October 14, 2006
Guide for Undocumented College Students
Undocumented college students face a wealth of problems trying to fund their educations. They are ineligible for federal loans, as well as many forms of financial aid and scholarships. For a guidebook with information for undocumented college students, click Download college_financial_aid_guide_for_ab_540_students.pdf
Gulf Coast Fellowship Opportunities
Call for Grant Applications
New Voices Gulf Coast Transformation Fellowship
The Gulf Coast region and communities affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita deserve continued financial and moral support. Many needs remain unmet, many problems unresolved. Human rights are not as respected as they ought to be. New Voices, a national grantmaking initiative focused on leadership development, nonprofit strengthening, and empowering diverse individuals will focus its resources over the next three years on the Gulf Coast region. A concentration of New Voices grant awards in the region would 1) create opportunities for talented emerging leaders to speak out on behalf of disadvantaged or marginalized communities, 2) build the capacity of small nonprofit organizations struggling with startup or survival, and 3) support timely social justice projects or initiatives in the region. Our sponsored program areas include:
* Racial Justice
* Migrant and Refugee Rights
* Women's Rights
* Human Rights
* Reproductive Rights
Grant benefits include:
For the Nonprofit organization
-Salary support & fringe benefits to host a Fellow for two years
-Computer for the Fellow’s use
-Training for the Fellow’s mentor
For the Fellow:
-Meaningful and rewarding social justice work
-Up to $1,500 per year for professional development
-Up to $6,000 per year for student loan repayment
-Up to $4,000 per year to cover other approved costs
-Online curriculum and peer support
-Mental health support
For more information contact:
New Voices National Fellowship Program
Academy for Educational Development
1825 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 744
Washington, DC 20009
Optional Letters of Intent are due December 4, 2006
GRANT APPLICATIONS MUST BE RECEIVED BY FEBRUARY 5, 2007
Immigration Conference at George Mason
ARLINGTON, VA – Deputy Labor Secretary Steven Law will deliver the keynote address at the George Mason University School of Law Civil Rights Law Journal symposium to be held October 18. Entitled Immigration: Practice and Policy, the event will gather expert practitioners and senior policy staffers for two engaging panel discussions, concluding with Secretary Law's remarks. To register/RSVP, please contact Symposium Editor Mitchell Wunsh at 703-993-8162 or email@example.com . GMUSL Civil Rights Law Journal Annual Symposium Immigration: Practice & Policy Wednesday, October 18, 2006 http://www.law.gmu.edu/gmucrlj/events.php
October 13, 2006
Call for Papers -- Warren Institute
The Warren Institute is pleased to announce a call for papers on immigration policy reform. This broad call for papers includes the following topics:
> Displacement and competition with low-wage workers
> Employer verification systems
> State and local enforcement of immigration laws
> Immigrant integration
> Family Reunification Please also distribute this to your listserves and blogs.
"Good News" and "Bad News" from Texas
To me, Texas always has been an enigmatic state. It was the only state that once was part of Mexico that became a full-fledged slave -- and cotton -- state. Neil Foley's book The White Scourge nicely analyzes the state's complex racial history. Well, here is some news from Texas.
Next week, the televion show "Austin Now" begins a three part series on immigration with a look at the Texas Border, the frontline of the debate. the series explores the politics, policies, and problems involved in securing the 1200 mile porous border with Mexico. Featured interviews include Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris Bell, Libertarian candidate James Werner, Independent candidate Kinky Friedman, and Steve McCraw, the Texas Director of Homeland Security. Click here for a fuller description and links to video clips.
The dean of the School of Law at the University of Texas has urged students to "think twice" and "think twice again" about their future conduct after the Internet posting of photographs taken at an off-campus party organized around a "ghetto" theme. The photos showed the students holding 40-ounce bottles in brown paper bags and wearing Afro wigs, gold teeth and such gang-related attire as bandanas, according to students who saw the images. Some of the party-goers wore name tags with names such as "Tanika" or "Jesus" to play on a black or Hispanic stereotype, the students said. Click here for the news story on this controversy.
Recognizing Gay Marriages
The effects of cases like Adams v. Howerton, 673 F.2d 1036 (9th Cir. 1981), where same-sex marriages are not recognized for immigration purposes are discussed in a recent article in the Arizona Republic.
A foreigner who marries an American can get nearly automatic residency in the United States. But same-sex couples, even ones who have been together for decades, get no advantages at all.
