September 23, 2006
The Nation on Immigration
One reader recommends a recent article by Max Blumenthal in The Nation. The article, in his view, it "is revealing and important, because Wash Times almost singlehandedly created the anti-immigration hysteria in Washington DC." I am not sure I fully agree about the cause-and-effect even though the Washington Times does in fact seem to run a large number of stories with a restrictionst bent. Click here to see the story.
National Fast for Immigrant Justice Sept. 30
The National Fast for Immigrant Justice will call attention to the horrors of IIRIRA, and put a human face on the suffering this terrible law is inflicting on the most vulnerable among us. Participants in the National Fast for Immigrant Justice will donate the money that they would have spent on food on September 30th to organizations that fight for justice for immigrants, and will contact elected officials and let them know that they are fasting, and why.
September 30, 2006 marks the tenth anniversary of the enactment of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA), a heinous anti-immigrant and anti-family law. IIRIRA has caused great suffering and irreparable harm to U.S. citizen children across the country, and has torn countless families of U.S. citizens and immigrants apart. IIRIRA mandates detention and deportation for whole classes of immigrants, without regard to the hardships that will be suffered.
Many of IIRIRA's harshest provisions are being applied retroactively causing even more suffering. IIRIRA also precludes judicial review of many government decisions, and bars millions of immigrants with family members and long term residence in our nation from returning to the United States for ten years, and in many cases for life! IIRIRA is cruel, inhumane, and draconian. It must be repealed!
The Chairperson of the National Fast for Immigrant Justice is Dolores Huerta. September 30, 2006 is also the 44th anniversary of the founding of the United Farm Workers Union, by Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta. Cesar would often engage in public fasts to raise consciousness about the plight of migrant workers and their families, and their struggle for justice. The National Fast for Immigrant Justice is dedicated to Cesar Chavez.
The group is also planning a bi-lingual Mass for Immigrant Justice at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Des Plaines, Il. on Sept. 24th, at 1:00 followed by a short presentation on IIRIRA, and testimony by U.S. citizen children and spouses of individuals who have been harmed by IIRIRA. They are also planning an inter-faith service at the Federal Plaza in Chicago for Sept. 30, at 1:00 p.m. in support of those who will be taking part in the National Fast for Immigrant Justice.
For more information please contact: John Gomez (312) 550-7036. You can also read more online at: http://www.nationalfastforimmigrantjustice.com/
Republicans Force Hand Against Undocumented
House Speaker Dennis Hastert stood before the cameras Thursday placing big red check marks on a list of nine border-enforcement bills that have passed the House -- including a 700- mile, double-layer fence ridiculed by critics all year but headed for the Senate floor next week.
At least for now, House Republican leaders have succeeded in their
take-no-prisoners approach to immigration despite nationwide protests by
Latinos last spring and White House warnings that they are endangering their
party's future. Click here.
Draft of Compromise Detainee Bill
Click here for the latest version of the compromise detainee bill. As Ben Davis predicted, the draft was made available late on Friday night after the deadlines for the newspapers. Jordan Paust haas an interesting post on the subject on http://jurist.law.pitt.edu.
Conference on Hurricane Katrina and Katrina "Refugees"
Katrina: After the Storm Summit, Sept. 27-30 at University of Illinois-Urbana- Champaign. For information, click here.
DOJ retreats from Gonzales disavowal of responsibility for Arar deportation
A US Department of Justice (DOJ) spokesman retreated Wednesday from comments made earlier this week by US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on the case of Canadian Maher Arar in which Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said the US was not responsible for his removal to Syria and that he was not aware Arar was tortured there. Charles Miller said Wednesday that Gonzales was just trying to make the point that the US Department of Homeland Security now handles deportation issues. The comments by Gonzales stirred controversy as they followed a report by a Canadian commission that cited public records documenting an order by the US to deport Arar to Syria from the US, where he was in transit from Tunisia on his way back home to Canada. The New York Times has more. Meanwhile, the Canadian House of Commons Wednesday voted to apologize to Arar, but the Prime Minister Stephen Harper has so far refused to offer a formal apology on behalf of the country's Conservative government. The commission cited the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) for giving false evidence to the US linking Arar to terrorists, prompting the US decision to send him to Syria, where he was born. Click here for the story and links. For Dan Kowalski's commentary on the case, click here.
