October 21, 2006
A Fascinating View of the Border
For a fascinating immigration travelogue entitled "2,000 Miles Along the Us-Mexican Border" by Gary Younge, click here. Younge travels the entire length of the US-Mexican border to test the immigration waters in this election year.
Thanks to Dan Kowalski for this and so many other immigration tidbits.
All Sports All the Time: Adjusting To the US By Playing Soccer
The NY Times has an upbeat article about how a diverse group of immigrants are adjusting to life in the U.S. by playing in soccer leagues. Click here for the story.
Immigration and Baseball
The Wall Street Journal (Oct. 20) reports that a new study, "Immigrants, Baseball and the Contributions of Foreign-Born Players to America's Pastime," was conducted by the National Foundation for American Policy, a nonprofit organization focused on trade and immigration issues. Executive director Stuart Anderson told us that the statistics he compiled about baseball point to the benefits of immigration for our society as a whole. (The full baseball report is available today on www.nfap.com). It shows that, as of Aug. 31, a whopping 23% of players on active rosters in the majors were foreign born. That's more than double the percentage as recently as 1990 and about 10 times what it was in the 1920s and '30s.
October 20, 2006
More on Voter Intimidation in the OC
Condemnation of an intimidating mailer from congressional candidate Tan Nguyen's campaign swelled Thursday, as state investigators continued interviews in the county and the U.S. Justice Department joined the probe. State Attorney General Bill Lockyer told Nguyen's opponent, Rep. Loretta Sanchez, D-Garden Grove, that details should become clearer in the next few days and that his office "would be making arrests," Sanchez said. Click here for the full story.
To see the letter in dispute, click here.
October 19, 2006
PBS (San Francisco) Immigration Series
KQED (San Francisco) announces Immigration in Focus, a multimedia collection of thought-provoking programs, special reports and events about the complex issues surrounding immigration. With California at the center of the immigration debate, KQED recognizes the need for accurate, balanced information and provides a platform for productive and inclusive dialogue from all perspectives. “One of the most divisive policy debates today centers on immigration, particularly in the Bay Area where immigrants make up nearly one-third of the population,” said KQED President and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Clarke. “KQED is committed to delivering content and services that encourage our viewers and listeners to broaden their perspectives on immigration issues and engage individuals who are often left out of discussions about them in our communities. We will use all of our media platforms to inform and give historical, social and political context to the topic of immigration via this very important project.”
KQED's Immigration in Focus (click here) is a collection of thought-provoking programs, special reports, and events about the complex issues surrounding immigration. With California at the center of the immigration debate, KQED recognizes the need for accurate, balanced information and provides a platform for productive and inclusive dialogue.
Wiring Money Home
An immigrant-rights group is spearheading a class-action suit filed against Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard, alleging that his office illegally seized millions of dollars in Western Union wires as part of its campaign to shut down money laundering by border smugglers. The story is here.
Relatedly, today's San Antonio Express News reports that immigrants send back $24 billion in remittances to Mexico each year. "The top five states for immigrants sending money to families back in [Mexico and other parts of] Latin America are: California: $13.3 billion, Texas: 5.2 billion, New York: $3.7 billion, Florida: $3.1 billion and Illinois: $2.6 billion." That story is here.
The DHS at Work -- The Story of Carla Freeman
Believe it or not! When Carla Freeman asked Citizenship and Immigration Services to do the humane -- and reasonable -- thing after her husband died in a traffic accident, immigration officials clamped leg shackles on the widow and moved to throw her out of the country without a hearing. When the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered Citizenship and Immigration Services to do the right thing, the agency got its back up, basically telling Freeman to get lost and the Ninth Circuit to get a clue. "This is a rogue decision, issued by people who feel they can do anything," says Brent Renison, Freeman's lawyer. And you have to wonder how long it's going to take for someone to step up and prove them wrong. Freeman, 28, married Robert Glen Freeman in 2001 and buried him a year later on a hill above the Snake River. A dual citizen of South Africa and Italy at her wedding, Freeman had an application for permanent resident status pending when a Pepsi delivery truck crossed an Indiana center lane and killed her husband. She moved to the Northwest after the funeral. In May 2002, immigration officials in Portland denied her application, arguing that she hadn't been married for the two years required by federal law, and prepared to catapult her from the country. Enter the 9th Circuit. In April, the court ruled the agency's reading of the law was as tortured as its treatment of a grieving widow. The two-year statute, the court said, was meant to serve as a window of opportunity to seek citizenship, not a minimum prerequisite of marital bliss. It ordered the immigration service to get its house in order and told Freeman she was cleared to pursue permanent resident status. Click here for more of Carla's story.
