Saturday, August 26, 2006
The price tag for comprehensive immigration reform was not a key issue when the Senate passed its bill last May. But it is now. One reason: It took the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) - the gold standard for determining what a bill will cost - until last week to estimate that federal spending for this vast and complex bill would hit $127 billion over the next 10 years. Click here for the Christian Science Monitor Story.
Border governors -- including Arizona's Janet Napolitano and California's Arnold Schwarzenegger -- are chastising Republican congressional leaders for dragging their heels on immigration reforms and border security upgrades.
Napolitano, Schwarzenegger and Govs. Bill Richardson of New Mexico and Rick Perry of Texas have written GOP congressional leaders asking them to move forward with stalled immigration measures this year. Click here.
A coalition of mostly Latino organizations filed a lawsuit Friday in Maricopa County Superior Court to remove an immigration enforcement initiative from the city's Nov. 7 ballot.
The group, including We Are America, is calling into question more than 700 signatures turned in by Randy Pullen, chairman of Protect Our City. Pullen's initiative aims to require Phoenix police officers to enforce federal immigration laws.
Danny Ortega, an attorney representing the group, said many of the signatures are invalid because felons collected them, which is not permitted by state law. Click here.
Friday, August 25, 2006
Umer Hayat is interviewed in today's Sacramento Bee. Mr. Hayat was unsuccessfully prosecuted on charges of lying to the FBI about his son's "terrorist training" in Pakistan. In the interview, Hayat indicates that the FBI set him up "in order to justify an expensive and unfruitful investigation into two Lodi Imams from Pakistan" who have since "voluntarily" departed the United States.
U. Hayat's trial last Spring resulted in a hung jury. He has been in federal custody since June 2005, but expected to be freed today after agreeing to plea to an unrelated charge of lying to customs officials about how much money he took to Pakistan on a 2003 trip. The full Sac Bee story by Stephen Maganini is here.
The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that, in a case considered a bellwether of United States policy toward foreign scholars, the government has decided not to appeal a court ruling ordering it to either issue a visa to Tariq Ramadan, a prominent Swiss Muslim scholar, or provide good reasons for not doing so. A federal court issued the ruling in June in a lawsuit brought on Mr. Ramadan's behalf by the American Academy of Religion, the American Association of University Professors, and the PEN American Center. The American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing the plaintiffs, filed the lawsuit. The government had been widely expected to appeal the ruling. But on Tuesday it let the 60-day deadline for appeal pass without doing so. Federal authorities now have 30 days to act on a second visa request from Mr. Ramadan, filed in September 2005, which has been left pending since then. Click here for the full story.
With ambitions to equal the turnout of massive immigration rallies in April and May, organizers announced Wednesday plans for Labor Day marches in the Bay Area and across the nation.
The Sept. 4 marches in San Jose, Oakland, San Francisco and other U.S. cities, organizers say, will hopefully kick-start the stalled immigration reform legislation. Click here.
The Asian American Justice Center (AAJC), a national civil and human rights organization, has raised concerns about the paucity of Asian Pacific Islander Americans (APIA) on the list of nominees for the 58th Emmy Awards. Of the 16 nomination categories for outstanding actor or actress, only four minorities, one of whom was APIA actress Sandra Oh from Grey’s Anatomy, were nominated for awards. Last year, five minorities, including APIA actors Naveen Andrews and Oh, received nominations.
“The truth is there are few prime time roles being filled by APIA actors,” said Star Trek veteran George Takei. “The networks need to continue their efforts to significantly increase quality opportunities for Asian Americans and other minorities on prime time television, and then minority representation at the Emmys will also improve.”
A new report done by UCLA researchers for AAJC finds that APIA actors are practically absent from starring roles in prime time programming. The new report entitled, Asian Pacific Americans in Prime Time: Setting the Stage, reveals a dearth of quality roles for APIAs. It also looks beyond raw numbers to evaluate the type, quality and complexity of television characters portrayed by APIA actors.
Highlights from the report include:
- The percentage of regular APIA characters on prime time television comprises only 2.6 percent of all prime time television regulars despite APIAs making up 5 percent (as of 2004) of the population in the United States.
- Of the 102 prime time programs, only 14 feature at least one APIA actor.
- APIA regular characters remain absent from programs set in heavily APIA-populated cities such as San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York.
