Saturday, November 11, 2006
Dear NNIRR members, partners & allies,
Every year we celebrate December 18, International Migrants Day, to call on our countries and governments to uphold and respect the human rights of all migrants and also by signing and implementing the U.N. International Convention on the Rights of Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.
The Migrant Workers Convention was ratified by the U.N. General Assembly on December 18, 1990 and it has only been in the last three years that enough countries ratified it that it has gone into force, but only in those countries which raitified the convention.
This year the National Network is again preparing for educational and organizing activities and forums to celebrate December 18.
Please contact us if you would like to work on this critical action as we continue demanding legalization with full rights, an end to the migrant deaths at the border, demilitarization and accountability, family reunification, labor rights, ending the expansion of contract labor/bracero/guest worker programs, and the fulfilment of the civil rights and civil liberties of all persons, regardless of their immigration or citizenship status.
National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights
Asian American civil rights organizations in Los Angeles and San Francisco announced the results of one of largest multilingual surveys of voter opinion conducted in the state. The Asian Pacific American Legal Center of South California (APALC) and the Asian Law Caucus (ALC) surveyed 4,713 voters at polling places throughout Los Angeles and San Francisco Counties and the City of Oakland this past Tuesday.
“This exit poll provides valuable insights into the opinions of California’s growing Asian American electorate,” said Stewart Kwoh, Executive Director of APALC. “As one of the fastest growing populations in the state, it is important that policy makers understand the concerns and positions of Asian American communities.”
The poll sampled voter opinions on four state propositions, finding broad support in the state’s two most populous regions for Proposition 1C, the housing bond, and Proposition 1D, to increase spending on schools. Asian Americans also strongly supported increasing tobacco taxes to fund health care. The survey revealed some differences of opinion on Proposition 85, a proposal that would have required parental notification of abortions. A majority of Asian Americans voted in favor of the proposal in Los Angeles, while the proposal was supported by only a minority of Asian American voters in San Francisco and Oakland.
The poll showed Asian American voters had mixed opinions on the candidates for governor. In Los Angeles County, Asian Americans were divided over the governor’s race. In San Francisco and Oakland Asian American voters favored Phil Angelides. However, supporters of both candidates supported an agenda for expanded government support for health care, housing, and schools.
The poll surveyed voters of all races and nationalities and was conducted in nine languages. It revealed common interests amongst diverse voters. On the hotly debated immigration issue, the poll found broad and diverse support for providing a process of undocumented immigrants to become citizens. 90% of Latino, 70% of African American, and 68% of Asian American voters expressed support for a legalization program. Regarding an issue likely to appear in upcoming state elections, Asian American voters also showed support for same-sex marriages. 51% of Asian American voters in Los Angeles stated they opposed a continued ban on same-sex marriages, while 68% of Asian Americans in San Francisco and 72% in Oakland expressed a similar opinion. On another likely future ballot topic, 80% Asian Americans in all regions expressed strong support for increasing racial diversity in public education.
“Amidst our diversity of languages and communities, this poll shows that Asian Americans in both Northern and Southern California share many values and concerns,” said Gen Fujioka, Director of Programs for the Asian Law Caucus. “The poll shows support for an agenda to improve public schools, housing, and health care and a desire to build a more inclusive society. This poll offers us the elements of a policy agenda for the up coming year.”
Download Accompanying Data Table
Friday, November 10, 2006
"Tracked in America: Stories from the History of U.S. Government Surveillance," a newly launched online documentary, marks the most comprehensive effort to examine the history of surveillance in America. Featured on the site are the personal stories of 25 individuals affected by surveillance and six historians who chronicle surveillance and dissent in America from 1798 to today.
In the documentary’s first-person audio accounts, a range of people describe their experiences with surveillance through different periods of U.S. history: World War I and World War II, the Red Scares of the McCarthy era, the civil rights movement, protests against the Vietnam War, the sanctuary movement of the 1980s, and our current post-9/11 era.
Visit the free documentary here.
The AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN (November 10) reports that an LBJ High School (Austin, Texas) senior will be among 14 students vying for thousands of dollars in prize money in the Southwestern Regional Finals of the prestigious Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology at the University of Texas at Austin this weekend. Tiffany Tsang, and her teammates, Kimberly Yeh, a sophomore at Austin High School in Sugar Land, and Yangluo "Jim" Wang, also an LBJ senior, worked for three months to formulate a method for dispersing traffic congestion. But Wang won't be competing. He's not even identified as a creator of the project, because Siemens stipulates that all teammates must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents with green cards. Wang has a temporaryvisa. And now, the College Board, which administers the competition, could call into question the legitimacy of the Tsang-and-Yeh team, because the project was an effort of all three students, and only two are receiving full credit. It's analogous, they say, to a student not being present at the competition. Click here for the details.
One can only asky one question -- "why"?
Thanks to Cappy White for another story!
During the summer, as the U.S. House failed to move forward to complete legislative action, frustrations by anti-immigrant activists led to a small number of cities and town attempting to enact restrictions and prohibitions against illegal immigrants at the local level. MALDEF strongly opposes and will continue to fight local ordinances because they threaten to discriminate against all Latinos, citizen and newcomer alike. This guide describes the ordinances and their legal flaws, and provides arguments than can be utilized against them. Click here to see the toolkit.
Yesterday, John Trasviña was named President and General Counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. A graduate of Stanford Law School, Trasviña has served in this position on an interim basis since last spring. As President and General Counsel, he will head the leading Mexican-American civil rights advocacy group in the United States. MALDEF long has taken a lead on civil rights, immigration, education, voring rights, and related issues for Latina/os. www.maldef.org
For a very pro-immigrant reading of the election results by Frank Sharry, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum, Download sharry.rtf
There are many claims that the election looks good for meaningful, comprehensive immigration reform. To me, the takeover of the Congress by the Democrats may mean no Sensenbrenner-type bill and possibly the come-back of the type of "comprehensive" immigration reform bill passed earlier this year in the Senate. But do the elections mean any more than that? I am not sure.
From the Edward Trammell blog:
The ongoing debate about immigration reform usually focuses on whether or not immigration is good for the United States Comparatively little ink has been spilled about the other side of the coin: how does U.S. immigration policy affect other countries? Do our largely open door policies benefit or harm the rest of the world? Unquestionably, many individual immigrants benefit-- at least in the short run--by coming to the United States. Although the economic differentials between America and the rest of the world are often exaggerated to audiences abroad, there is still more opportunity here than just about anywhere else. Open U.S. immigration policy also benefits foreign countries when its citizens funnel dollars to their home countries. Several Latin American nations are now heavily dependant on dollar transfers from expatriate workers in the United States. In 1999, the tiny South American nation of Ecuador dropped all pretenses and even made the U.S. dollar its national currency.
The commentary proceeds to discuss the "Brain Drain." Click here for the full commentary.
Los Angeles, CA – Latino candidates continue to reach new milestones in Congress and state houses across the nation, according to an analysis of Election 2006 conducted by the National Association of
Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund. In state races, Latinos are also demonstrating significant political progress in communities with emerging Latino populations.
U.S. Senate: In the U.S. Senate, Robert Menendez (D) won election to serve his first full term as the nation’s first Latino U.S. Senator from New Jersey. In addition to Menendez, the Latino delegation in the U.S. Senate continues to include Senator Mel Martinez (R-FL) and Senator Ken Salazar (D-CO), neither of whom were up for election this year.
U.S. House of Representatives: In the U.S. House, all Latino Democratic incumbents won their re-election campaigns. They will be joined by State Representative Albio Sires (D-NJ), who gained
the seat formerly held by Robert Menendez before he was appointed to the U.S. Senate. All three Latino Republican incumbents in Florida were also successful in their re-election bids.
As a result of the June 2006 Supreme Court ruling on Texas’ 2003 Congressional redistricting, a panel of federal judges changed the boundaries of certain Texas Congressional districts, including District 23, currently held by U.S. Representative Henry Bonilla (R). As a result, the November election in this district was a special election, with five Democratic candidates challenging Bonilla. To win the special election and avoid a run-off battle, a candidate needed to get at least a majority of the vote. None of the candidates received a majority, so U.S. Representative Bonilla will face former U.S. Representative Ciro Rodriguez (D) in a run-off contest scheduled for December 2006. Because both candidates are Latino, this race’s outcome will not affect the total number of Latinos in the House – that number will be 23. However, should Bonilla win, there will be 19 Latino Democrats and 4 Latino Republicans. Should Rodriguez win, there will be 20 Latino Democrats and 3 Latino Republicans. (See Table 1)
As of this writing, unofficial election results from New Mexico indicate that State Attorney General Patricia Madrid (D) is trailing slightly in her bid to unseat incumbent U.S. Rep. Heather Wilson (R),
and final election results will not be available until a hand-count of about 5,500 ballots is completed. Should Madrid emerge victorious, there will be another Democrat in our nation’s Latino Congressional delegation, and the eighth Latina.
