September 2, 2006
Immigration Reform Before November?
After a summer filled with no fewer than 20 congressional immigration hearings, blustery news conferences on border enforcement and other election-year artifacts, the immigration reform process is likely to remain silly — that is, effectively dormant — until November. Not even marches for immigration reform, scheduled today for Los Angeles and other cities, are likely to change that. Click here.
September 1, 2006
More Critique of Long Island Sanctions Proposal
A coalition of immigrant advocates and civil liberties activists yesterday said a proposed Suffolk County law aimed at contractors who hire undocumented immigrants will inflame racial tensions and isn't needed because the federal government already has a similar law on the books.
"This bill is bad for Suffolk because it will stir up racial tension, increase red tape for non-profits and charities, and add increased taxpayer costs to the county," said Jim McAsey of a Farmingdale-based workers' rights group called Jobs With Justice at a news conference called by advocacy groups to denounce the proposed law. Click here.
Labor Day Immigrant March
Texas GOP Immigration Politics
Houston businessman Norman Adams is a member of the committee that writes the Texas Republican Party's platform. He is outspoken against undocumented immigrants, and he would like the Federal Communications Commission to set a deadline for all radio and television stations to be required to broadcast in English. Yet, he's been criticized both other Republicans for being too soft on immigration! Click here.
Impact of Mexican Presidential Election on U.S. Immigration Policy
Read Susan Gzesh's insightful analysis of the implications of Mexico's presidential election on U.S. immigration policy. Here is the punchline:
Whether Calderon or Lopez-Obrador becomes president of Mexico later this year, US policymakers, immigration advocates, and immigration restrictionists will need to pay attention to the economic, political, and social realities of Mexico. A president that has no strong mandate — a stark contrast to the strong presidencies of the past — and divided Mexican Congress will face real challenges to produce coherent policy initiatives aimed at reducing migration. Activity at the state level in both countries, where the impact of Mexican migration is felt most strongly, will continue despite inaction at the national level — with immigrant integration controversies in US states and debates over economic development in Mexican states. Current cross-border discussions between Mexican and US scholars, legislators, businesspeople, labor unions, and community leaders may help both national governments realize that a migration policy that recognizes the economic, political, and social integration of the two countries is increasingly necessary. As one Mexican government official has put it, "We're not going away."
For the entire commentary, click here.
Immigrants in the Military
From FP: A Blog by the Editors of Foreign Policy:
The latest Congressional hearing on immigration reform was chaired yesterday by U.S. Sen. Wayne Allard, a Republican from Colorado. Allard spent a bunch of taxpayer money staging a "field hearing" of the Senate Budget Committee in Aurora, Colorado. The topic? Ironically, the "cost" of illegal immigration. No senator on the committee other than Allard bothered to turn up. I've got an idea for Sen. Allard's the next Congressional hearing on the virtues and dangers of immigration. Call Gen. John Abizaid, the top U.S. commander in the Middle East, to testify. Ask him if he could fight the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan without the 33,000 non-U.S. citizens currently serving in the military. After all, it is Hispanic soldiers who, according to research by demographers at the University of Pennsylvania, are doing a disproportionately high percentage of the dying in Iraq.
Click here to see more.
The Underbelly blog has a nice follow-up:
Fine as far as it goes, but if he wants to understand the American military as a rainbow coalition, he might look at the resumes of the generals themselves. Just as a quick review, consider: retired Gen. John Shalikashvili, former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff (Georgian/Polish—came to Peoria IL when he was 16); the present chairman, General Peter Pace (“born in … to Italian-American parents”) General Anthony Zinni (“the son of Italian immigrants); General Eric Shinseki (“the first Asian-American four-star general"), Manila-born Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba (a Filipino whose father endured the Bataan death march); Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. , (the “highest-ranking Hispanic” in the military). And, of course, Gen. John (“the mad Arab”) Abizaid himself. Afterthought.: What’s so surprising here? It’s natural to find the military as an unlocked door on the pathway to upward mobility.
August 31, 2006
Canada to Arm its Border
CNN Is reporting that Canada will arm its border guards starting in 2007, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Thursday. Canada has unarmed guards along its 4,000-mile (6,435-kilometer) border with the United States, but Canada's will now be armed, as their U.S. counterparts are. The government plans to arm and train its 4,500 border agents over the next 10 years. Harper said some will be armed starting in September 2007 and about 150 will receive guns by the end of March 2008. For the full story, click here.
Labor Conditions in New Orleans after Katrina
For a fascinating report on the labor conditions in New Orleans in the rebuilding of New Orleans, click here. The report includes discussion and analysis of the exploitation of immigrant workers.
Good Press from the Blogosphere
Check out http://www.lokman.nu/?p=221 to see an interesting international reference to this blog
Speaking of refugees, some of you may know I have a long standing interest in issues like the flow of people, and in particular the constraints on this flow, such as immigration laws. I thus wanted to introduce you to a second blog, ImmigrationProf Blog, (the title says it all) run by professor Kevin Johnson, Bill Hing and Jennifer Chacon, all professors at UC Davis. They do people like me a great service in keeping track of the recent developments in immigration law (focusing on the US mostly) and providing thoughtful comments.
