Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Election Year Antics

California State Attorney General Bill Lockyer has launched what he calls an "aggressive" investigation into a mysterious mailer sent to Latino voters in Orange County, California warning them it's illegal for immigrants to vote. The mailer – sent on letterhead from the California Coalition for Immigration Reform – warns voters in Spanish that those who do vote could end up in jail. It also says federal officials are keeping a searchable database – available to anti-illegal immigration groups – that tracks people casting votes. "It's clear intimidation," said John Trasvina, interim president and general counsel for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. "It's targeted to foreign-born voters, as opposed to newly registered."  Click here and here for news stories on the mailer.

The site of a great increase in the Latino/a population in the last twenty years, Orange County allso has been the site of a good deal of anti-immigrant activity. Minuteman founder Jim Gilchrist unsuccessfully ran for Congress in the OC.

Thanks to UC Davis law alum Che Salinas for this story!


October 17, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Commentary on the "Immigration Divide" in the United States

Tamar Jacoby has a fascinating article in Foreign Affairs (Nov.-Dec. 2006).  She contends that The United States is far less divided on immigration than the current debate would suggest. An overwhelming majority of Americans want a combination of tougher enforcement and earned citizenship for the 12 million illegal immigrants in the country. Washington's challenge is to translate this consensus into sound legislation that will start to repair the nation's broken immigration system.  For the article, click here.


October 17, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Immigration Happenings at the University of Chicago

There are some interesting immigration developments going on in the heartland.

University of Chicago Law School to House Immigrant Children's Advocacy Project

The University of Chicago Law School and children's rights lawyer Maria Woltjen have teamed up to expand the Immigration Children's Advocacy Project, a national initiative that provides child protection advocates to unaccompanied immigrant children in federal custody. Woltjen, director and founder of the program and newly appointed Lecturer in Law at the Law School, launched the project independently in 2003. She is now bringing it to the University of Chicago where law students will serve as child advocates to undocumented children in the United States without parents or legal guardians who were apprehended by immigration authorities.   For more details, click here.

Immigration Conference

On October 27-28, the University of Chicacgo Legal Forum is hosting a conference on Immigration Law and Policy. Participants include Adam Cox (Chicago), Howard Chang (Pennsylvania), Michael A. Olivas (Houston), Peter Schuck (Yale), Lesley Wexler (Florida State). Mae Ngai (Columbia), Teresa Miller (Buffalo), Hiroshi Motomura (North Carolina), Maria Woltjen (Chicago), Adam Cox (Chicago), Eric Posner (Chicago), Lenni Benson (New York), Nancy Morawetz (NYU), Muneer Ahmad (American), Susan Gzesh (Chicago), Cristina Rodriguez (NYU), Phil Martin (UC Davis: Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics), Belinda Reyes (San Francisco State), Michael Wishnie (Yale),   Also, immigration blogsters JMC and KJ will participate.


October 17, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

New Immigraton Articles

Davenport, Maria-Teresa. Note. Deportation and driving: felony DUI and reckless driving as crime of violence following ... (Leocal v. Ashcroft, 543 U.S. 1, 2004.) 96 J. Crim. L. & Criminology 849-875 (2006).

Hood, Rory T. Note. Guantanamo and citizenship: an unjust ticket home? 37 Case W. Res. J. Int'l L. 555-578 (2006).


October 17, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, October 16, 2006

Colleges Add Courses on Immigration

As the immigrant population swells and the country continues to be divided over immigration laws, courses on the topic are increasingly making their way into classrooms in the area and across the nation, educators said. Diverse student bodies, globalization and the media spotlight on immigration have fueled interest in the topic among university faculty, administrators and students. Click here.


October 16, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Civil Rights Lawyer Stewart Sentenced To 28 Months

A firebrand civil rights lawyer who has defended Black Panthers and anti-war radicals was sentenced Monday to nearly 2 1/2 years in prison -- far less than the 30 years prosecutors wanted -- for helping an imprisoned terrorist sheik communicate with his followers on the outside. Lynne Stewart, 67, smiled, cried and hugged supporters after U.S. District Judge John G. Koeltl pronounced the sentence of 28 months. The judge said Stewart was guilty of smuggling messages between her client and his followers that could have "potentially lethal consequences." He called the crimes "extraordinarily severe criminal conduct." But in departing from federal guidelines that called for 30 years behind bars, he cited Stewart's more than three decades of dedication to poor, disadvantaged and unpopular clients. "Ms. Stewart performed a public service, not only to her clients, but to the nation," Koeltl said. The judge said Stewart could remain free while she appeals, a process that could take more than a year.