- All six networks feature smaller percentages of APIA regulars than exist in the U.S. population, with three networks (WB, UPN and FOX) at less than half and one network (CBS) with no representation whatsoever.
- ABC scored the highest percentage of regulars at 4 percent.
- While missing from 2004-2005 prime time situational comedies, APIA actors were featured on three sitcoms in the 2005-2006 season.
“Despite slight improvements in character prominence and quality, the lack of numerical representation renders APIAs still nearly invisible on prime time television,” said Karen K. Narasaki, chair of the Asian Pacific American Media Coalition and president and executive director of AAJC. “The study proves that APIAs continue to face barriers in obtaining quality roles in Hollywood in front of the camera.”
Of all television programming in the 2005 season, two series stand out in their inclusion and portrayal of APIAs. Lost and Grey’s Anatomy, both on ABC, are highly popular with audiences across
racial and ethnic groups.
Nancy Wang Yuen, lead UCLA researcher, added, “The public tend to rely on characterizations from film and television to formulate beliefs about groups with whom they may be less familiar. Representations of APIAs on prime time television will impact the treatment and perceptions of APIAs in real life.“
The new report, Asian Pacific Americans in Prime Time: Setting the Stage can be downloaded at www.advancingequality.org/files/aajc_tv_06.pdf. Also available on the Web site is AAJC’s 2005 television diversity report card.
The Pew Hispanic Center today released a fact sheet on Cubans in the United States. It includes the key characteristics of the population as well as results from opinion surveys conducted by the Center that shed light on attitudes held by Cubans. The analysis is based on the 2004 American Community Survey (ACS), a nationwide survey conducted monthly by the Census Bureau. The 2004 ACS public use micro sample included 4,622 respondents of Cuban origin (2,812 foreign born and 1,810 native born).The fact sheet is entitled "Cubans in the United States" and can be accessed on the Center's website, www.pewhispanic.org. The Pew Hispanic Center, a nonpartisan research organization, is a project of the Pew Research Center and is funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts. Click here for the fact sheet.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Today marks the first day of the annual border governor's conference, which is being held in Austin, Texas. Since 1980, the conference has provided an annual forum for governors from both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border to discuss shared issues. Governors from Texas, California, New Mexico, Arizona, Chihuahua, Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, Sonora, Baja California and Coahuila will attend the two-day conference.
Unsurprisingly, the highlighted theme of this year's conference is "border security" - DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff is scheduled to attend - although economic issues are also scheduled to be discussed. The El Paso Times promises updates on the conference. The Austin American Statesman reports that the event has already drawn protests -- some of them seemingly aimed at California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, but, the Statesman reports, also including demonstrations against proposals to build border fences and make felons of people in the country illegally.
Ruben Navarrette, syndicated columnist, has a special on the CNN website thatr synthezies his views on immigration.
Some longtime readers insist they have detected a leftward drift whenever I write about illegal immigration. They're wrong. But I can see how they might get that impression in a political climate that is increasingly all or nothing, with little room for nuance.
Click here for the full commentary.
Navarette is an interesting character. A graduate of Harvard (and author of the book A Darker Shade of Crimson), he endorses the calls for immigrants to learn English (and thus assimlate) but also criticizes the "close the borders" restrictionists.
Philip Hu fled Shanghai as a child after the communists took over China in 1949. After growing up in Taiwan, he went to UC Berkeley and eventually became a Silicon Valley tech executive. But he and his wife, Tanlie Chao, 55, have sold their house in San Jose and plan to retire to Shanghai in September, part of a reverse migration that reflects a turnabout among Chinese emigres. "I've been living here and speak the language," said Hu, 60. "But inside I'm very Chinese." For more on the growing reverse migration to China, click here.
More generally, one gap in the data about immigration is how many migrants in fact return to their native lands. Many immigrants come to the United States only to return home for a variety of reasons.
