September 9, 2006
Pennsylvania Town Acts Again
The Hazelton City Council gave tentative approval Friday to an overhaul of an anti-undocumented immigration law considered to be one of the nation's toughest, hoping to put the measure on sounder legal footing.
Like the version it will replace if granted final approval Tuesday, the new ordinance punishes businesses that employ illegal immigrants and landlords who rent to them.
The revisions, however, remove much of the burden that had been placed on businesses. They soften penalties, give landlords and businesses time to correct violations and leaving it to city officials to verify workers' immigration status with the federal government.
Since the council adopted the original law in July, many municipalities around the nation have approved or considered similar measures.
Last week, the city of 31,000 residents agreed not to enforce the original law after the American Civil Liberties Union and Hispanic groups sued in federal court to overturn it. In return, the plaintiffs agreed not to seek an injunction against the city. Click here.
Frist Says No Reform Now
Congress will not address major immigration revisions before the Nov. 7 election, the Senate's top Republican said yesterday, but he and his allies hope to limit political damage to their party by telling voters they have poured millions of dollars into one component of the controversy: tightening the border with Mexico.
Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) acknowledged that a broad-based immigration bill, backed by President Bush and passed by the Senate, is dead for now. But Republican leaders have added money for border fences and patrol agents to recent spending measures dealing with the Pentagon and homeland security. Frist said he thinks that step may lessen public anger over the porous border and the estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants in the country. Click here.
September 8, 2006
Articles from Immigration Daily
Immigration Daily (www.ilw.com) ran two intersting articles today:
1. Five Years After 9/11 - Hype And Hope
During the Battle of the Bulge, when German divisions had broken through Allied lines, and the battle front was ill-defined, there were wild rumors that some German soldiers in American uniforms would try to infiltrate into key Allied locations to sabotage and kill. As a result, and without orders, security was tightened up throughout the war zone, by American units setting up informal check-points where all passing through were stopped and questioned. Caught in this large dragnet were a number of senior American commanders who could not convince their GI captors that they were who they said they were. One of those caught was Omar Bradley, the second-highest ranking American general in Europe. He was harrangued by his GI captors, since he could not remember the names of the players in a particular baseball team that they queried him about. No German infiltrator was caught in this large informal dragnet that lasted several days. In the 5 years after 9/11, what has happened in the US resembles the above, except on a much larger scale, and in being formal instead of informal. The TSA routinely harrasses Americans at airports across the country - we are not aware of a single al-Qaeda terrorist that the TSA claims to have arrested as a result of screening, or a single terrorist incident averted by screening passengers. To be sure, our country has done many things to diminish the al-Qaeda threat - the invasion of their Afghanistan sanctuary, the cooperation with foreign intelligence agencies leading to the capture of many senior al-Qaeda leaders, the infiltration into al-Qaeda's networks by British intelligence which averted the British attacks recently, etc - but what we have done domestically is simply to institutionalize federal harrassment of travellers on a large scale.
Click here for the full story. Isn't this exactly right? Do you/we feel safer today now that we cannot carry tooth paste on airplanes?
2. The Growth And Reach Of Immigration: New Census Bureau Data Underscore Importance Of Immigrants In The US Labor Force
New data from the 2005 American Community Survey (ACS), released by the Census Bureau on August 15, 2006, 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. The foreign-born population includes legal immigrants who come here on permanent and temporary visas for work, study, and family reunification, as well as an estimated 11.5 million undocumented immigrants who come for the same reasons but are generally precluded from obtaining visas by shortcomings in the U.S. immigration system.
Click here for the entire story. CBS ran a news story last night about farmers allowing crops to rot because of the inability to find workers. What would happen to our economy without immigrant labor? Shouldn't we reward and fairly treat workers who are so valuable to our economy -- not punish them?
