such as California, Florida, New York, and Texas, growing numbers also are settling in non-traditional destinations like South Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee. Moreover, immigration is stabilizing the populations of states such as Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. Yet the continued growth of the immigrant population and its dispersion to new locales is not displacing or otherwise disadvantaging most native-born workers. Immigrants are going where there are job openings and economic opportunities. As Congress debates competing proposals for comprehensive immigration reform, it would do well to pay close attention to these trends. Immigrants already have become an indispensable part of the U.S. labor force. Among the findings of this report: Immigrants account for more than one in six persons (15 percent or more) in seven states: California, New York, Texas, Florida, New Jersey, Nevada, and Hawaii. Immigrants from Latin America constitute a majority (57.3 percent) of the immigrants who arrived in the United States between 2000 and 2005. One quarter of recent arrivals came from Asia and about 9.6 percent from Europe. Naturalized immigrants comprise one in five voting-age adults in California and more than 10 percent in New York, New Jersey, Hawaii, and Florida. The primary reason that immigrants dont have a negative impact on the majority of native-born workers is that they arent competing for the same jobs. The U.S. population is growing older and better educated, while the U.S. economy continues to create a large number of jobs that favor younger workers with little formal education. Between 2000 and 2005, the median age of the U.S. population increased from 35.3 to 36.4 years old and the share of adults with at least a high-school diploma increased from 80 to 84 percent, while the share with at least a bachelors degree rose from 24 to 27 percent. Read the entire report here.


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

Interview of a Minuteman

For a N.Y. Times video interview of a Minuteman patrolling the U.S/Mexico border in California, click here.  The interview is revealing.  The Minuteman interviewed, a lonely Viet Nam vet who does not like how the returning troops were treated after the war, expressed convern with the demise of "ethnic" and "tribal boundaries" with immigration from Mexico.


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

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Immigrants in New Orleans Sue Hotel

Immigrant workers recruited from South America and the Dominican Republic after Hurricane Katrina sued a prominent hotelier Wednesday, saying they are being exploited. More than 80 workers from Peru, Bolivia and the Dominican Republic have joined the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court against Decatur Hotels LLC and its president and chief executive, F. Patrick Quinn III. The workers are employed in housekeeping, maintenance and other hotel support jobs in New Orleans.  for the Washington Post story, click here.


August 16, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Message from the UK

A message from Craig Murray, the former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan who got in trouble for complaining of human rights violations there about the recent terrorist arrests in the UK:

. . .  the one thing of which I am certain is that the timing is deeply political. This is more propaganda than plot. Of the over one thousand British Muslims arrested under anti-terrorist legislation, only twelve per cent are ever charged with anything. That is simply harrassment of Muslims on an appalling scale. Of those charged, 80% are acquitted. Most of the very few - just over two per cent of arrests - who are convicted, are not convicted of anything to do terrorism, but of some minor offence the Police happened upon while trawling through the wreck of the lives they had shattered. Be sceptical. Be very, very sceptical.

(emphasis added).  Click here for the full message.  Thanks to DMA for the scoop.


August 16, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Immigration Stories

For cool audio podcasts of immigration stories from different immigrants, click here.


August 16, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Special Hearing in Tucson

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE August 16, 2006 Contact:* Isabel Garcia, Coalición de Derechos Humanos: (520) 891-6169* Arnoldo Garcia, National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights: (510)465-1984 ext. 305; cell (510) 928-0685 National Hearing in Tucson, AZ will Collect Recommendations to Restore Rights Diverse Communities Will Speak Out on the Adverse Effects of 12 Years Of Deadly Border Militarization and Immigration Control (Oakland, CA-Tucson, AZ) – The Coalición de Derechos Humanos (CDH) with the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (NNIRR) and sister organizations from across the country are convening the national public hearing, “Communities on the Line: The Impacts of Militarization and Impunity,” in Tucson, Arizona on Thursday, August 17, 2006.

The national public hearing brings together communities from border and non-border regions to speak out on the effects that immigration policing and more than twelve years of border militarization are having on the rights, livelihood, services, and health of migrants, refugees, working people and communities of color in the United States. Gerald Lenoir, representing the Black Alliance for Just Immigration from Oakland, California, will present testimony on the impacts of immigration enforcement and border control on communities of color. Mr. Lenoir declared, "What most people do not realize is that law enforcement policies piloted on border and immigrant communities are being extended into our neighborhoods in cities across the U.S, depriving our communities of their rights and undermining their well-being." He pointed out that "African Americans – with our history of fighting brutal racial slavery and its long aftermath, who continue being economically exploited and subjected to extreme discrimination – have much in common with migrants of color and others who come to the United States, documented and undocumented. This national hearing will be an opportunity to lift up the interconnections between our communities' demands for restoring and expanding civil rights as part of achieving just immigration reforms, to fulfill our dreams of a community where all communities fit." Border communities, Indigenous people, communities of color, immigrants and working people along with experts and scholars will present testimony and critical assessments of the impacts of immigration control and border militarization. The convening organizations will issue a report with the testimony and recommendations collected at the hearing to obtain desired changes and accountability in immigration control and border militarization. Participants will propose alternatives and solutions to border militarization and its consequences. Isabel García, co-chair of the Tucson-based Coalición de Derechos Humanos (CDH, Human Rights Coalition), explained, "Border militarization is the deadly face of the crisis undermining the health of immigrant and refugee communities and fueling gross and massive rights violations that are destabilizing our communities and the country. Our hearing will provide much needed space for the voices of the excluded, examining alternatives to achieve a more just and humane border." Catherine Tactaquin, NNIRR's Executive Director, added "We have organized this national hearing to learn directly from members of our communities about their experiences with the harsh immigration law enforcement and border control policies. We want to break the national silence on the social disaster these policies have wrought on border communities and migrants everywhere."