October 16, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Non-Immigration News: Moment of Silence -- CBGBs a Punk Rock Mecca Closes its Doors

It is old news for the world but new to this blog.  Last week, the world's punk rock mecca CBGBs in New York City closed its doors.  It was a home for some of the cutting edge punk bands of the late 1970s, including the Ramones, Blondie. Talking Heads, and many more.

16cbgb_sign 16cbgb_ramones


October 16, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1)

New York Times Magazine Article on the Politics of Immigration


The New York Times Magazine (October 15) has an interesting article entitled "The Border Dividing Arizona" by JOSEPH LELYVELD on the politics of immigration during an election year.  It starts like this:

When House Republicans calculated that their best bet for saving their majority was to run this fall as if illegal immigration and border security were the most urgent issues facing the country — bigger by far than that great unmentionable, Iraq — they were finally speaking the language of a Republican state legislator from Mesa, Ariz., named Russell Pearce. The Arizonan was there before Tom Tancredo, the Colorado congressman who talks of making a run for the White House on the issue; there before even Lou Dobbs and Rush Limbaugh if not Pat Buchanan. A fast-talking former cop, Pearce went into electoral politics only after it became clear that he wouldn’t soon be able to realize his dream of becoming sheriff of Maricopa County, the area around Phoenix where more than half of Arizona lives. As a lawmaker, Pearce hasn’t just embraced the issue of illegal immigration as a tactic; for him it’s a passion — his opponents say an obsession — “the root cause” of almost any other problem Arizona and the nation face. Talk about terrorists and high crime rates, he’ll say the border is undefended. Are schools failing? They’re being overwhelmed by “a population that don’t put a high value to education.” Are there a million people in Arizona without health care? “Yeah, they broke into the country illegally. They came into the country poor, they’re gonna stay poor. You’ve imported them!”

Click here for the full story.

On eof the fascinating aspects of the immigration debate is that it is not simply a Red State/Blue State, Liberal/Conservative issue.  There are restrictionist (and pro-immigrant) wings of both the Republican and Democratic Parties.  We will see how the immigration debate of 2006 plays out in the elections of 2006.  it should be an interesting November!


October 16, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

New Human Rights Project at Boston College

The Post-Deportation Human Rights Project, based at Boston College's newly established Center for Human Rights and International Justice, is a pilot program designed to counsel, support, and represent individuals who have been deported from the United States; to investigate the effects of harsh deportation policies on families and communities; to advocate, in collaboration with these families and communities, for fundamental changes that will introduce legal predictability, proportionality, compassion, and respect for family unity into U.S. immigration law and policy; and to reframe deportation policy as a matter of international human rights. (It may also be known to some of you as the “Ruby Slippers Project.”) Through close work with community-based organizations and those most directly affected, this initiative addresses the psycho-social impact of deportation on individuals and communities and provides legal support and technical assistance to facilitate community responses. The Project incorporates research and policy analysis, field work by social work, psychology, and education graduate students, and legal representation by staff attorneys, law students, and pro bono counsel. Attached is a concept paper describing the Project in more detail. We welcome your comments. We are also interested in hearing from you regarding cases that might fit within our mandate. We are currently handling the following types of matters: 1) Individuals who were unlawfully removed (for example, situations in which a respondent had a valid citizenship claim, or some other sort of gross error occurred in removal proceedings or appeals); 2) Individuals who are eligible for a waiver to reenter the U.S. on an immigrant visa; 3) Individuals who are seeking to return temporarily to the U.S. on a non-immigrant visa to visit family members left behind. Because of limited resources we will be able to accept only a very small number of cases. However, we are also interested in collaborating with practitioners and law school clinics handling such matters, and would like to hear from you about any experiences you’ve had with these issues in the past. We envision this project as a seed that we hope you can help to grow.

You can reach the Project at PDHRP@bc.edu

or reach the individuals involved at the following addresses: Prof. Dan Kanstroom: kanstroo@bc.edu

Supervising Attorney Kathleen Gillespie: gilleskb@bc.edu

Supervising Attorney Rachel Rosenbloom: rachel.rosenbloom.1@bc.edu


October 16, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

CRS Report for Congress Foreign Students in the United States: Policies and Legislation

For a Congressional Research Service report summarizing the law and policy issues surrounding foreign students, click here.