1925 JAMES DEANDA 2006 RIP
Former U.S. District Judge James deAnda, who played a crucial role in a little-known, but pivotal 1954 case that recognized Hispanics as a protected class of people, died Thursday at his summer home in Traverse City, Mich., of prostate cancer. The Houston native was 81. DeAnda was the last surviving member of a legal team of four Hispanic attorneys behind the case, Hernandez v. Texas, which overturned an all-white jury's murder conviction of a southeast Texas man. On appeal, the Supreme Court ruled that Hispanics were a separate group deserving of the same constitutional protections as other minorities. "He is our Thurgood Marshall in many respects," said Michael Olivas, a University of Houston Law Center professor and longtime friend, referring to the first black Supreme Court justice, who also played a key role in doing away with racial segregation. DeAnda went on to fight segregation of Hispanics within Texas' schools and later became the second Hispanic federal judge in the U.S. He also served as a chief federal judge. In the Hernandez case, deAnda and his law partner John J. Herrera showed that Hispanics were essentially barred in Jackson County from serving as jurors despite making up 16 percent of the population at the time. The attorneys found that no Hispanic had ever served on any jury in a quarter of a century there. They noted in their case that minorities were forced to use segregated bathrooms in the same courthouse where the state argued Hispanics were classified as white. Bathrooms for Hispanics and blacks were in the basement, which bore the sign "Colored Men and Hombres Aqui," said Olivas, whose book about the case was recently published.
Click here for the full story.
Moving Beyond Secret Prisons
For an excellent commentary entitled "Moving beyond secret prisons" by my law school classmate Ben Davis, click here. It begins like this:
As the President has now made his long awaited admission that there have been secret CIA prisons around the world in which individuals have been held in prolonged, secret incommunicado detention in clear violation of international law (see ASIL Centennial Resolution), one has a sense of relief that the coverup is lifting and the truth at least in part has finally started to come out. In due course I am certain we will learn that the “tough” interrogation techniques admittedly used in these secret detention facilities violated Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions. Thus, if one was somehow still in denial, one must come to terms with the dawning realization through these admissions that violations of international humanitarian law and war crimes have been committed by the United States that were authorized by the highest levels of civilian authority of the United States.
Ben goes on to suggest that:
Might I suggest that Congress start by rejecting the Bush Administration’s Military Commission legislation which is a thinly veiled effort to amnesty actions that were done in the 2001-2006 period. Second, Congress should take its lead from the Military JAG Officers testimony this summer in fashioning a set of military commissions that start from the Uniform Code of Military Justice. We should not go off half-cocked but rather draw on the history and experience under that Code to fashion an adequate procedure that meets the strictures of our statutory and international law obligations as Hamdan has reminded all again. Third, Congress should simply refrain from any measures which would have the effect of amnestying or reducing the criminal and/or civil liability of those who authorized or engaged over the past years in the departures from civilized standards that are coming to light. The full extent of those departures (extraordinary renditions, torture and cruel inhuman and degrading treatment etc) from civilized standards are still far too unknown and merit serious examination and, as warranted, prosecution. The operative rule should be that the only salvation for those seeking to escape criminal and/or civil liability for their actions should be the Presidential pardon – not Congressional cravenness.
Turnout in DC Disappointing
A pro-immigration rally that promised to bring tens of thousands of marchers from across the nation to Washington yesterday managed to draw a relatively small number of demonstrators, raising questions about the movement's tactics and staying power.
With fewer than 5,000 people attending, organizers from other localities expressed two worries about the turnout: that they were losing the momentum built up by the huge marches in the spring, and that the movement's national organizers in Washington have lost touch with the people. Click here.
A New House Bill?
House Republicans, who have campaigned hard against undocumented immigration with few legislative accomplishments to show for it, announced Thursday they would try to cobble together a package of border crackdown measures before their recess next month.
House Speaker Dennis Hastert said he would convene an unusual forum
Wednesday in which Republican committee chairmen would report their findings
from immigration hearings held around the country this summer and suggest
proposals such as the creation of voter identification cards that the House
would try to pass before Congress adjourns. Click here.