Hector Vega is co-valedictorian of James Lick High School in East San Jose, winner of a $20,000 National Merit Scholarship and an entering freshman on a full scholarship at Santa Clara University. He didn't speak a word of English five years ago when he arrived from Mexico, but he mastered the language in a year, advanced to honors classes and graduated from high school with a 4.0 grade-point average. Vega is also an illegal immigrant. Tall, soft-spoken and confident, Hector Vega, 19, is making a risky -- some say courageous -- choice in sharing his story and declaring publicly, ``Soy ilegal.'' In the divisive national debate about immigration reform, the young man from East San Jose is offering a rarely heard personal and public voice, representative of the predicament of thousands of children who were brought here by undocumented parents. Among the 12 million illegal immigrants living in the United States, each year about 65,000 undocumented children graduate from U.S. schools, unable to work legally, or qualify for federal school loans and grants. ``I speak on behalf of many that come here in the quest for a better life,'' he said in a valedictory that moved students, parents and teachers to tears. ``I am, like many others out there who never give up their hopes, an immigrant. . . . '' The controversial DREAM Act, a provision in the U.S. Senate-approved immigration reform bill, would give legal status to students like Vega.
Click here for the full story.
From: Scialabba, Lori (EOIR)
Sent: Wednesday, August 23, 2006 4:20 PM To: All of BIA (EOIR)
Subject: My departure
Dear Board Staff, It is with very mixed emotions that I announce my departure from the Board of Immigration Appeals. I have been named Director of International Operations at the Department of Homeland Security, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, effective October 1, 2006. While I am excited to take on this new role, I am sad to be leaving so many good friends and colleagues. As you know, the Board has undergone a massive transformation during my tenure here. We have changed the way we adjudicate cases, we eliminated a large backlog of appeals, and we did it under time constraints that were more than ambitious. I am very proud of all we have accomplished over the past few years and firmly believe it was possible only because of your intelligence and hard work. You have my deep appreciation and respect for the dedication you have shown to the Board as an institution. There will always be new challenges to face and adjustments to make as we entertain cases under the ever-changing immigration laws we are responsible for administering, but I have every confidence that you will meet each challenge and continue to provide instructive, fair, and timely decisions. I will always consider the honor of having been the Chairman of the Board to be one of the highlights of my professional career. It has been a pleasure to work with you and I will miss you more than I can say. Lori
Cato Unbound has a an essay by Richard Rodriguez (click here to read). One of the responses to the essay is from demographer Douglas Massey, who writes in part that:
Mexican immigration is not a tidal wave. The rate of undocumented migration has not increased in over two decades. Neither is Mexico a demographic time bomb; its fertility rate is only slightly above replacement. Although a variety of trans-border population movements have increased, this is to be expected in a North American economy that is increasingly integrated under the terms of a mutually-ratified trade agreement. Undocumented migration stems from the unwillingness of the United States to include labor within the broader framework governing trade and investment. Rates of migration between Mexico and the United States are entirely normal for two countries so closely integrated economically. Mexico is not impoverished or disorganized. It is a dynamic, one trillion dollar economy and, along with Canada, our largest trading partner. Its per capita income is $10,000, which puts it at the upper tier of middle income countries, not far behind Russia’s per capita income of $11,000. Compared with Russia, however, Mexico has a much better developed infrastructure of highways, ports, railroads, telecommunications, and social services that give it a poverty rate of 18% rather than 40%, as well as a male life expectancy of 73 years rather than 61 years (U.S. figures are 12% and 75 years, respectively). Unlike Russia, moreover, Mexico is a functioning democracy with open and competitive elections, a separation of powers, and a well-defined party system. In keeping with these realities, Mexicans are not desperate to settle north of the border. Most migrants are not fleeing poverty so much as seeking social mobility. They typically have a job and income in Mexico and are seeking to finance some economic goal at home—acquiring a home, purchasing land, capitalizing a business, investing in education, smoothing consumption. Left to themselves, the vast majority of migrants will return once they have met their economic goals. From 1965 to 1985, 85% of undocumented entries from Mexico were offset by departures and the net increase in the undocumented population was small. The build-up of enforcement resources at the border has not decreased the entry of migrants so much as discouraged their return home. Since the late 1980s the rate of undocumented out-migration has been halved. Undocumented population growth in the United States stems not from rising in-migration, but from falling out-migration.
For the rest of Massey's essay, click here.