The judgment of the court in Freeman v. Gonzales, 444 F.3d 1031 (9th Cir. 2006) became final on August 3, 2006, after the court denied the government's request to amend the judgment. for various uodates on the case from the law firm that handled the matter for Freeman, click here.
The San Antonio Express-News reports that the top five states for immigrants sending money to families back in Latin America are:
California: $13.3 billion annually
Texas: 5.2 billion
New York: $3.7 billion
Florida: $3.1 billion
Illinois: $2.6 billion
Total annual remittances to Mexico amount to $24 billion. The full article can viewed by clicking here.
As this suggests, remittances from migrants in the United States are important economically for Mexico and other nations. That is one reason why other nations pay so much attention to U.S. immigration law and policy.
Miami-Dade Sanctuary Push
With the debate on immigration reform stalled in Congress, Miami immigrant advocates looked elsewhere Wednesday for inspiration: to such cities as San Francisco that have declared themselves ''sanctuaries'' where local police are barred from participating in certain kinds of immigration enforcement.
Flanked by rows of restless children wearing shirts that read ''Don't make me an orphan,'' Nora Sandigo was clear on what she wanted.
''Local politicians need to stand up and take care of the children in their own house,'' said Sandigo, executive director of the immigrant advocacy group American Fraternity. Click here.
October 18, 2006
Anti-Immigrant Leader Questioned by A.G.
The leader of an anti-illegal immigration group said she was interviewed by investigators from the attorney general's office Wednesday about a letter sent to Hispanic families in Orange County warning some immigrants could be jailed or deported for voting next month.
Barbara Coe, leader of the California Coalition for Immigration Reform, said she told investigators her group had not authorized the letter and she didn't know who sent it.
The note's letterhead resembles that of the group's, and contains the signature Sergio Ramirez.
Coe said she has received a handful of death threats since last week, when the letter began arriving at an unknown number of Orange County homes. Her group was investigated by the FBI in the late 1990s because members held signs near polls stating only citizens can vote. Click here.
New Estimates of Unauthorized Youth Eligible for Legal Status under the DREAM Act
Click here for a Migration Policy Institute background paper discussings the major features of the DREAM Act and provides MPI's estimates of the number of young unauthorized persons likely to be eligible for immigration relief if the DREAM Act were to become law.
More Racial Sterotypes in Law Schools
On October 13, I wrote a blog entry about a recent racist incident at the University of Texas. the UT dean 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.
At UCLA School of Law, there were racist portrayals of undocmented Mexican immigrants in the law school's official moot court competition. Here is a student communication to Latino alumni. Download From_Raza_to_Moot_Court.pdf
Recall also Justice Scalia's comment (reported here on Oct. 4) about tequila during oral argument in an immigration case incvoving a mexican migrant.
Do you see a pattern? Does it have anything to do with the national debate over immigration?
The Political Struggle Over Immigration Reform: An Analysis
Frank Sharry, the Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum, wrote an interesting article on immigration reform entitled "Our Congress Debated Immigration Reform For Two Years, And All We Got Was This Lousy Fence Bill?" Click here for the article. Frank also argues for a more liberal admissions system that better meets the nation's economic needs.
World Migration Map Data Tool
The Migration Information Source is pleased to announce the expansion of our new World Migration Map Data Tool. This Data Tool shows the origins and destinations of migrants to and from nearly every country in the world. As of today, the World Migration Map provides data on Central America, the Caribbean, and North America in addition to South America. In all, you can find data on the 50 countries of the Americas. Check this cool site out by clicking here.