October 16, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Alien Tort Statute Training

The Alien Tort Statute
Litigating International Human Rights Cases in U.S. Courts

A California MCLE – 6 General Credits and 1 Ethics Credit

Sponsored by the Center for Constitutional Rights and Hastings International and Comparative Law Review

Saturday, November 11, 2006, 8:45am - 5:00pm

UC Hastings College of the Law

San Francisco, CA 94102

Pre-Registration deadline: November 3, 2006

Register online at http://www.ccr-ny.org/cle

Over the past 25 years, the Alien Tort Statute (ATS, also known as the Alien Tort Claims Act, or ATCA) has allowed non-U.S. citizens to sue for human rights abuses in U.S. Courts.  Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) attorneys rediscovered the statute in the 1970’s and, in 1979, filed a claim under the ATS and won the landmark case, Filártiga v. Peña-Irala.  In that case, CCR helped Paraguayan nationals Joel and Dolly Filártiga win justice for the torture and murder of 17 year-old Joelito Filártiga, Joel's son and Dolly's brother.  This training will provide an overview and introduction to the ATS and related statutes.  Sessions will cover suits against foreign officials, U.S. officials, and corporations.  Participants will gain insight into the evolution of the ATS and related statutes as wells as current issues and strategic considerations in their use today.


Pre-registration rates (by November 3, 2006):

Full program: $150 (includes materials and lunch)

Non-credit: $100 (includes materials and lunch)

Low-income: $50 (includes materials and lunch)

Students: $15 (includes lunch)

At-door registration rate:

Full program: $175 (includes materials and lunch*)

*depending on the number of day-of registrants, lunch may not be available.

Register online at http://www.ccr-ny.org/cle

or mail payment to ATTN: Lauren Melodia

Center for Constitutional Rights

666 Broadway, Seventh floor

New York, NY 10012

Please note: Hastings International and Comparative Law Review certifies that this activity has been approved for MCLE credit by the State Bar of California.

The Agenda

Registration & sign-in (8:00-8:45) Coffee and a light breakfast will be served.

Welcome & opening remarks (8:45-9:00)

Session I:  (9:00-9:50) Overview of the ATS and Other Statutes

Session I will provide an introduction to the Alien Tort Statute (ATS) and other laws used to enforce international human rights in U.S. courts.  This panel will review the different requirements of the ATS, the Torture Victim Protection Act (TVPA), 28 U.S.C. 1331, the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA), the Anti-Terrorism Act, and state laws, including their respective requirements regarding violations, plaintiffs and defendants. 

SESSION II: (10:00-10:50) ATS Case Development from Filártiga to Sosa

This session will trace the evolution of the ATS since the landmark 1980 decision in Filártiga v. Peña Irala, which found that the ATS permitted the Paraguayan family of a torture victim to sue in U.S. courts. This session will discuss constitutionality and interpretive issues of the ATS and review the development of cases brought in the 1980’s and 1990’s. The session will also include a careful review of the Supreme Court’s 2004 decision in Sosa v. Alvarez-Machain, which confirmed the right of foreign victims of international human rights violations to sue in U.S. courts. The impact of specific aspects of the Sosa decision on ATS litigation will be emphasized.

SESSION III: (11:00-11:50) Direct and Indirect Liability

Session III will begin the day’s discussion of the theories of defendants’ potential liability.  It will address direct liability for individuals and corporations, indirect liability, such as aiding and abetting liability, and command responsibility for both civilian and military officials.   

SESSION IV: (12:00-12:50) Government Immunities

This Session will delve into governmental immunity defenses for foreign governments and officials, including diplomatic, head of state and consular immunities, and for the U.S. Government and officials, including the Westfall Act and other efforts to preclude judicial review, such as the state secrets privilege.   

Lunch: (1:00-1:50) Roundtable discussion

Box lunches will be provided, and participants will have the opportunity to discuss pending issues facing ATS litigators with CLE faculty.

SESSION V: (2:00-2:50) Issues Particular to Corporations

This Session will closely examine legal issues unique to human rights cases against corporations, including corporate structure issues and theories of liability, such as aiding and abetting, conspiracy, joint venture, and agency.  Specific issues relating to military contractors and suits against corporate officers will also be discussed.   

SESSION VI: (3:00-3:50) General Defenses

Session VI will provide an in-depth review of the most common defenses to ATS and related claims, including the political question, act of state and comity doctrines, exhaustion of domestic remedies, forum non conveniens, and statutes of limitations.