Statewide Officials: In New Mexico, Latinos will hold three statewide positions. Gov. Bill Richardson (D) won his re-election bid. Bernalillo County Clerk Mary Herrera (D) will become the new Secretary of State and State Representative Hector Balderas (D) will serve as State Auditor. In Idaho, Republican Tom Luna emerged victorious in his race for State Superintendent of Public Instruction.
In Oregon, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Susan Castillo garnered enough votes in Oregon’s May primary to win re-election for another term.
State Senates: Minnesota State Program Administrator Patricia Torres Ray (D) made history by becoming the first Latina to be elected to the Minnesota State Senate. The total number of Latino state senators may decline from 60 to 58, depending on the outcome of an extremely close State Senate race in California, where according to the latest unofficial election results, Orange County Supervisor and former State Assemblymember Lou Correa (D) trails Republican Lynn Daucher by 138 votes. Should Correa ultimately win, there will still be a net loss of one Latino State Senate seat. The NALEO Educational Fund attributes this to some unique political developments in this election cycle
rather than a long-term erosion of Latino political progress. For example, three Latino State Senators did not run for re-election, and no Latinos ran to replace them. State Senator Sam Zamarripa (D-GA), and veteran lawmakers State Senator Philip Jimeno (D-MD) and State Senator Gonzalo Barrientos (D-TX), all chose to retire from office. (See Table 2)
State Lower Houses: In state lower houses, Latinos saw a very modest overall net gain of two seats, bringing the total number of Latinos in lower state chambers to 180. The Latino Democratic delegations in seven states each gained one additional member: Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Nevada, Texas, and Wyoming. Latino Republican delegations in Idaho, New Mexico and New York also each gained one additional member, including Schoharie County Clerk and former state legislative staff member Peter D. Lopez, who is the first Latino to be elected to the
State Assembly from upstate New York. (See Table 3)
Analysis of the lower State House gains also reveals the political progress of Latino candidates in states with emerging Latino communities. In the nine states with traditional Latino population concentrations (Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, and Texas), there was a total net loss of one seat. However, in the other states, there is a net gain of three seats.
According to Arturo Vargas, Executive Director of the NALEO Educational Fund, “Latinos in states with emerging communities are writing the next chapter of our political history. They are demonstrating that they can attract votes from and represent diverse constituents. Latinos serving in top federal and state positions have the power to address the issues that are most important to our community, and all Americans: education, economic opportunity, and our involvement in the war in Iraq. Latinos will continue to show that they can provide leadership on these issues for all Americans – our future political progress depends on it.”
For Table click: NALEO Election
2006 Latino Candidate Results
Thursday, November 9, 2006
Here is the beginning of a response from John Fonte of the Hudson Institute to a recent commentary posted on this blog by Tamar Jacoby but more of a challenge to the comprehensive approach to immigration reform previously endorsed by the U.S. Senate:
You are everywhere these days promoting the McCain-Kennedy "slow motion" amnesty plan for illegal immigrants. I commend your energy and spirited advocacy, while strongly disagreeing with your recommendations and the "tempered" multicultural ideology behind them. My principal objection is that you over-emphasize economics and deal only superficially with America's twin national interests in border security and patriotic assimilation. Further, the economic points that you raise are themselves open to question. You and I agree that the United States has been more successful in assimilating immigrants than any other country in the history of the world. The reason for that success, however, is that from George Washington to Theodore Roosevelt, Americans have insisted upon the "Americanization" or patriotic assimilation of immigrants. Today, America's elites no longer promote serious assimilation. Instead, our de-facto policy is mass, low-skilled immigration combined with weak border security and anti-assimilation practices (ethnic group preferences for newcomers, bilingualism, multiculturalism and tolerance of dual citizenship). Your policy recommendations—reflected both in McCain-Kennedy style legislation and your book, Reinventing the Melting Pot—do not challenge these anti-assimilation practices.
Click here for more. Although I read the piece, I was having a hard time this morning accessing the website, which may be down for now.