"Our lives were an everyday game of chess," said Marta Donayre, a Brazilian whose relationship with an American woman was thrown into chaos after Donayre lost her Silicon Valley job in 2001. She eventually founded Love Knows No Borders, one of several groups that have sprung up in recent years to help gay migrants.
For years, the struggles of these migrants were lost among the broader debate about gay marriage. The issue of gay marriage has flared again in Arizona with Proposition 107, an item on the Nov. 7 ballot that would make the state ban on such marriages part of the Arizona Constitution.
But in recent months, the struggles of same-sex immigrants and their partners have been getting more attention as gay advocates have begun campaigning for change, encouraged by marches demanding U.S. immigration reform. Click here.
New State Court Policy of Holding Undocumented Defendants Without Bond is Rejected
A state district court judge in Kentucky ordered 17 Hispanic defendants to be held without bond, in part because they had no social security numbers. An appellate court judge said the no bond rulings violated the Kentucky and U.S. Constitutions, and ordered the prisoners released. Click here for Dan Kowalski's blog entry on this story with a link to a Kentucky newspaper story.
Whenever there is discussion over giving state and local governments more power over immigration regulation, I think of abuses of undocumented immigrants at the state and local level.
October 12, 2006
Reforming Family Immigration
While lawmakers debate border fences and street marches back undocumented immigrants, the saga of would-be legal immigrants facing backlogs has languished with little attention. But the beleaguered system of legal immigration to America could soon become another flash point, albeit one with unconventional battle lines.
Asian-Americans have taken the lead in calling for a streamlined legal-immigration system, because their relatives face the longest waits. They have joined forces with primarily Latino march organizers to make visa backlogs part of a pro-immigrant agenda.
The opposition to a streamlined system, meanwhile, comes not just from the usual critics of increased immigration. With the U.S. population set to top 300 million next week, according to the latest estimate of the Census Bureau, some environmentalists have renewed warnings that opening an immigrant pipeline will exacerbate population growth that harms the nation's ecological health. Click here.
Why did the elephant cross the border?
When last we saw Raj Peter Bhakta, he was being fired by Donald Trump on The Apprentice.
Bhakta's back, and mad as hell about the border (as he understands it). To bring attention to the permeability of the border, he paraded elephants and a mariachi band in the Rio Grande on the Texas-Mexico border near Brownsville Texas. The NYTimes carried the AP clip of the story, which is here, and quotes Bhakta as saying that "no one showed up" to put a stop to the antics. (Did I mention Bhakta is running for office?)
Well, as always, there is more to this than meets the eye -- including the fact that, well, maybe someone did show up. Siddhartha of the Sepia Mutiny blog digs a little deeper, to hilarious effect. The blog highlights a column by Bud Kennedy of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, which takes a different view of the matter.
In a word, Siddhartha reminds Bhakta not to mess with Texas. Read all about it here.
NY Farmers Want Comprehensive Reform
Aggressive enforcement of U.S. immigration laws is hurting farmers in New York state, who stand to lose $195 million over the next 2 years unless Congress creates "reasonable and effective farm worker programs," agricultural lenders said on Wednesday.
The Farm Credit Associations of New York said dairy, fruit and vegetable production in the state suffered due to raids seeking illegal workers. It was the first estimate of losses since Congress deadlocked on immigration reform this year.
"In some cases, farmers have been unable to harvest or market crops as a result of these disruptions," the lenders said in a statement supporting immigration-law reform. Click here.
October 11, 2006
Treason Charges Against US Citizen
With a few exceptions (Padilla, Hamdi, Lindh), the individuals who have been the focus of the government's efforts in the "war on terrorism" have been noncitizens. None of the prior cases involving citizens have resulted in treason charges.
Today, the government opened up a new front in this war, bringing the first treason charge against a citizen since World War II. The government's announcement is here. Azzam Al-Amriki is also charged with providing material support to al Qaeda.
A Story on the Mexican Repatriation During the Great Depression
History.net has a story titled "Immigrants: The Last Time America Sent Her Own Packing Fueled by the Great Depression, an anti-immigrant frenzy engulfed hundreds of thousands of legal American citizens in a drive to ‘repatriate’ Mexicans to their homeland," by Steve Boisson. Click here for the full story. It truly is amazing that so much has been written on this topic in the last year or two, which has remained invisible for so long. If Congress passes a pending bill sponsored by Rep. Hilda Solis (D-California) that would create a comission to more fully investigate this history, we would have an even better idea of what happened during what Francisco Balderrama has aptly called the Decade of Betrayal. For a recent law review article on the Mexican repatriation and its parallels to the modern "war on terror," click here.