September 22, 2006
Immigration and the Law of Unintended Consequences
Two articles in todays NY Times served as good reminders of the unintended consequences of immigration policy. One story, by Julia Preston, reported on the labor shortage that plagued many California farms this summer. The story is here.
These two paragraph from the Preston story caught my eye:
This year’s shortages are compounding a flight from the fields by Mexican workers already in the United States. As it has become harder to get into this country, many illegal immigrants have been reluctant to return to Mexico in the off-season. Remaining here year-round, they have gravitated toward more stable jobs.
“When you’re having to pay housing costs, it’s very difficult to survive and wait for the next agricultural season to come around,” said Jack King, head of national affairs for the California Farm Bureau Federation.
This suggests that border militarization, in conjunction with an ineffective H-2A program has caused many migrants who would prefer to do seasonal agricultural work and return home in the off-season to stay in the U.S., hunker down and seek more permanent jobs that allow them to stay put. Maybe that picture ought to inform the reading of CIS's recently released - and contested - study indicating that undocumented workers supplant teenage and young adult American workers (discussed in a separate story in the Times, linked here)?
Limit on Judicial Review
A provision of the House immigration bill that hopefully has been set aside for the year would "severely [restrict] access to the federal courts for individuals in removal (deportation) proceedings" and do it under the guise of reducing the number of immigration cases in the federal courts. Jill Family, Associate Professor at the Widener University School of Law, analyzes this provision for the Immigration Policy Center here.
The provision is a "certificate of reviewability" requirement for individuals who want to go to federal court to challenge their orders of removal. Under the provision, access to federal court would be permitted only if a federal judge first grants permission. And the judge may grant permission only after the immigrant makes a "substantial showing that the petition for review is likely to be granted." The request for review would be denied automatically if the judge fails to act. In other words, although the individual can seek independent judicial review of an administrative action, there is no right to actual judgment.
The Senate's version of comprehensive immigration reform legislation did not include the "certificate of reviewability" requirement. In fact, a federal judge who testified on immigration reform before a Senate committee explained that "it would be an extraordinary step" to authorize one federal judge to cut off such appellate review of cases involving individual liberty. What is needed instead, according to a panel of federal judges who testified in the Senate, is reform of the executive branch's adjudication process.
Read the entire report here.
For more information contact Tim Vettel at (202) 742-5608.
Canadian Deportation System Criticized
What does it take before a person is deported from Canada? Apparently, being charged with heroin trafficking, gun running or extortion in another country sometimes is not enough. That is one of the conclusions that can be drawn from an investigation that shows six men wanted by Italian authorities for serious Mafia-related offences are living openly in the Greater Toronto Area. All six claim they are innocent victims of mistaken identity. Click here.
Compromise Reached in Congress on Treatment of Detainees in "War on Terror"
As most of you probably have heard, the White House reached an agreement with key Republican senators on interrogation techniques and trial procedures for terror suspects. For the NY Times account, click http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/21/washington/21cnd-detain.html?ex=1159502400&en=ea0f8eab858cd37a&ei=5070&emc=eta1
MALDEF on Enforcement-Only Immigration Bills
A Message from MALDEF:
CONTACT MEMBERS OF CONGRESS TO OPPOSE ENFORCEMENT-ONLY IMMIGRATION BILLS H.R. 6095 would make Latinos less safe and hamper police-community relations The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) joins local law enforcement officials, mayors and civil rights leaders to oppose a series of enforcement-only bills, including H.R. 6095 that would allow state and local police to enforce federal civil immigration law. House of Representatives action is expected today and MALDEF encourages you to call your Congressional Representatives today and ask them to vote against H.R. 6095, H.R. 6094, and H.R. 4830. Giving local police the authority to enforce federal immigration laws conflicts with the Constitution which places this authority only in the hands of the federal government; Under H.R. 6095, local police are provided no training in immigration law despite being given this new authority;In 1996, Congress authorized the Department of Justice to enter into agreements with local governments for limited immigration enforcement authority. No local government has entered into such an agreement; Local police oppose granting this authority because it will make their jobs to promote public safety and obtain community cooperation much more difficult. H.R. 6095 and the companion bills are a last-minute Election season ploy to look tough on immigration enforcement. A similar provision was defeated in the House earlier in this Congress and House leaders have done nothing to enact comprehensive immigration reform. H.R. 6095, the Immigration Law Enforcement Act, would give state and local police the authority to enforce civil immigration law violations. H.R. 6094, the Community Protection Act, and H.R. 4830, the Border Tunnel Prevention Act, will also be considered tomorrow. To reach your Member of Congress, you may call the Congressional switchboard at (202) 224-3121. For more information contact: Eric M. Gutiérrez, Legislative Staff Attorney at (202) 293-2828.