1. Trafficking in Persons: A Human Rights Based Approach
Contact: APURBA KHATIWADA Affiliation Unknown Full Text: http://ssrn.com/abstract=899111
ABSTRACT: Human Beings' fight for their existence has never been so intense, they survived the physical infliction of pain from war weapons but it seems the invasion on their dignity in the form of slavery, forced prostitution, experimental dummy, organ smuggling and so forth has been unprecedented in inflicting the pain and misery in millions and millions of lives across the globe. "Right to Dignified Life" is most probably the beginning and ultimate end of Human Rights Principle. But it is also true that the untold misery of people now days has to do with obliteration of this very basic Human Rights notion, even though people are not made to die they are left with no self-dignity, no voice and no remedy just a mere physical existence, that's all. People are loosing their control over themselves, they don't have control over their own body, work and their movement. And perhaps, all will agree that the most obvious reason is Trafficking in Persons.
2. Why Children of Non-Documented Residents Should Have Access to Kidney Transplantation: Arguments for Lifting the Federal Ban on Reimbursement Transplantation, Forthcoming Contact: MARY SIMMERLING University of Chicago, University of Chicago - MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics, Chicago Transplant Ethics Consortium Co-Author: AVIVA GOLDBERG Independent Author Co-Author: JOEL FRADER Northwestern University. Abstract: http://ssrn.com/abstract=900269 ABSTRACT: Current US legislation restricts reimbursement for organ transplantation for non-documented residents. This legislation makes it difficult for many immigrants, including children, to access the transplants they need. In this paper, we offer moral, economic, and legal reasons for thinking that that non-documented immigrants deserve the same access to kidney transplantation as legal residents do. Continued support for the ban on reimbursement for organ transplantation for non-documented residents appears to be based on unjustified fears and unsupported assumptions about the medical and financial costs to US citizens that would result from lifting the ban. We argue that such reasoning is not a solid basis for determining eligibility for lifesaving therapy for the neediest members of our society. Moreover, we argue that access to health care should be a human right, not a privilege meted out as a reward for good behavior or social worth; the use of arbitrary social criteria as a measure of eligibility for health care is not morally justifiable, even under conditions of scarcity.
Wednesday, November 8, 2006
From Professor Carol Suzuki of the University of New Mexico School of Law:
"I am happy to tell you that New Mexicans voted to repeal the state's Alien Land Act on Tuesday. The law, adopted in 1921, amended the New Mexico constitution to prohibit land ownership by all immigrants ineligible for citizenship. This law formalized anti-Japanese immigration sentiment prevalent in the U.S. in the early 20th century.
"The advocacy of students in the Community Lawyering Clinic, the Law Practice Clinic and the Asian American Law Students Association at the University of New Mexico School of Law was instrumental in placing the resolution on the ballot and educating New Mexicans to vote in favor of the amendment to repeal the Alien Land Act."
The alien land laws were very popular in much of the West in the early twentieth century, when they were directed at Japanese (who were ineligible at the time to naturalize) farmers. A few years ago, Keith Aoki wrote an excellent article in the Boston College Law Review analyzing how the alien land laws served as a prelude to the internment of person sof japanese ancestry during World War II.
Today at 1pm Eastern time, President Bush fielded questions from reporters about how the White House will cope with the new political landscape in Washington. The President mentioned a few areas where he saw the potential for cooperation between the White House and the Democrats in Congress, including issues of the minimum wage and education issues.
He did not affirmatively mention immigration, but the last question of the press conference focused on the issue. Asked if he thought that compehensive immigration reform was an area where the White House and the Democrats in Congress could work together, the President gave an enthusiastic yes and said that he should have mentioned that issue in his earlier discussion regarding potential areas of compromise.
QUESTION: On immigration, many Democrats had more positive things to say about your comprehensive proposal than many Republicans did. Do you think a Democratic Congress gives you a better shot at comprehensive immigration reform?
BUSH: You know, I should've brought this up. I do. I think we have a good chance. Thank you. It's an important issue, and I hope we can get something done on it. I meant to put that in my list of things that we need to get done.
The answer to a follow-up question suggested that the President views a guest worker program as an important component of comprehensive immigration reform.
A link to the full press conference is here.
In a further tightening of immigration rules, Britain on Tuesday announced the latest of several changes this year that have affected highly skilled migrants from India and other non-European Union countries.