Colorado Immigration Debate
A Senate committee hearing on immigration, headed by Colorado Republican Wayne Allard, triggered a debate even before it got started Wednesday when critics questioned the purpose and the list of invited witnesses.
Allard, a member of the Senate Budget Committee, said he wants Colorado to have a voice in the immigration debate and wants to pin down how legislation pending in Congress will affect state and local budgets and personnel.
Critics, including Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo., derided the hearing as nothing more than election-year politics because the Senate passed comprehensive immigration reform in May after months of debate and hearings. Click here.
New Rallies Begin in Chicago
After four months of relative quiet, immigration reform advocates are mobilizing a new round of protests in Washington and other cities to put pressure on a returning Congress and reinvigorate a Latino movement that awakened in massive demonstrations this spring.
The events will begin tomorrow in Chicago, where demonstrators plan to set out on a four-day march to the district offices of House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R) in Batavia, Ill., and will continue with one-day rallies throughout next week in Phoenix, Washington and Los Angeles. Click here.
The Forgotten Detainee
JOANNE MARINER has en excellent story on findlaw.com on Ali Saleh al-Marri, a citizen of Qatar held since mid-2003 as an "enemy combatant" in the United States. Al-Marri has largely been treated as an afterthought. Even as editorial boards waxed indignant over the indefinite detention of American citizens Yaser Hamdi and Jose Padilla, few seemed to notice the like situation of al-Marri. But now that the two others have been released from military custody - Hamdi to return to Saudi Arabia, and Padilla to face criminal prosecution on terrorism charges - al-Marri's circumstances warrant greater scrutiny. As his habeas corpus claim works its way up through the courts, some very basic constitutional rights questions are being decided. Click here for the full commentary.
Good news regarding the Center for Social Justice at Seton Hall Law School
Professors Baher Azmy, and his clinical students, have spent the past two years immersed in a multifaceted campaign to free Marat Kurnaz, a German resident of Turkish descent who has been detained at Guantanamo Bay for nearly five years. After years of litigation, international media campaigns, collaboration with attorneys in the U.S., Germany, and elsewhere, advocacy with countless government officials, and travel to Guantanamo, Turkey, and Germany, the United States government finally released Mr. Kurnaz. In the words of Professor Azmy, "the U.S. government has repeatedly said Guantanamo houses only terrorists and people from the battlefields--the worst of the worst. We know that this claim is not only an exaggeration, but a lie, and Murat Kurnaz's case proves this." Congratulations to Professor Baher Azmy and his students for years of groundbreaking and tireless work to advance the rule of law and shed light on the U.S.'s unlawful imprisonment of his client at Guantanamo. Click here and here for recent articles about this case. Lori Nessel, Professor of Law, Dean's Fellow and Director, Center for Social Justice, at Seton Hall also deserves kudos.
August 30, 2006
More Narrowing of "Purely Political Offense" Exception For Excludable Crimes -- Another Irish Case
Matter of O'Cealleagh, 23 I&N Dec. 976 (BIA 2006) Interim Decision # 3538 (1) In order for an offense to qualify for the “purely political offense” exception to the ground of inadmissibility under section 212(a)(2)(A)(i)(I) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(2)(A)(i)(I) (2000), based on an alien’s conviction for a crime involving moral turpitude, the offense must be completely or totally “political.” (2) The respondent is inadmissible where he properly conceded that his offense, substantively regarded, was not “purely political,” and where there was substantial evidence that the offense was not fabricated or trumped-up and therefore did not qualify from a procedural perspective as a “purely political offense,” because the circumstances surrounding his conviction in Northern Ireland for aiding and abetting the murder of two British corporals reflected a sincere effort to prosecute real lawbreakers. Click here for the full opinion.
Business Wants Unlimited Immigration from new EU States
The leaders of Britain's biggest businesses employing millions of people have called on the Government to allow unlimited immigration from Bulgaria and Romania when the two former Eastern Bloc states join the European Union next year.
They said any break in the "open door" policy that has seen hundreds of thousands of migrants from Poland and other eastern European countries come to Britain would be a major mistake. The business leaders have put their names to a statement issued by the Business for New Europe Group (BNEG), a pressure group calling for further integration. Click here.
August 29, 2006
Indiana's Mike Pence and Immigration Reform
Today's NY Times profiles Representative Mike Pence. A conservative (politically and socially) on virtually every issue from his support for massive tax cuts to his opposition to stem cell research, Mr. Pence has made enemies through his apparent moderation on one issue: immigration. Pence is one of the important movers behind a potential compromise approach in the US House of Reps, which earlier voted for an enforcement-only immigration bill that is inconsistent with the Senate's legalization-and-enforcement plan. Pence's proposal would contain numerous provisions to increase immigration retrictions and border enforcement and would also require undocumented migrants to return home, but would allow many of them to return quickly. It's not exactly a radical proposition. But you can't tell that from the sniping that it has inspired.