September 7, 2006
On Immigrant Assimilation
This is an interesting paper that is very relevant to the claim a la Peter Brimelow and Samuel Huntington that "today's [Mexican] immigrants fail to assimilate":
ABSTRACT: Whether and how quickly immigrants assimilate into the U.S. labor market is an issue of great policy importance and controversy. Using newly-available data from the New Immigrant Survey 2003, this paper shows that new lawful immigrants to the U.S. who have lighter skin color and are taller have higher earnings, controlling for extensive labor market and immigration status information, as well as for education, English language proficiency, ethnicity, race, and country of birth. The findings of this paper are consistent with discrimination against new immigrants on the basis of skin color.
Reid Calls for Reform Now
As thousands gathered today in the nation's capital calling for Congress to enact comprehensive immigration reform, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid issued the following statement:
"Today, as thousands of people gather in front of the U.S. Capitol to urge comprehensive immigration reform, I join them in calling upon Congressional Republicans to stop the offensive immigrant-bashing they've engaged in all summer through sham hearings that have wasted hundreds of thousands of tax-payer dollars. I join them in calling upon Congressional Republicans instead to finally work toward a meaningful bill that strengthens our security and brings hardworking immigrants out of the shadows, allowing them to get on a pathway to citizenship. Without the kind of fair, practical, and workable reform that the Senate passed, there can be no real border security.
"Unfortunately, recent press reports indicate that Republican Congressional leaders have no intention of getting down to work and fixing our broken immigration system. The bottom line is that if President Bush does not rein in the radical anti-immigrant right wing of his party, there will be no comprehensive reform. It is time to stop playing with our national security and start working for the American people. It is time for a new direction."
Texas Governor Rick Perry on Immigration, National Security, and Getting Re-Elected
Check out a video of one of Texas Governor Rick Perry's campaign ads on immigration by clicking here. Although critical of the federal government's border enforcement efforts, perry does not mention former texas Governor Bush.
Thanks to Cappy White for this tip.
September 6, 2006
Judge for Yourself: Is this Lou Dobbs' Rant Legitimate News Commentary?
Check out Lou Dobb's lastest rant on comprehensive immigration reform by clicking here. Rumor is that some unnamed CNN staff are disgusted that CNN runs this stuff as bona fide news commentary.
The good news for CNN (but not immigrants): Dobbs has good ratings.
For another anti-immigrant rant, check out Patrick J. Buchanan, State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America (2006). Nothing new in the Buchanan book. Samuel Huntington and Peter Brimelow have said the same in recent years. Madison Grant made the same arguments a few generations ago.
Charges Dropped Against Border Aid Workers
In a late afternoon ruling on Friday, September 1st U.S. District Judge Raner C. Collins dismissed all charges against Shanti Sellz and Daniel Strauss, two volunteers with the Tucson-based humanitarian group No More Deaths. Sellz and Strauss were arrested July 9th, 2005 while medically evacuating three sick migrants from the Arizona desert. The men were found several miles north of the U.S. / Mexico boundary, severely dehydrated and unable to hold down water.
Volunteer doctors instructed Sellz and Strauss to bring the men to a Tucson clinic after it was determined that the level of care they needed was more advanced than what could be administered in the field. At the time of their arrest, the two humanitarian volunteers were following a protocol that had been previously agreed to by the U.S. Border Patrol. In his ruling Judge Collins states that Sellz and Strauss had made reasonable efforts to ensure that their actions were not in violation of the law, and that “further prosecution would violate the Defendant’s [sic] due process rights.” The case against Sellz and Strauss drew national attention, dramatically framing the human cost of U.S. border policy and the complexities of an increasingly politicized region. Click here.
Bush: CIA kept terror suspects in secret prisons
CNN reports that President Bush today acknowledged for the first time that the CIA used secret prisons to hold top suspects captured in the war on terror. Bush said alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is among 14 detainees to be transferred from CIA to Pentagon custody at Guantanamo Bay. Click here for the full story.
Sadly enough, no real surprises here. But when will the secret prisons end? Will they be used in the "war on drugs"? Or other wars of indetrminate duration and uncertain objective?