TIME MAGAZINE ON THE BORDER FENCE
The latest Time has a story titled "Illegals in the Line of Fire Thousands of illegal aliens are walking through one of the military's most important live-fire training grounds. Will building a fence stop them?" Click here to read the story. The story reports that Border Patrol agents who monitor this vast, remote area from a lone outpost called Camp Desert Grip are skeptical that a fence could be a practical solution here. Speaking before the Secure Fence Act was passed, Stephen Johnson, who runs the place, points out that Hunter's fence will cost at least $37 million to build and will be difficult to maintain. When the fence is cut — and it definitely will be cut, says Johnson — it would be costly to repair, given the absence of roads in the region. Walls are better suited to urban areas, where you have only seconds to stop someone coming over, say Johnson and other agents. In remote areas like the Goldwater Range, where agents have days to track down interlopers, maintaining fences seems wasteful. "People want to take what works in San Diego and apply it out here," Border Patrol Chief David Aguilar said in June. "It won't work."
Pictures from the Border
Click here for some pictures from the U.S./Mexico border.
From the Law Reviews
Saxena, Monica. More than mere semantics: the case for an expansive definition of persecution in sexual minority asylum claims. 12 Mich. J. Gender & L. 331-357 (2006).
Sharpton, Blake. Comment. Detention of non-citizens: the Supreme Court's muddling of an already complex issue. 57 Mercer L. Rev. 1221-1259 (2006).
A Comment on The Torture of Jose Padilla
Ben Davis [University of Toledo College of Law] comments on the treatment of Jose padilla by teh U.S. government:
"Lawyers for Jose Padilla recently (October 4) filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida a Motion to Dismiss for Outrageous Government Conduct [PDF]. The motion recites, from the point of view of Jose Padilla, his detention at the US Navy Brig in Charleston, South Carolina. If the facts are as alleged, it describes a harrowing experience: Mr. Padilla was threatened with being forcibly removed from the United States to another country, including U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where he was threatened his fate would be even worse than in the Naval Brig. He was threatened with being cut with a knife and having alcohol poured on the wounds. He was also threatened with imminent execution. He was hooded and forced to stand in stress positions for long durations of time. He was forced to endure exceedingly long interrogation sessions, without adequate sleep, wherein he would be confronted with false information, scenarios, and documents to further disorient him. Often he had to endure multiple interrogators who would scream, shake, and otherwise assault Mr. Padilla. Additionally, Mr. Padilla was given drugs against his will, believed to be some form of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) or phencyclidine (PCP), to act as a sort of truth serum during his interrogations." An American citizen, treated like this in America, by the American government!
Click here for the full commentary from the Jurist.
Gender and Migration
Thanks to Susan Martin for this tip! Gender and migration has received quite a lot of attention recently, particularly in the context of the recent UN High Level Dialogue on Migration and Development. The UN Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) devoted its 2006 State of the World's Population to international migration, with a particular focus on gender. There's a link on their homepage: http://www.unfpa.org/. The 2004 World Survey on the Role of Women and Development, put out by the UN Division for the Advancement of Women, also focused on women and migration. It is also available online at <click here>.
The 700-Mile Death Trap
With President Bush’s signing of the only piece of immigration legislation Congress passed this term, undocumented migration has become a crime punishable by death. Instead of comprehensive reform (which could have included Bush’s guest worker proposal to ease pressure at the border, plus a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants), lawmakers honed in on border security, calling for construction of a 700-mile fence along the U.S.-Mexico border, priced at $1.2 billion. The problem is that the fence idea has been tried; it won’t work, and the result will be countless more unnecessary deaths.
Beginning in 1994, the Clinton administration implemented Operation Gatekeeper, a strategy of “control through deterrence” that involved constructing fences and militarizing the parts of the southern border that were the most easily traversed. Instead of deterring migrants, their entry choices were shifted to treacherous terrain—the deserts and mountains. The number of entries and apprehensions were not at all decreased, and the number of deaths due to dehydration and sunstroke in the summer or freezing in the winter dramatically surged. In 1994, fewer than 30 migrants died along the border; by 1998 the number was 147, in 2001, 387 deaths were counted, and the past fiscal year 451 died.