The hearing will be presided over by the Honorable Congressman Raúl Grijalva with fellow panel members including Pima County Supervisor Richard Elías, local African-American artist/activist Barbea Williams, Liz Hernandez, a Tucson High School student leader and member of the Social Justice Project, and Donald Carson, professor emeritus with the University of Arizona Department Of Journalism and others. This prestigious panel will receive testimony and documentation about the impact of border and immigration enforcement strategies. Invited speakers from local, state, national and international organizations include: South Asian Network, Los Angeles, CASeminario Permanente de Estudios Chicanos y de Fronteras, UNAM, Mexico City Colonias Development Council, Las Cruces, NM Unión del Pueblo Fronterizo, New Mexico Black Alliance for Just Immigration, Oakland, CA Southwest Network for Environmental and Economic Justice, Albuquerque, NM Members of the community are invited to attend and participate in the community hearing, which will be held at Armory Park Community Center Ballroom (220 S. 5th Avenue, Tucson) on Thursday, August 17, 2006, 6:00-9:00 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

The hearing is part of a critical national effort to educate and mobilize members of communities, the public at large, voters and elected officials on the mounting threat current and pending immigration legislation poses to the rights, well-being and safety of our communities. Results and recommendations of the hearing will be presented to local, state and federal elected officials and policy-makers, community members and leaders, and partners and allies as part of demanding just and fair immigration reforms. The public hearing, "Communities on the Line: Militarization and Impunity," is one of a series of community hearings, activities and actions being launched during August, September and October in Arizona, California, Washington state, Michigan, Florida and New York in coordination with the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights as part of the Liberty & Justice for All campaign, an alliance of immigrant rights, civil liberties, civil rights, human rights and immigrant community organizations working to restore and protect civil liberties.


August 16, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Lawsuits filed Challenging Municipal Anti-Immigrant Laws

lawsuits have been filed against the cities of Riverside, California and hazleton, Pennsylvania, claiming that their anti-immigrant ordinances are unconstitutional.  Since July, when the Pennsylvania city of Hazleton passed an ordinance aimed at making it "one of the most difficult places in America for illegal immigrants," dozens of other communities have picked up on the idea, saying local governments must find ways to expel illegal immigrants. Already, laws have passed in a handful of places: In Valley Park, Mo., population 6,518, landlords over the weekend began evicting tenants who were not legal residents. In Riverside, N.J., families departed so quickly that they left piles of mattresses behind. On Tuesday, in hopes of stopping the spread of the ordinances, opponents filed federal lawsuits against Hazleton and Riverside, arguing principally that the local governments were violating the supremacy clause of the Constitution by attempting to regulate immigration, which is a federal matter. Cesar A. Perales, president and chief executive of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, which is suing Hazleton, called his case against the ordinance "a slam-dunk." But a victory in court, he said, will not address the anger that is growing in small-town America, where many blame illegal immigrants for a range of social ills. Click here for the L.A. Times story.

