September 16, 2006
Guards Gone Wild
Guardsmen deployed to border charged in shooting spree
It's hard to improve on this AP piece about three off duty Texas National Guardsmen who drank, drove, and shot. "They gave us a bunch of yahoo military talk," [Chief Deputy Sheriff] Cano said. "We advised them we weren't playing with them. Once they had spent a night (in jail), they changed their attitude." No wonder some are jumpy over "Operation Jump Start," the plan to deploy 6,000 Guardsmen along the southern border. RAY PEDRAZA, reporting for KGBT in Harlingen, gives us a different view of Jump Start's effectiveness: "[F]olks we talked to say they're still crossing illegally even though the price of doing so is now sky high." Posted by Dan Kowalski on http://www.ijjblog.org/2006/09/guardsmen_deployed_to_border_c.html
USCIS Announces Elimination of Naturalization Application Backlog Making a difference, one case at a time
WASHINGTON – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today announced the elimination of the backlog for the N-400 Naturalization Application. Having completed some 342,290 backlogged cases, USCIS average processing times for the N-400 fell from a previous high of 14 months in February 2004, to approximately 5 months today. Overall, the gross backlog of all applications has decreased from a high of 3.5 million in 2004 to just over 1.1 million in July 2006. Of this gross backlog of 1.1 million, 140,000 cases are considered backlogged and under USCIS control as of July 2006. Cases considered to be within USCIS control are defined as those which are ready to be adjudicated. Cases outside our control, and therefore, not counted in the net backlog include: cases that are pending law enforcement security checks, naturalization test retakes, naturalization candidates awaiting scheduling of a judicial ceremony and cases in which an applicant has failed to respond to a request for additional evidence needed to complete the adjudication. While the average processing time for most applications is less than six months, we recognize that some cases remain pending beyond our six month standard. We remain committed to continue to concentrate our efforts on those cases that are outside target cycle times. These positive efforts are reflected in the naturalization of a record 28,000 new Americans during this year’s Citizenship Day and Constitution Week ceremonies and represent ongoing USCIS efforts to meet President Bush’s mandate to process most applications within an average of six months of filing by October 1, 2006. “Our work takes on significance beyond other government benefits. What we do is more than just numbers, applications and forms. The services we provide profoundly affect people’s lives,” said USCIS Director Emilio Gonzalez. “By eliminating the Naturalization backlog, we provide those who aspire to become Americans with an invaluable opportunity to contribute back to our Nation.” The men and women of USCIS process record numbers of cases each month without compromising national security. Everyday, USCIS completes security and background checks on more than 135,000 applicants. Each of the 28,000 new citizens naturalized this week will have undergone this mandatory screening, and USCIS has expanded the range of applicants required to submit fingerprints and other biometrics to reduce immigration and identity fraud.
September 15, 2006
More on Arizona Immigration Politics
Scottsdale Republican Congressman J.D. Hayworth is on the offensive against Democratic challenger Harry Mitchell. Hayworth is linking Mitchell to liberal House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and contends the former Tempe mayor is weak on immigration and border security.
Republicans point to Mitchell's votes as a state senator against a number of state measures aimed at undocumented immigration. Mitchell voted against measures prohibiting local governments from funding or operating day labor centers that cater to undocumented immigrants and barring undocumented immigrants from receiving state child care subsidies and taking adult education classes. Click here.
USCIS Reducing Backlogs
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said on Friday it will meet its goal of reducing the average wait time for immigration services to six months by the end of September. The agency also said the total number of pending cases that exceeded the six-month wait period fell from 3.8 million in January 2004 to 1.1 million in July this year.
Nearly 1 million applications will still be pending at the start of October, said Michael Ayetes, director of USCIS field operations. But the agency considers these outside its control because they are awaiting feedback from other agencies such as the FBI, or information or documents from applicants, Ayetes said.
Three main types of services still face backlogs, Ayetes said. They include relative petitions, in which a U.S. citizen asks for the naturalization of a relative, requests for permanent residence and asylum applications. The offices with the biggest numbers of backlogs are New York, Miami and Atlanta, he added. Click here.