Minutemen Boycott Miller Beer
Several groups that oppose undocumented immigration, including the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps and 9/11 Families for a Secure America, announced a boycott Tuesday against Miller Brewing Co. for financially supporting a Chicago organization that has organized marches backing undocumented immigrants.
The groups want supporters to stop buying Miller products, divest themselves from company stock and lobby executives.
Miller faced another boycott earlier this year from immigration-reform groups, the opposing side of the debate. In response, the company has provided about $30,000 to the March 10 Committee, the Chicago group that organized marches supporting the legalization of undocumented immigrants. Click here.
I am switching to Miller! :)
Another New Immigration Book
The Citizen and the Alien: Dilemmas of Contemporary Membership by Linda Bosniak Princeton University Press, 2006
Citizenship presents two faces. Within a political community it stands for inclusion and universalism, but to outsiders, citizenship means exclusion. Because these aspects of citizenship appear spatially and jurisdictionally separate, they are usually regarded as complementary. In fact, the inclusionary and exclusionary dimensions of citizenship dramatically collide within the territory of the nation-state, creating multiple contradictions when it comes to the class of people the law calls aliens--transnational migrants with a status short of full citizenship. Examining alienage and alienage law in all of its complexities, The Citizen and the Alien explores the dilemmas of inclusion and exclusion inherent in the practices and institutions of citizenship in liberal democratic societies, especially the United States. In doing so, it offers an important new perspective on the changing meaning of citizenship in a world of highly porous borders and increasing transmigration. As a particular form of noncitizenship, alienage represents a powerful lens through which to examine the meaning of citizenship itself, argues Linda Bosniak. She uses alienage to examine the promises and limits of the "equal citizenship" ideal that animates many constitutional democracies. In the process, she shows how core features of globalization serve to shape the structure of legal and social relationships at the very heart of national societies.
September 5, 2006
New Immigration Books
No one is illegal : fighting racism and state violence on the U.S.-Mexico border / by Justin Akers Chacón and Mike Davis. Haymarket Books, 2006
Seeking refuge : Central American migration to Mexico, the United States, and Canada / María Cristina García. University of California Press, 2006
Guest workers or colonized labor? : Mexican labor migration to the United States / Gilbert G. Gonzalez. Paradigm Publishers, 2006
Why does immigration divide America? : public finance and political opposition to open borders / by Gordon Hanson. Institute for International Economics, 2005
Immigration and crime : race, ethnicity, and violence / edited by Ramiro Martinez Jr. and Abel Valenzuela Jr. New York University Press, 2006
Immigration and criminal law in the European Union : the legal measures and social consequences of criminal law in member states on trafficking and smuggling in human beings / edited by Elspeth Guild and Paul Minderhoud. Martinus Nijhoff, 2006
Migration, diasporas and legal systems in Europe / edited by Prakash Shah and Werner F. Menski. Routledge-Cavendish, 2006
National security and immigration : policy development in the United States and Western Europe since 1945 Stanford University Press, 2006
A nation by design : immigration policy in the fashioning of America / Aristide R. Zolberg.Harvard University Press, 2006
Alberto Gonzales and Immigrant Rights
A few months ago, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said that he did not know if his grandparents came from Mexico to the United States legally or illegally, but that his family’s story is the “American dream.” Click here.
The front page of today's San Francisco Chronicle pictures a different Alberto Gonzales, age 2, who marched proudly with his parents for immigrant rights in yesterday's parade.
Protests, Votes, and Social Change
Today a few stories are running on a theme that the pro-immigrant protests are not translating into more registered Latino voters. Here's one from AP, for example:
Immigration protests that drew hundreds of thousands of flag-waving demonstrators to the nation's streets last spring promised a potent political legacy -- a surge of new Latino voters.
``Today We March, Tomorrow We Vote,'' they proclaimed.