The changes have drawn considerable criticism from Indians and others who are already in Britain under various employment categories. Several of them say the changes make them feel unwelcome and will force them to consider moving elsewhere.
Further tightening of immigration rules are expected for non-EU nationals due to the migration to Britain of thousands of nationals from countries that have recently joined the EU.
In April, thousands of Indian doctors were affected by the abolition of 'permit-free training', which had earlier allowed them to take up employment in the National Health Service without a work permit. Doctors of Indian origin have gone to court against this change, and the hearing for a judicial review is expected to take place in December. Click here.
Immigration2006.org is a group of activists and pollsters tracking the impact of the immigration issue on the 2006 elections. Our preliminary analysis of last night's results strongly suggest that very few toss up races were won by Republican candidates who attempted to exploit immigration as a voter motivator. Democrats that back comprehensive immigration reform mostly won their races. And the Republican Party is likely to get smaller as its hard line on immigration drives away Hispanic voters. Of the 15 key races tracked by Immigration2006.org - races where immigration played a key role in the race - the tally sheet currently stands as follows: 12 - 2 - 1 (Kyl kept his Senate seat in Arizona, as expected; Katherine Harris's House seat, FL-13, was won by the Republican; and PA-06 is still undecided). Click here for more analysis.
There soon will be a new and different Congress. What impact will it have on immigration. For thr Grits for Breakfast preliminary view, click here. It always is hard to tell but it seems unlikely that we will see a Sensenbrenner Bill II in the near future.
Tuesday, November 7, 2006
Every day, thousands of people pack the airport in Bolivia's eastern city of Santa Cruz to wave goodbye to friends and relatives.
The people they are saying goodbye to are mostly traveling to Spain under rules that allow tourists from Bolivia to enter Spain without visas. But the travelers are in search less of a vacation than of a better way of life.Bolivia, land-locked and poverty-stricken, has been in the midst of an exodus of its workers since August, when the Spanish government said it may start requiring Bolivian tourists to get a visa before coming to Spain. Click here.
Issues of terrorism, the economy and government scandal have been on voters minds at the polls. Ditto for immigration. David Stout reports for the New York Times story, here, that :
Immigration was also cited as a vital issue by six out of 10 voters. Just over half those polled said immigrants should be granted an opportunity to apply for legal status — but four in 10 said illegal immigrants should be deported.
Of course, our options on immigration reform are not as stark as the poll presents them. But it provides a sort of simplistic snapshot of the sentiment on immigration, and it will be interesting to see how these views play out tonight, and over the course of the next year.
The Stanford Legal Clinic invites applicants for a clinical teaching fellowship in its Immigrants' Rights Clinic ("IRC"). The fellow will have the opportunity to be part of the thriving clinical community at Stanford Law School where, together with the clinical faculty and other fellows, the fellow will represent clients and supervise and train law students who are representing clients. One of the ten clinical programs constituting the Stanford Legal Clinic, the IRC represents individual non-citizen clients in a variety of matters. These include asylum proceedings, immigration court hearings on behalf of non-citizens with criminal convictions, and applications to secure status for non-citizen survivors of domestic violence. The IRC also conducts legal advocacy on behalf of immigrants' rights organizations in a variety of areas, including advocating for immigrants in detention, impact litigation on behalf of immigrants, assisting local organizations with grassroots organizing, developing and distributing know-your-rights materials, legislative advocacy, and enabling immigrants' rights groups to access legal services. More information about the IRC can be found at www.law.stanford.edu/clinics/irc.
Monday, November 6, 2006
Despite recent legal action against the City of Hazleton after it enacted the Illegal Immigration Relief Act, neighboring West Hazleton plans to jump on board, adopting essentially the same law at its Thursday night meeting. Despite recent legal action against the City of Hazleton after it enacted the Illegal Immigration Relief Act, neighboring West Hazleton plans to jump on board, adopting essentially the same law at its Thursday night meeting. West Hazleton will adopt the version that city council amended in September. “Given that other municipalities are passing (IIRA), I think it’s in our best interest (to adopt it),” council President Julie Ehlers said. Mayor Mark Rockovich said inaction by the federal government to enforce its laws have forced small municipalities, such as West Hazleton to take matters into their own hands. Click here for the full story.
Recall that a TRO has been entered barring Hazleton from enforcing its ordinance. Does West Hazleton's new ordinance suggest that local governments will adhere to the law when it comes to immigration?