Who Will Harvest Potatoes?
While Washington politicians spar over who has the best election-year border control and immigration plan, Jack Hoopes wonders who will harvest his seed potatoes.
He needs 50 workers for the three-week harvest starting next week. He has just 35, including students who get a week off from school in the Teton Valley, a farming region northeast of Idaho Falls. Hoopes said his Hispanic workers tell him President Bush's plan for 6,000 National Guard troops on America's 1,951-mile southern border and the intensifying spotlight on undocumented immigration have had a chilling effect on Mexicans willing to come north. Click here.
More Money for Building Fences
The House on Thursday easily passed a bill calling for construction of lengthy sections of double-layered fencing along the U.S. border with Mexico, sending the legislation to a Senate that appeared inclined to approve that and other security measures.
The 283-138 vote demonstrated that even as Capitol Hill remained deadlocked over what to do about the millions of undocumented immigrants already in this country, bipartisan support existed for significantly toughening border security, especially as the November election neared. Click here.
September 14, 2006
Call for Papers
The Earl Warren Institute at UC Berkeley is pleased to announce a call for papers addressing the education of undocumented children and the Supreme Court decision in Plyler v. Doe. For the call, click Download plyler_callforpapers.pdf
Naturalization Rates Up
A record number of applications for citizenship in Colorado and Wyoming indicates immigration debates, rallies and other outreach have spurred legal immigrants to apply for naturalization, experts say. Click here for thr full story.
is this the beginning of a trend? After California passed Proposition 187 in 1994, naturalization rates increased. Fear of losing benefits and more anti-immigrant legislation, along with increased political activity, led to the increase.
More Death on the Border: A U.S. General Accountability Office Report
For a GAO report entitled "llegal Immigration: Border-Crossing Deaths Have Doubled Since 1995; Border Patrol's Efforts to Prevent Deaths Have Not Been Fully Evaluated" (Aug. 2006), click here.
Religious Leaders Protest Immigration Raids
Leaders of four different religious faiths spoke out Wednesday near Santa Cruz on behalf of families of scores of immigration violators deported last week as controversy continued over federal immigration sweeps that have netted thousands of people since May. The 107 arrests in near Watsonville, Santa Cruz and Hollister last week were part of a new crackdown on illegal immigration by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Click here for the full article.
New Immigration Articles
Herndon, Joshua J. Broken borders: DeCanas v. Bica, and the standards that govern the validity of state measures designed to deter undocumented immigration. 12 Tex. Hispanic J.L. & Pol'y 31-119 (2006).
Hines, Barbara. An overview of U.S. immigration law and policy since 9/11. 12 Tex. Hispanic J.L. & Pol'y 9-28 (2006).
Price, Matthew E. Persecution complex: justifying asylum law's preference for persecuted people. 47 Harv. Int'l L.J. 413-466 (2006).
Schloenhardt, Andreas. From Black Death to bird flu: infectious diseases and immigration restrictions in Asia. 12 New Eng. J. Int'l & Comp. L. 263- 294 (2006).