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
This press release is from www.quorumreport.com, a site devoted to Texas politics:
In a rare convergence on policy, Bill Hammond of the Texas Association of Business joined with representatives of the Mexican-American Legislative Caucus (MALC) of the Texas House of Representatives today to call on Congress to move forward on comprehensive immigration reform. Hammond initiated discussions with MALC after Rafael Anchia (D-Dallas) successfully added a provision to the new margins tax prohibiting employers from including undocumented or illegal workers in their payroll calculations when figuring their tax liability. The margins tax is based on a percentage of gross revenues minus either payroll or cost of goods sold. While TAB and MALC outlined fifteen core principles of agreement, three core themes emerged: secure borders, a legal avenue for foreign nationals to enter the country to work and an easy and reliable verification system for employers. MALC Chair Pete Gallego (D-Alpine) criticized recent Congressional hearings as "choreographed to stir up passions. We expect more out of our leaders," he said. He pointed out that business currently needs over 500,000 low-skill workers but federal law permits a total of only 5,000 legal visas.
President Bush is on the same wave length,
In an interview last week, civil rights leader and former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young was asked whether he was concerned that Wal-Mart causes smaller mom-and-pop stores to close.
"Well, I think they should; they ran the 'mom and pop' stores out of my neighbourhood," the paper quoted Young as saying.
"But you see, those are the people who have been overcharging us, selling us stale bread and bad meat, and wilted vegetables. And they sold out and moved to Florida. I think they've ripped off our communities enough. First it was Jews, then it was Koreans and now it's Arabs; very few black people own these stores."
who has apologised for the remarks, said he decided to end his
involvement with Working Families for Wal-Mart after he started getting
criticism and calls about the story. Click here.
Guttenplan, Marra. Note. Granting asylum to persecuted Afghan Western Women. 12 Cardozo J.L. & Gender 291-420 (2005).
Kleinert, Tiffany Walters. Comment. Local and state enforcement of immigration law: an equal protection analysis. 55 DePaul L. Rev. 1103- 1136 (2006).
Lopez, Maria Pabon. The intersection of immigration law and civil right law: noncitizen workers and the international human rights paradigm. 44 Brandeis L.J. 611-635 (2006).
Shreyer, Amanda E. Note. Human smuggling across the U.S.-Mexico border: U.S. laws are not stopping it. 39 Suffolk U.L. Rev. 795-815 (2006).
Trucios-Haynes, Enid. Civil rights, Latinos, and immigration: cybercascades and other distortions in the immigration reform debate. 44 Brandeis L.J. 637-653 (2006).
In the wake of a recent Yuma Border Patrol high speed chase that resulted in the deaths of 10 migrants, including a young child, and injury of eleven others, border human rights groups from California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas today joined in a letter to DHS Secretary Chertoff, Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Ralph Basham, and Border Patrol Chief David Aguilar, asking that the Border Patrol suspend high speed chases pending a review and updating of Border Patrol hot pursuit policies. The Border Human Rights Working Group was formed at a July 12 meeting in Tucson of the major organizations in the four states along the US-Mexico border involved in border violence work. The Border Human Rights Working Group also joined a request addressed to the Border Patrol for copies of all documents relating to the Yuma chase and crash and all policies and training materials regarding high speed chases. The Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law will seek U visas for surviving victims who assist law enforcement to prosecute the driver. These visas for victims of violent crimes were made possible by a law enacted by Congress six years, but the DHS has yet to issue an application form, visa regulations, or approve a single U visa. A copy of the to DHS Secretary Chertoff, et al. is Download yumacrash_letter
On a misty, moonless night, the group scurried down the canyon wall, their feet slipping in the ankle-high mud. The sirens grew louder as their guide, clad in a ski mask and known only as Poncho, urged them to run faster. "Hurry up! The Border Patrol is coming!" A couple in matching designer tennis outfits loped awkwardly along, the boyfriend clutching a digital video camera and struggling to keep the pop-out screen steady. The 20 or so people fleeing the fictional Border Patrol weren't undocumented immigrants; they were tourists about 700 miles from the border. Most are well-heeled professionals more likely to travel to the United States in an airplane than on foot. They've each paid 150 pesos — about $15 — for what is perhaps Mexico's strangest tourist attraction: a night as an illegal immigrant crossing the Rio Grande. Advertising for the mock journey, which takes place at a nature park in the central state of Hidalgo, tells the pretend immigrants to "Make fun of the Border Patrol!" and to "Cross the Border as an Extreme Sport!" As craven as the advertising sounds, the organizers say they are trying to build empathy for migrants by putting people in their shoes. Click here for the full story. thanks to Texas correspondent Cappy White for the scoop!