Jason DeParle of the Times writes:
Phyllis Schlafly of the Eagle Forum called his plan “a sick joke.” Richard A. Viguerie, the direct-mail pioneer, threatened to punish politicians who supported it. Pat Buchanan, editor of The American Conservative, likened the betrayal to a scene from “The Godfather.”
Still, he's sticking to his guns, inspired, he says, by his Irish immigrant grandfather. The full story is here.
New Immigration Articles
Bekiares, Jeffrey A. Note. In country, on parole, out of luck-- regulating away alien eligibility for adjustment of status contrary to congressional intent and sound immigration policy. (Succar v. Ashcroft, 394 F.3d 8, 1st Cir. 2005.) 58 Fla. L. Rev. 713-741 (2006).
Cummings, Scott L. and Ingrid V. Eagly. After public interest law. (Reviewing Jennifer Gordon, Suburban Sweatshops: The Fight for Immigrant Rights.) 100 Nw. U. L. Rev. 1251-1293 (2006).
Gutner, Rebecca H. Note. A neglected alternative: toward a workable standard for implementing humanitarian asylum. 39 Colum. J.L. & Soc. Probs. 413-450 (2006).
Problematic Immigration Campaign Ads
An ad criticizing Stephen Laffey, who is
challenging incumbent Sen. Lincoln Chafee for the Republican nomination
in Rhode Island, set off grumbling in the Latino community. The ad
criticized Laffey, mayor of Cranston, for allowing city police to
accept ID cards issued by the Mexican government as identification. Chafee's
spokesman had no comment about the ad. Laffey's campaign called it an
insensitive attack on the mayor's attempt to empathize with"people who
struggle and who try to make a better life for themselves." Click here. bh
An ad criticizing Stephen Laffey, who is challenging incumbent Sen. Lincoln Chafee for the Republican nomination in Rhode Island, set off grumbling in the Latino community. The ad criticized Laffey, mayor of Cranston, for allowing city police to accept ID cards issued by the Mexican government as identification.
Chafee's spokesman had no comment about the ad. Laffey's campaign called it an insensitive attack on the mayor's attempt to empathize with"people who struggle and who try to make a better life for themselves." Click here.
In Defense of Racial Profiling
Jonah Goldberg editor at large of National Review Online defends racial profiling in the name of national security in an op/ed in the Chicago Tribune:
The Wall Street Journal reported this week that the Transportation Security Administration is testing sophisticated machines that use elaborate algorithms to determine whether air travelers have "hostile intent." The machines measure your sweat output, pulse rate and other signs while asking questions such as: "Are you planning to immigrate illegally?" "Are you smuggling drugs?" "Do these stupid questions make you feel like committing a terrorist act?" OK, I made the last one up, and I shouldn't make fun because supposedly the Israelis have figured out how to make this stuff work. The thinking behind this program rests on the assumption that searching for every kind of potential weapon or explosive is too reactive. Find the bad motives, and the rest will follow. If it works, great. But one of the frustrating reasons the U.S. government feels compelled to spend all of this time and energy coming up with computerized lie detectors is that civil libertarians can't trust airport security personnel to do the same thing. Why? Because it's possible for humans to be racist. The TSA's more established security system, Screening Passengers by Observation Technique, or SPOT, relies on human intelligence instead of the artificial kind. Teams are trained to scrutinize passengers for more than 30 questionable behaviors, according to the Journal: "They look for obvious things like someone wearing a heavy coat on a hot day, but also for subtle signs like vocal timbre, gestures and tiny facial movements that indicate someone is trying to disguise an emotion." This apparently is unacceptable for civil libertarians. "Our concern is that giving TSA screeners this kind of responsibility and discretion can result in their making decisions not based on solid criteria but on impermissible characteristics such as race," the American Civil Liberties Union's Gregory T. Nojeim told the Journal. In other words, while our enemies are coming up with ingenious ways to murder Americans, we're coming up with ingenious ways to search for our enemies in the nicest manner possible. No amount of training, it seems, can immunize against the real threat to America: the possibility that somewhere, at some time, a TSA cop might pull an Arab or South Asian out of a line at an airport unfairly and talk to them for five minutes.
Click here for the rest. Most of the national policies adopted in the name of national security after September 11 have elements of racial and religious profiling. Special registration and Operation Absconder are just two examples. Do you feel safer today?
August 28, 2006
Legal Status Illusory for Many
At least some of the people who favor felony status for undocumented migrants do so because they assume that these individuals are flouting the law rather than taking advantage of opportunities to apply for legal status. A story in today's LA Times provides a reminder that for many people -- including the parents of citizen children who have lived in the US for very long periods of time -- obtaining legal status is illusory. Indeed, the process of applying for legal status sometimes puts people on the road to removal. The story by Ann Gorman begins:
Mercedalia Diaz was tired of being an illegal immigrant, living in fear of arrest and separation from her young son. So she filed an application to work legally in the United States — in effect, turning herself in.
After a permit was denied, Diaz landed here, in U.S. Immigration Court in Los Angeles, nervously fielding questions from a federal judge: If you don't get permanent residency, would you agree to leave the U.S. voluntarily? Do you promise not to return without a visa? What would you do with your son?
The full story is here.