Book on Hernandez v. Texas
"Colored Men and Hombres Aqui": Hernández v. Texas and the Emergence of Mexican American Lawyering (Michael A. Olivas, ed.), ARTE PUBLICO PRESS, 2006
This volume commemorates the 50th anniversary of an important but almost forgotten U.S. Supreme court case, Hernández v. Texas, 347 US 475 (1954), the major case involving Mexican Americans and jury selection, published just before Brown v. Board in the 1954 Supreme Court reporter. This landmark case, the first to be tried by Mexican American lawyers before the US Supreme Court, held that Mexican Americans were a discrete group for purposes of applying Equal Protection. Although the case was about discriminatory state jury selection and trial practices, it has been cited for many other civil rights precedents in the intervening 50 years. Even so, it has not been given the prominence it deserves, in part because it lives in the shadow of the more compelling Brown case. Containing papers presented at the Hernández at 50 conference which took place November 19, 2004 at the University of Houston, this book also contains source materials, trial briefs and some pictures from that time. Order at http://www.arte.uh.edu/view_book.aspx?isbn=1558854762
Hernandez website: http://www.law.uh.edu/hernandez50/homepage.html
September 13, 2006
NEW DIMENSIONS OF CITIZENSHIP Conference
Fordham Law School New York City September 29-30, 2006
Today more people than ever live outside their countries of origin. As a result, our conceptions of citizenship, our identities as citizens, and our ideas about how best to prepare citizens to negotiate an increasingly diverse society are all in flux. This conference brings together scholars across disciplines to explore recent shifts in the political, social, economic, and cultural dimensions of citizenship, and to consider their implications for the future. CONFERENCE LOCATION: Fordham Law School 140 West 62nd Street New York, NY REGISTRATION: Seating is limited, pre-registration required: http://law.fordham.edu
QUESTIONS: Email: MAILTO:firstname.lastname@example.org
CONFERENCE ORGANIZERS: Jennifer Gordon and Sheila Foster, Fordham Law School
Another Blow in the "War on Terror"
A San Francisco State Arabic professor who has been stranded in Canada for three months while waiting for the U.S. State Department to give him security clearance and issue him a visa can now return home. Assistant professor Mohammad Ramadan Hassan Salama, who traveled to the U.S. Consulate in Toronto on June 20 and was stuck there after the consulate canceled his scholar visa, was called by the consulate in Toronto, Canada, today and told that he could pick up a new visa on Thursday, his attorney Clark M. Trevor said. Click here for the full story.
$44 Billion on Border Enforcement
The federal government will spend $44 billion on immigration enforcement this year and next, including the creation of a mammoth new "virtual fence" along the Southwest border, the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee for Homeland Security told Republican leaders Tuesday.
With pivotal November midterm elections just two months away, Republicans
and Democrats vied to show they are tougher than the other party when it comes
to undocumented immigration. The results so far show that while a broad overhaul of
immigration law is dead for the year, both parties retain a large appetite to
spend heavily on tightening enforcement of current law. Click here.
Release of Foreign Relations Volume
The Department of State released today Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969-1976, Volume E-4, Documents on Iran and Iraq, 1969-1972, as an electronic-only publication. This volume is the latest publication in the subseries of the Foreign Relations series that documents the most important decisions and actions of the foreign policy of the administrations of Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. Volume E-4 is the fifth Foreign Relations volume to be published in this new format. It is available to all free of charge on the Internet. Approximately 25 percent of the volumes scheduled for publication for the 1969-1976 subseries, covering the Nixon and Nixon-Ford administrations, will be in this format. This volume documents the foreign policy of the Nixon administration towards its then staunch friend in the Middle East, Iran under the Shah. It also documents limited U.S. relations with a potential opponent, increasingly pro-Soviet Iraq. Since Iran and Iraq were rivals, the closer the Nixon administration's ties were to Tehran the wider the gap became with Baghdad. U.S. relations with Iran had been close since the early 1950's, but the Nixon administration saw in the Shah and Iran a key oil-rich ally able to further U.S. interests in the area, and a pillar of security in the Persian Gulf. The volume documents a debate between the Departments of State and Defense over the question of how many modern weapons the Shah required and how much of Iran's resources should go to defense as opposed to social and economic development. The debate ended in May 1972 during President Nixon's visit to Tehran, when the President pledged to supply the Shah with virtually all available arms except atomic weapons. To pay for these weapons, as well as the so-called "White Revolution" to modernize Iran, the Shah needed higher oil prices. Pleased that the Shah did not join the rest of OPEC in demanding oil industry ownership, the United States was willing to accept his independent efforts to control his nation's oil resources. The volume also tracks the latent popular discontent at the Shah's rule for what his critics charged was a corrupt, extravagant, and dictatorial regime. Although U.S. Embassy officials reported that student protests and terrorist incidents had increased, the Nixon administration saw no immediate threat to the Shah's stability. The President and other officials believed that the Shah was a benign dictator whose rule best suited Iran's current stage of development. The volume also documents less congenial U.S.