Call for Papers
NACCS XXXIV · Call for Papers San José , CA Call for Papers is now open! Submission deadline is October 22, 2006. Conference dates are still under consideration. We are working with March 28-31, 2007 or April 4-8, 2007. We are hoping to finalize the date by end of September. Sociocultural and Ideological Shifts:Chicana/o Migratory Movements and Immigration Passages The theme for the 2007 meeting calls for an examination of movements within and across nation states and the social movements that emerge because of the policies that aim to restrict motion and the survival of a people. Chicana/o Studies has challenged, contested, and revised the ways in which scholars understand spatial arrangements and movement relations across nation states as well as within local and regional communities. Chicana/o Studies is a scholarly discipline that does not separate theory from practice, as such we aim to amplify the ways we study and examine individual, collective, and group experiences in relationship to race, class, gender, and sexual bounds that limit and mark the lived experiences of Chicanas/os in the United States. We have expanded race / ethnicity as conceptual categories to contest notions of binary constructs, to document mixed heritage and diasporic notions of our people and our communities. Studies of migration and immigration have focused on the movement of workers, with studies of indigenous field workers and poor peasants who migrate/immigrate to the United States as members of a class. Gender and sexuality mark the ways in which class and spatial migration organizes relations between men and women, premised on heterosexist notions that frame what we see and understand inside traditionalist, modernist, and postmodernist notions of relating. NACCS calls for papers that address the inherent contradictions of migration and immigration, class movements, social mobility, social justice movements, and displacement. Focus should be on social justice struggles that emerge from these shifts. Deadline for submissions is October 22, 2006. Go to www.naccs.org to begin your submission process. Information: National Association for Chicana & Chicano Studies www.naccs.org
September 21, 2006
Another Wrongful Deportation
The Miami Herald (http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/news/local/13168991.htm ) reports on the case of a wrongful deportation. The Department of Homeland Security wants to know why immigration agents deported Camerino Moreno Villa to Mexico on Oct. 6 -- only to have to bring him back to Miami under a cloud of embarrassment because of a judge's order. U.S. District Judge Adalberto Jordan said Monday he did not believe Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials deliberately violated his order to keep Moreno in South Florida until Oct. 16 for a hearing on his fate. But the judge said he would still consider holding immigration authorities in contempt of court if Homeland Security concludes there was official misconduct in the high-profile case. Jordan called the immigration agency's deportation ''troubling,'' but said he was at least encouraged that ICE officials appear to be taking steps to prevent another Moreno-type deportation from happening again.
Call For Submissions
ICORN Webzine (www.icorn.org) The International Cities of Refuge Network has launched its new quarterly webzine. ICORN’s work focuses on the importance of freedom of expression. The first webzine issue features the work of award-winning novelist Chenjerai Hove, and the renowned philosopher Etienné Balibar. ICORN is inviting writers to submit essays on the subjects of 1) nationalism, identity, “the exile experience”, patriotism and/or citizenship 2) cross-cultural literatures, translation, critical analysis of fiction and poetry with an eye on history or current events. We also welcome submissions of poetry, short stories, short creative non-fiction, or short scripts for our Babel Voice section; and interviews and dialogues for our In Dialogue section. ICORN is especially interested in work that can be published in two languages and SOUND FILES of oral presentations. Will perhaps consider featuring visual art work related to our focus and themes. Please note that we have an international focus and that we receive a disproportionately large number of poetry submissions. See the Masthead for details and submission procedures. www.icorn.org ICORN is a not-for-profit organization and does not have funds to pay our contributors at this time.
Immigration "Joke": Or All Humor has Some Truth to It
How many illegal immigrants can you pack into a school bus? No, this is not a new-age elephant joke. But how many does a school bus hold, really? Maybe 60? Then if there are 12 million immigrants, deportation would require 200,000 bus trips. Uh, to where, exactly? Source: http://underbelly-buce.blogspot.com/2006/09/how-many-school-buses.html#_ftn1
Independent Task Force on Immigration and America's Future
Dan Kowalski was at the roll-out of this report in D.C. yesterday. His main take-away: Doris Meissner said Employer Verification (via a secure, biometric SS card or "green card" or work permit) is the "cornerstone" to their plan, but verification will be difficult and expensive, and the difficulty and expense are often underestimated.