Latest Federal Government Estimate of Undocumented Immigrant Population
The U.S. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services estimated that there were 10.5 million unauthorized foreigners in the US in January 2005, up from 8.5 million in January 2000. About 57 percent of the unauthorized were Mexican, followed by four percent each from El Salvador and Guatemala. Some 26 percent of all unauthorized were in California, followed by 13 percent in Texas and eight percent in Florida. Some 3.1 million unauthorized foreigners entered the US between 1995 and 1999, and another 3.1 million entered between 2000 and 2005 (some later left or became legal residents). Click here for the estimate and related information.
In March 2006, the Pew Hispanic Center estimate that there were between 11.5 and 12 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. Click here for the report.
Breaking News: Immigrants with Darker Complexions Earn Less than Fairer Immigrants
The Washington Post has an interesting story today reporting that Vanderbilt University economist Joni Hersch found that legal immigrants to the United States who had darker complexions or were shorter earned less money than their fair-skinned or taller counterparts with similar jobs, training and backgrounds. Even swarthy whites from abroad earned less than those with lighter skin. Click here for the full story.
This study os consistent with previous studies finding that, controlling for other variables, darker, more indigeneous-appearing Latina/os earn less, and have more positive life outcomes, than fairer-complected Latina/os. This all makes one wonder what role race and racial discrimination continues to play in the workplace in teh United States.
October 17, 2006
Democrats for the Border Fence
There are some surprising names on this list of Democrats, including the two California Senators, who voted for the border fence bill recently passed by Congress:
Baucus, Bayh, Biden, Boxer, Byrd, Carper, Clinton, Conrad, Dayton, Dodd, Dorgan, Feinstein, Harkin, Johnson, Kohl, Landrieu, Lincoln, Mikulski, Nelson (FL,) Nelson (NE,) Obama, Pryor, Rockefeller, Schumer, Stabenow and Wyden.
Eleventh Circuit Asylum Decision Involving Claim of Religiously-Based Persecution
Here is the punch line (care of Dan Kowalski) from an Eleventh Circuit asylum decision that vacated a BIA ruling denying relief:
"Mezvrishvili credibly testified to instances of abuse on account of his belief as a Jehovah's Witness, but the Immigration Judge found that Mezvrishvili lacked adequate knowledge about or commitment to that faith and denied Mezvrishvili's application for asylum. Mezvrishvili petitions for review of a decision of the BIA, which cryptically discounted the finding of the Immigration Judge that Mezvrishvili lacked sufficient religious knowledge, but affirmed the order of the Immigration Judge. Because the BIA and the Immigration Judge failed to give reasoned consideration to Mezvrishvili's application and make adequate findings, we grant the petition for review, vacate the decisions of the BIA and the Immigration Judge, and remand for proceedings consistent with this opinion."
Mezvrishvili v. Attorney General, Oct. 17, 2006.
Click here for the full opinion.
Arguments in D.C. Circuit on Access to Immigrant Information
A federal court of appeals will hear arguments today in a case that has broad implications in the debate over illegal immigration and the public's right to know about illegal immigrant convicts who have not been deported, as required by law. Cox Newspapers is asserting that the Justice Department should release the names, birth dates and identity numbers of illegal immigrants who have served prison time for serious crimes, including child molestation, manslaughter, drug dealing and drunken driving. Cox, which publishes the Austin American-Statesman, hopes to use the data to show how many illegal immigrant convicts are slipping back into communities undetected rather than being deported to their native countries, as federal law requires. Cox revealed in a published report four years ago that hundreds of felons in Georgia were never picked up by immigration officials after serving their sentences. Click here or the full story.
Court Order in California Undocumented Students Case
Here is a copy of the order on demurrers of the California state court in the action brought chalenging a california law allowing certain undocumented students to pay in-state fees at the University of Califoirnia. Download regents_order_10062006_033944pm.pdf