Given the risks, why do migrants continue the harrowing trek? The attraction of the United States is obvious. The strong economy pays Mexican workers, for example, eight to nine times more than what they can earn in Mexico. For many, it’s a matter of economic desperation, and some observers think that migrants would continue to come even if we mined the border. In a sense, they do not have a choice. Besides, jobs are plentiful here, because a variety of industries rely on low-wage migrant workers. The migrants may know the risks, but figure that the risks are outweighed by the benefits of crossing.
Motivations for continued migration call into question the likely effectiveness of the expansion of Operation Gatekeeper if the goal is to discourage border-crossers. Beyond the economic situation in Mexico, a socio-economic phenomenon is at play. The phenomenon is the long, historical travel patterns between Mexico and the U.S., coupled with the interdependency of the two regions. Migration from Mexico is the manifestation of these economic problems and social phenomena. The militarization of the border does nothing to address these phenomena. Instead, it is killing individuals who are caught up in the phenomena.
Understanding the economic and social situations in Mexico and the United States and the nature of their relationship enables us to formulate better approaches to border crossings and migrations. A real solution would address push-pull factors and the economic needs of both countries. For two years, President Bush has proposed temporary worker plan that, with modifications, makes more sense than enforcement only legislation. As a nation, the United States ought to do the right thing, especially when it comes to Mexican migrants given our long historical ties with Mexico. We have demonized the undocumented, rather than see them for what they are: human beings entering for a better life who have been manipulated by globalization, regional economies, and social structures that have operated for decades. The right thing to do is to develop a system to facilitate the flow of Mexican migrants to the United States who are seeking employment opportunities. Given the economic imbalance between the two nations, we know that the flow will continue—legally or otherwise. By regularizing the flow through a large guest worker program, we ease pressures at the border (thus freeing up personnel to concentrate on the serious challenge of looking for terrorists and drug smugglers), address the labor needs of employers, bring the undocumented out of the shadows, and end unnecessary, immoral border deaths that have resulted from current enforcement strategies. But we have to do this in a manner that provides the workers with respect from other Americans and hope for membership. Thus, a path toward earning permanent residence after a period of time and paying a financial penalty for entering illegally, as proposed by Arizona Republican Senator John McCain and Representatives Jeff Flake and Jim Kolbe, becomes a critical ingredient of any guest worker program.
Our nation has a choice between the 700 hundred-mile death trap or a path to enfranchisement for these individuals on whom we have depended upon for generations. Our economic, social, and national security interests demand that we pursue the moral choice.
Professors Beware -- Laptops that Cross International Borders May Be Fair Game
Dan Kowalski has written about a fascinating recent legal development taht affects the border and our professional lives. Click here for the link. In July 2006 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a decision upholding border searches of laptops and other computer memory devices. But on October 2, 2006 a lower federal court in Los Angeles issued a decision throwing out a laptop border search. The court wrote: "[E]lectronic storage devices function as an extension of our own memory. They are capable of storing our thoughts, ranging from the most whimsical to the most profound. Therefore, government intrusions into the mind - specifically those that would cause fear or apprehension in a reasonable person - are no less deserving of Fourth Amendment scrutiny than intrusions that are physical in nature." U.S. v. Arnold.
Ruben Navarette on Arnold
From Ruben Navarette's latest (Oct. 11) column:
As if Mexicans weren't having a tough enough time in America these days, now they're being told they don't speak good enough English by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. What's Spanish for "How humiliating"? I'm not sure. As a third-generation Mexican American, my Spanish is horrid. And there are millions of Mexican Americans like me, whose parents -- having endured discrimination in schools and in the workplace for speaking Spanish in the 1940s and 1950s -- raised their kids to speak English only. Even recent immigrants from Mexico can't escape the power of English. Grandma may be watching her favorite telenovela in the family room, but, in the bedroom down the hall, her grandkids are watching "Ugly Betty" on ABC. You want ugly? Check out the comments Schwarzenegger made last week about Mexicans and assimilation. In response to a reporter's question, Schwarzenegger said people often ask him the secret of his success. He tells them it requires "that you learn the language, that you learn the history of America ... and you have to become part of America." So far, so good. But then he went for the whole enchilada. "And that is very difficult for some people to do," said the governor, "especially, I think, for Mexicans, because they are so close to their country here, so they try to stay Mexican but try to be in America." The Austrian immigrant offered this advice: "What I am saying to the Mexicans is, you've got to go and immerse yourself, and assimilate into the American culture, and become part of the American fabric. That is how Americans will embrace you." I'll try to keep my temperature down, but the governor's most recent comments were inaccurate, impolite, inconsistent, imprudent, insincere and incomplete. Click here for the full Navarette commentary.