September 20, 2006
Most Recent Nazi Deportee A Woman
Those who knew San Francisco's Elfriede Rinkel never found it remarkable
that the German immigrant would marry a Jewish survivor of the Holocaust, or
attend synagogue with him, or plan to be buried next to him at a cemetery run
by a Chevra Kadisha, a Jewish burial society that performs ritual purification. On Tuesday, though, came a jarring twist: The U.S. Justice Department said
the 84-year-old Rinkel had been deported to Germany, nearly half a century
after she emigrated to the United States, because she had been a guard at a
Nazi concentration camp in World War II where an estimated 90,000 people, many
of them Jews, were exterminated. Click here.
The death of immigration reform, and some brand new bad ideas.
Yesterday, the NY Times editorial page took a swipe at Congress' failure to pass an immigration reform bill. In an editorial titled "Immigration's Lost Year" the Times opined:
The latest proposals are the product of a Republicans-only “forum” last week that distilled the bilge water of a summer’s worth of immigration “hearings,” which were actually badly disguised campaign events. The hearings — with titles like “How Does Illegal Immigration Impact American Taxpayers and Will the Reid-Kennedy Amnesty Worsen the Blow?” — were show trials put on to destroy comprehensive reform by any means necessary. “What I wanted was witnesses who agree with me, not disagree with me,” said Representative Charlie Norwood of Georgia, putting it perfectly.
The full op-ed is here. The Times didn't even mention my personal favorite "hearing." A hearing held on July 27 was actually entitled "Whether the Attempted Implementation of Reid-Kennedy Will Result in an Administrative and National Security Nightmare." Hearing, or propagada? Hmmm...that's a tough call....who can say, really? I guess at least it is phrased in the form of a question.
In the meantime, since it's clear that no meaningful immigration reform bill will be passed, the House has decided to crank out a series of bills that at first appear to me to have been inspired by the bad idea bears of Avenue Q fame. After a little research, I determined that the bears probably did not have much to do with it (not directly, anyway). These bills are based on the brief and sketchy GOP's Border Security Now agenda-- attached here: Download GOPbordersecurity.pdf .
Border security sounds good, and since my parents live a few of miles from the border, I'm all for it, but let's be very clear that a lot of these "border security" proposals are about neither the border nor security. The proposed bills arising out of this initiative include provisions authorizing the indefinite detention of noncitizens, further expanding the already overbroad category of noncitizens (and we're talking legally present noncitizens) who will be subject to removal, and authorizing removal for anyone "designated" a member of a "gang" -- even if they haven't ever commited a crime.
It's good to read the fine print when it comes to "hearings" and legislation where the hot-button topic of immigration is concerned. Let's not lose our heads, people.
Preview of Two Immigration Cases Pending in Supreme Court
For the full background on two immigration cases pending in the Supreme Court, check out http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/cert/05-547.html. The two cases are Lopez v. Gonzales and Toledo-Flores v. United States. Here is a quick and dirty summary: Both Jose Antonio Lopez and Reymundo Toledo-Flores are permanent residents of the United States who were convicted of drug crimes that are felonies at the state level but misdemeanors under federal law. The government argues that both Lopez’s and Toledo-Flores’s crimes qualify as “aggravated felonies.” If that is the case, Lopez will be barred from seeking a waiver of the deportation order issued against him while Toledo-Flores will be subject to a stricter sentence under the mandatory Federal Sentencing Guidelines. Lopez and Toledo-Flores argue that their drug crimes do not meet the definition of an aggravated felony because they are not felonies under federal law. Thus, the Court must decide whether drug offenses that are state felonies but federal misdemeanors satisfy the federal statutory definition of aggravated felony.
Suffolk County Targets Undocumented
Business owners could soon face fines and even jail time if they hire undocumented immigrants in this Long Island community, the latest in one of many efforts by local governments across the country to crack down on undocumented workers. The bill was passed 15-3 by the Suffolk County Legislature Tuesday and was expected to be signed into law by the county executive, despite critics who call it anti-immigrant.
The legislation applies to the roughly 6,000 companies and agencies that have county contracts. The penalties include fines and potential jail time. Repeat offenders could forfeit their contracts. Click here.