But an Associated Press review of voter-registration figures from San Jose, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Atlanta and other major urban areas that had large rallies found no sign of a new voter boom that could sway elections. There was a rise in Los Angeles, where 500,000 protested in March, but it was more of a trickle than a torrent. Click here.
But is voter registration necessarily the key ingredient to achieving social change?
Call for Papers: Refugees and the End of Empire
One of the most negative legacies of the twentieth century was the development of the refugee, a person who emerged during the inter-War years, as nationalism, fascism and communism gripped the European continent. While scholars have recognized the importance of war and the arrival of intolerant regimes in the construction and expulsion of refugees, less attention has focused upon the consequences of imperial collapse. All of the major Empires (broadly interpreted) which ended during the twentieth century, led to successor states which developed new forms of exclusivist national ideologies which identified, and often expelled, sectors of their populations, which did not possess the right ethnic credentials. This process first manifested itself with the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, where successor states in the Balkans ?exchanged? populations in the era of the First World War, while the newly nationalist rump Turkey eliminated its Armenian and Greek populations. At the same time, the collapse of the Tsarist Empire also led to mass population displacement. At the end of the Second World War, the fall of the Nazi Empire in Eastern Europe resulted in the expulsion of Germans who had lived in Eastern Europe for centuries, while people who found themselves working in Germany either returned home or sometimes lived in refugee camps for years. The end of the British and French colonial Empires was also accompanied by population ?exchanges? and expulsions, especially in the case of India/Pakistan and Algeria, but also in smaller colonies such as Cyprus. In the case of the last of these, refugees emerged over a decade after British retreat. Finally, the end of the Soviet Union and the emergence of successor states with nationalist ideologies led to the creation of new outgroups. The purpose of the conference is to examine the relationship between imperial collapse, the emergence of successor nationalism, the exclusion of ethnic groups with the wrong credentials, and the refugee experience. The conference organizers welcome proposals which look at these themes in all of the major cases of twentieth century imperial collapse. Themes of particular interest include: the role of empire in creating distinct ethnic populations; the emergence of exclusivist nationalist ideologies and their views of minorities; the attitude and role of successor states in the creation of refugees; and the refugee experience. Proposals Please send abstracts of around 250 words to Panikos Panayi or Pippa Virdee, by 30 November 2006. The organizers hope to offer a small number of subsidised places to doctoral students.
Date and Venue 29-30 June 2007 at De Montfort University, Leicester, UK
Contact Professor Panikos Panayi, School of English, Performance and Historical Studies, De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester LE1 9BH email@example.com
Despite Immigrant Rallies, Reform Appears Dead
Pn Labor Day, spirited groups of immigrant rights supporters rallied in Illinois and Arizona, as well as in a few other cities, in marches intended to keep the drumbeat going for changes in immigration law. In both places, counterdemonstrators heckled from the sidelines and called on the federal government to enforce its border laws. Organizers of a rally in Phoenix, outside Arizona’s copper-domed Capitol, estimated their numbers at 4,000, though the police said the event drew about 1,000 people. In Batavia, a flag-waving crowd, estimated by the police at about 2,500, chanted “Sí, se puede” — “Yes, we can” — and converged on the district office of Speaker J. Dennis Hastert. In a counterrally sponsored by the Chicago Minuteman Project, some 200 men, women and a few children jeered the larger crowd. Neither Mr. Hastert nor his staff was on hand, and he could not be reached for comment. Organizers hoped to pressure Mr. Hastert to push legislation favorable to immigrants through Congress. For a story on the rallies, one of which is pictured below, click here.
But Congress appears to have give up on immigration reform this year. As they prepare for a critical pre-election legislative stretch, Congressional Republican leaders have all but abandoned a broad overhaul of immigration laws and instead will concentrate on national security issues they believe play to their political strength. With Congress reconvening Tuesday after an August break, Republicans in the House and Senate say they will focus on Pentagon and domestic security spending bills, port security legislation and measures that would authorize the administration’s terror surveillance program and create military tribunals to try terror suspects. Click here for more.
What now for those who seek meaningful, and comprehensive, immigration reform?