-Iraqi relations, which had been severed officially in 1967. With no presence in Baghdad, the Nixon administration was hampered in handling issues like the Ba'athist persecution of Iraqi Jews in 1969. Still, U.S. officials interpreted this and other events as a sign of the Ba'athists' weakness, and initially resisted Iran's argument that Iraq constituted a danger. The volume demonstrates that the Nixon administration was guided by the apparent expectation that the Ba'athist regime would fall on its own, beset by internal unrest from Iraq's armed Kurdish minority. As the Ba'athists consolidated their power, however, their tilt towards Moscow became a concern to Washington. In addition to welcoming Soviet involvement in the Iraqi oil industry, the Iraqis signed a Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation with Moscow in early 1972. A second theme emerges with the U.S. perception of a threat from Baghdad. Alarmed at the increased Iraqi potential for "trouble-making" in the Gulf, and eager to thwart Soviet acquisition of a Middle East base, President Nixon agreed in May 1972 to the Shah's long-standing appeal to join his assistance effort to the Kurds. The volume shows that the goal of this covert assistance was to prevent the Kurds from making peace with Baghdad, and keep the Iraqi government too absorbed with internal instability to disturb its neighbors. US officials' early assessments of support for the Kurds in Iraq deemed it a success. The volume, including a preface, list of names, abbreviations, sources, annotated document list, and this press release, is available on the Office of the Historian website (http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ho/frus/nixon/e4).
U.S. Government Blocks Citizens' Return
National Public Radio Morning Edition (Sept. 12, 2006): Federal officials are preventing a Pakistani-American father and son from returning to their home in California. Officials want the two U.S. citizens to take a polygraph test before allowing their return home. The case raises constitutional questions. Click here to listen.
P.S. The U.S. changes its mind -- Two relatives of a Lodi man who was convicted of supporting terrorists have been cleared to return home from a long trip to Pakistan, ending a five-month standoff in which the U.S. citizens were told they had to cooperate with the FBI to get off the government's no-fly list, a federal law enforcement official said Tuesday. "There's been a change," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity and would not detail the reason for the move, which was made by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/09/13/BAGG9L4KHG1.DTL&
National Fast for Immigrant Justice
September 30, 2006 marks the tenth anniversary of the enactment of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act, (IIRIRA). The National Fast for Immigrant Justice will call attention to the horrors of IIRIRA and put a human face on the suffering that this terrible law is inflicting on the most vulnerable among us. Participants in the National Fast for Immigrant Justice will donate the money they would have spent on food to organizations that fight for justice for immigrants, and will contact elected officials and let them know that they are fasting and why. The Chairperson of the National Fast for Immigrant Justice is Delores Huerta, the co-founder with Cesar Chavez of the United Farm Workers Union (UFW). September 30, 2006 also marks the 44th anniversary of the founding of the UFW. Cesar would often take part in fasts to raise consciousness of the plight of migrant workers, and their struggle for justice. The National Fast for Immigrant Justice is dedicated to Cesar Chavez. For more information, please contact- Royal F. Berg or Rosalba Pina 312-855-1118 773-762-1200 email@example.com http://nationalfastforimmigrantjustice.com/
Imagine: John Lennon and the Politics of Deportation, From Nixon to Bush
With the soon-to-be-released documentary “The U.S. vs. John Lennon” recounting President Richard Nixon’s campaign to deport the mop-topped Beatle because of his anti-war activism, Lennon historian and film consultant Jon Wiener writes that President Bush has gone much farther than Nixon in using immigration law to get rid of non-citizens who the White House doesn’t like. Click here for the story.
September 12, 2006
New Immigration Film
John Carlos Frey, an independent film maker, has released his latest documentary film entitled “The Invisible Mexicans of Deer Canyon.” The film depicts the daily lives of undocumented immigrants who live in canyons within the wealthy neighborhoods of San Diego. Over two thousand individuals live without running water, electricity, or sewage facilities. They all work to build and maintain the local homes and businesses yet they are living in third world conditions due to the high cost of living the area. The film is a very human look at the debate concerning undocumented immigrants in America. The DVD is available for $20 online at www.invisiblemexicans.com and 50% of the proceeds will go to one of the sponsoring non-profit organizations of your choice.