SESSION VII: (4:00-4:50) Considerations in Preparing a Manageable Case

This Session will discuss practical issues pertaining to bringing an ATS case, including issues unique to representing victims of human rights abuses living in other countries, bringing class actions, gathering evidence, funding the litigation, and enforcing judgments. 

RECEPTION (5:00-7:00) Please join us for more discussion, cocktails, and hors d’oeuvres.


The Faculty

William Aceves is Professor of Law and Director of the International Legal Studies Program at California Western School of Law and a cooperating attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights.  His latest book is The Anatomy of Torture: A Documentary History of Filártiga v. Peña-Irala (2006).

Almudena Bernabeu is the International Attorney at the Center for Justice & Accountability, where she focuses on the investigation and preparation of cases including those against Honduran and Salvadoran perpetrators. 

Judith Brown Chomsky is a civil and human rights lawyer for the past 30 years and a cooperating attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights. She was lead counsel in Doe v. Karadzic and Doe v. Unocal, and is currently lead counsel in Wiwa v. Royal Dutch Petroleum.

Cindy Cohn is Legal Director for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which handles impact litigation in the area of digital technology and civil liberties.  She is co-counsel in  Bowoto v. Chevron.

Rhonda Copelon is a Board Member of the Center for Constitutional Rights and Professor and Director of the International Women’s Human Rights Law Clinic at CUNY School of Law.  She litigated Filártiga v. Peña-Irala and has contributed significantly to the recognition of international women’s rights.

Moira Feeney is a Staff Attorney and Media Coordinator for the Center for Justice & Accountability, lead CJA attorney in Doe v. Constant, and counsel in Jean v. Dorelian.

Katherine Gallagher is a Staff Attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights.  Before joining CCR, she worked at the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in the trial section of the Office of the Prosecutor.

Jennie Green is a Senior Staff Attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights and, for the past 15 years, has specialized in international human rights legal actions in U.S. courts and international bodies against multinational corporations, foreign officials and U.S. officials. 

Matt Eisenbrandt is Legal Director of the Center for Justice & Accountability.  He was lead counsel and a member of the trial teams in Doe v. Saravia and Chavez v. Carranza, as well as counsel in CJA suits concerning Haiti, Honduras and China.

Paul Hoffman is a partner in the law firm of Schonbrun, DeSimone, Seplow, Harris & Hoffman LLP and a cooperating attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights.   He has been at the forefront of ATS litigation for the last 25 years and argued Sosa v. Alvarez-Machain before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Maria LaHood is a Staff Attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights, where she works on cases seeking to hold government officials and corporations accountable for human rights violations, including Maher Arar v. Ashcroft et al., the first case to challenge “extraordinary rendition.”

Naomi Roht-Arriaza is a Professor of Law at Hastings Law School, where she teaches international human rights, torts, and domestic and global environmental law and policy.  She is the author of The Pinochet Effect: Transnational Justice in the Age of Human Rights (2005).


The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) is a non-profit legal and educational organization dedicated to protecting and advancing the rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  In its 40 years advocating for human rights, CCR has led the way in litigating international human rights cases in U.S. courts. Hastings International and Comparative Law Review (HICLR) was founded in 1976 to address the increasing practical importance of international law and the benefits to be derived from comparative analysis. HICLR provides academic analysis, provokes reexamination of our legal system, and introduces students to techniques of international and comparative research. For more information, call 212.614.6481 or email events@ccr-ny.org


October 15, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Commentary on Russell Pearce

Interesting commentary by Robert Robb of the Arizona Republic:

"There are a couple of points to be made about the Russell Pearce flaps last week over the use of the term "Operation Wetback" and the forwarding of an article from a racist group to an e-mail list.

The first is that Pearce doesn't represent mainstream thinking even among immigration restrictionists.

Pearce actually believes that the solution to illegal immigration is to round up illegals for mass deportations. I've been on a panel with him and heard him say that very thing.

Mainstream restrictionists, for example at the Center for Immigration Studies, instead propose a policy they call attrition.

According to this analysis, if illegal immigrants made a rational decision to come to this country, they can make a rational decision to leave or to stop coming. So, instead of roundups and mass deportations, change the incentives through strict work-eligibility verification requirements and steady enforcement pressure.

The second is that passing on an article without reading it is very characteristic of Pearce. He is frequently only partially informed.

In fact, the real story is that Pearce as leader of the immigration restrictionist movement in Arizona is an unfortunate example of the Peter Principle applied.
• I don't support the attrition approach. I favor a pathway to citizenship for those currently here illegally and I don't flinch at calling it amnesty." Click here.


October 15, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)