In Hazleton, an ordinance that classifies certain immigrants as "illegal," punishes landlords and employers who do business with those immigrants and makes English the official language is unconstitutional and should be blocked immediately, according to a lawsuit filed today by the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, the national ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project, Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund (PRLDEF), the Community Justice Project, the law Philadelphia-based law firm of Cozen O'Connor and local attorneys George Barron, David Vaida, and Barry Dyller. "Not only is this law a bull in the china shop of constitutional rights, but it will do real injury to lawful immigrants and even citizens," said Witold Walczak, Legal Director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania. "It makes every person who looks or sounds foreign a suspect, including those who are here legally. You might as well just paint a target on every foreigners' forehead or a sign saying 'please treat me differently.'" "All this ordinance does is create more tension and hatred between neighbors," said Cesar Perales, President and General Counsel of the PRLDEF. "The city will also face major litigation costs. It is patently illegal for a local municipality to usurp the role of the federal government." Perales cited a report published by the Congressional Research Service, a nonpartisan agency that writes reports for lawmakers, which confirmed that federal law likely precludes Hazleton from enforcing the ordinance. Enforcement of the ordinance, approved on July 13, is expected to begin on September 11. The ordinance defines certain persons as "illegal aliens" using a definition so broad that it actually includes many lawful residents and naturalized citizens. "Hazleton's anti-immigrant ordinance is bad for the community, is unconstitutional and will foster rampant discrimination," said Omar Jadwat, a staff attorney with the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project. "This mean-spirited law is wrong for many reasons, but the most obvious is that the city does not have the power to make its own immigration laws." Additionally, under the ordinance, property owners are subject to fines of more than $1,000 a day for renting to individuals classified as "illegal aliens," and business owners could be fined and have their licenses suspended for hiring "illegal aliens" either knowingly or unknowingly. In addition, businesses would be barred from selling merchandise to "illegal aliens," including basic necessities such as food. The ordinance would also turn Hazleton into an "English-only" community in which city documents and other written communications would not be available in any language but English unless specifically required by federal or state law. Also, documents from residents to city officials would have to be written in English. The groups filed the lawsuit on behalf of 11 Hazleton residents and business owners as well as three non-profits. Plaintiffs include a lifelong Pennsylvanian and U.S. citizen who moved with her husband to Hazleton and opened a small business using her family's life savings. The business was doing well and the couple became foster parents intent on adopting. Since the passage of the ordinance her business has been cut in half and she can no longer pay the bills. The family has been verbally abused with anti-Latino epithets and is contemplating moving from the area. In addition to filing the lawsuit, counsel for the plaintiffs today sent a letter to the Mayor and the City Council informing them that litigation can be avoided if the ordinance is repealed. If the city fails to do so, the court proceedings will be aggressively pursued. The groups said in legal papers that the ordinance violates the U.S. Constitution's Supremacy Clause because it seeks to override federal law and the exclusive federal power over immigration. The ordinance also violates business and property owners' due process rights under the constitution because it is nearly impossible for them ensure compliance. In addition, the ordinance's "English only" provision violates city residents' First Amendment rights to free speech.  For the complaint and other materials about teh ACLS suit, click here.


August 16, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Arizona Wants Cooperation from DHS

Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano and Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio have written U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff strongly complaining about a top federal immigration official in Phoenix.

Napolitano and Arpaio do not directly name the special agent at the Immigration & Customs Enforcement Agency in Phoenix. But state government and Sheriff's office sources say the subject of the criticism is Special Agent in Charge Roberto Medina. The governor and sheriff are upset with lack of cooperation from Medina when it comes to sharing intelligence and investigation information and his refusal to pick up and deport undocumented immigrants detained under the state's human smuggling laws, the sources say. Click here.


August 16, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Another Lawsuit over Immigration Detention

Four noncitizens have filed a lawsuit in federal district court in Los Angeles alleging that U.S. officials detained them in violation of their constitutional rights in connection with the "war on terrorism." LA Times writer H.G. Reza reports that:

Four Iranian brothers jailed more than three years as security threats and accused of supporting terrorists sued former Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft, FBI Director Robert Mueller III and other officials Monday, charging that the government held them illegally as punishment for refusing to work as informants.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, is the latest salvo in a drawn-out legal battle between the Mirmehdi brothers and the federal government, which accused them of having ties to a terrorist organization but charged them with violating immigration law and has failed in attempts to deport them to Iran. The brothers were released in 2005.

The full LA Times story is here. 


August 15, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

New Immigration Articles

Farrone, Marissa. Comment. Opening the doors to women? An examination of recent developments in asylum and refugee law. 50 St. Louis U. L.J. 661-690 (2006).

Flamme, Alexandra Blake. Comment. A construction of "extreme cruelty" under the Violence Against Women Act and its potential impact on immigration and domestic violence law. (Hernandez v. Ashcroft, 345 F.3d 824, 9th Cir. 2003.) 40 New Eng. L. Rev. 571-618 (2006).

Johnson, Jessika. Recent development. The Sixth Circuit's failure to consider gender's place in asylum claims. (Rreshipja v. Gonzales, 420 F.3d 551, 6th Cir. 2005.) 14 Tul. J. Int'l & Comp. L. 623-641 (2006).

Reeds, Laura Anne. Note. Sixty years in limbo: the duty of host states to integrate Palestinian refugees under customary international law. 81 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 351-384 (2006).

Vargas, Manuel D. Immigration consequences of guilty pleas or convictions. 30 N.Y.U. Rev. L. & Soc. Change 701-716 (2006).

Yu, Elisabeth J. Sweeney. Note. Addressing the economic impact of undocumented immigration on the American worker: private RICO litigation and public policy. 20 Notre Dame J.L. Ethics & Pub. Pol'y 909-954 (2006).

Symposium: A Tribute to the Work of Kim Barry: The Construction of Citizenship in an Emigration Context. Dedication by Barry Friedman; introduction by Peter H. Schuck; articles by Kim Barry, Anupam Chander, David Fitzgerald, Ruth Rubio-Marin, Ayelet Shachar, Peter J. Spiro, Michael J. Trebilcock and student Matthew Sudak. 81 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 1-293 (2006).


August 15, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1)

15% Increase in Immigration in 5 Years

The number of immigrants living in American households rose 16 percent over the last five years, fueled largely by recent arrivals from Mexico, according to fresh data released by the Census Bureau.

And increasingly, immigrants are bypassing the traditional gateway states like California and New York and settling directly in parts of the country that until recently saw little immigrant activity -- regions like the Upper Midwest, New England and the Rocky Mountain states.Click here.


August 15, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)