Saturday, December 23, 2006
Four parents of students who were arrested for participating in a pro-immigrant march filed a class-action lawsuit Thursday accusing a school district and the city of violating their speech and assembly rights. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of 51 Round Rock High School students arrested in March and cited under the city's curfew ordinance, said Jim Harrington, director of the Texas Civil Rights Project, a nonprofit representing the parents and students. Click here and here for news stories on the suit. For the complaint, see Download tellez_v. City of Round Rock.pdf
Here is another stoary about the new slavery by Colbert King of the Washington Post: "Last Tuesday morning, one mile north of the White House, I sat in the upstairs dining room of a Dupont Circle cafe having a cup of tea with a slave. Well actually she's now a runaway slave who's living in the Washington area home of a good Samaritan. But yes, she could have been considered a slave, if you define that as being bound to a specific area of land, forced to work without compensation, stripped of her passport and left at the absolute disposal of a master. She is African. However, unlike her ancestors who arrived in America on slave ships, she came here voluntarily. She was, however, deceived about her working conditions, and she began her involuntary servitude once she entered her master's suburban Maryland household." Dan Kowalski has links to the story at (click here).
The owners of three apartment complexes in the Dallas suburb of Farmers Branch asked a federal judge to declare unconstitutional a new law that bans renting to undocumented immigrants.
Their lawsuit filed Friday also seeks to keep the city from enforcing the ordinance on Jan. 12, when it is scheduled to go into effect.
Last month, City Council members voted to fine landlords who rent to undocumented immigrants, make English the city's official language and allow local authorities to screen suspects in police custody to check their immigration status. Click here.
Migra Matters: Progressive Immigration Reform on Friday offered a "comprensive" look at "comprehensive immigration reform." It is worth a look by clicking here. Among the proposals are the following:
*Formulate a reasonable, humane, fair and practical method for determining the levels of immigration going forward. Perhaps by an independent policy board free from the pressures of political expediency and business interests.
*Providing a path to legalization for all current undocumented immigrants living and working in the US.
*Secure the border by first insuring that the vast majority of immigrants are able to legally enter the country through a legal port of entry. Once the massive flow of immigration through illegal channels is curtailed, then work to physically secure the remainder of the border.
*Address the root causes of immigration, and change US policy so that it doesn't foster and produce conditions that force millions of people each year to leave their countries of origin in order to simply survive. Tie all future trade, military, and foreign aid agreements to not only to worker protections both here and abroad, but also to their ability to foster economic progress for the working class and poor in sender nations.
*Opposition to a "guest worker" program on the grounds that it provides no benefit to the American people or the immigrants themselves. It only provides big business with a disposable work force that holds down real wages and prevents immigrants from becoming a viable force in the workplace or full fledge members of society. *Foster an immigration policy that strengthens the middle and working class through unionization and participation in the electoral process.
*Recognize that immigration is a vital part of maintaining a healthy and vibrant America. It is what has set this nation apart from all others since its inspection. To close our borders to new immigrants is to cut off the lifeblood that has always made this nation grow and prosper.
Friday, December 22, 2006
New Lawsuit Against Department of Homeland Security Alleges Day Laborers May Have Been Detained Unlawfully in Government “Sting”
We reported a few weeks ago the possibility of a lawsuit. On December 14, 2006, five immigrants’ rights groups filed a lawsuit in federal court against the Department of Homeland Security seeking information about a sting operation that resulted in 11 workers being detained in Danbury, Connecticut. The lawsuit alleges that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is unlawfully withholding information about the sting. The plaintiffs – Danbury Area Coalition for the Rights of Immigrants, the Ecuadorian Civic Center of Danbury, JUNTA for Progressive Action, Inc., the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, and Unidad Latina En Accion – are represented by law students who are part of the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization at Yale Law School. The students also represent seven of the 11 day laborers in deportation hearings. If it can be determined from the information gathered in the lawsuit that the day laborers were detained unlawfully, the Yale students will argue that any evidence obtained against the day laborers must not be used by the government in the deportation hearings.
The Center for Gender and Refugee Studies (CGRS) is seeking applications for the Teaching Fellowship in Refugee and Human Rights Law, a two-year position beginning on July 1, 2007. The Fellowship is designed for lawyers with at least three years of practice experience who are interested in preparing for a career in law school clinical teaching. The Fellow will also be involved with CGRS on its national advocacy work on behalf of women seeking asylum from gender persecution. The Center works to advance women's human rights by focusing on gender-based asylum law and broader migration policies, both in the U.S. and internationally. For more information on CGRS, see http://cgrs.uchastings.edu/
The UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA LINGUISTIC MINORITY RESEARCH INSTITUTE has released a report titled "The Growth of the Linguistic Minority Population in the U.S. and California, 1980-2005." According to the report, linguistic minorities represent one of the largest segments of the school-age population in the United States and in California. According to data from the U.S. Census, there were 10.5 million children, age 5-17, living in the United States in 2005 who spoke a language other than English, representing 20 percent of the school-age population (Figure 1). In California, 3.9 million school-age children spoke a language other than English at home, more than 44 percent of the population. Overall, while California is home to 13 percent of all school-age children, it is home to 29 percent of all school-age linguistic minority children in the U.S. Over the last 25 years, the linguistic minority population has exploded relative to the English-only population, both in California and in the rest of the U.S. In California, the linguistic minority population increased 187 percent, while the English-only population increased by only 8 percent. In the U.S. overall, the linguistic minority population increased by 130 percent, while the English-only population actually declined by 1.3 percent. This means that over the last 25 years virtually all of the 5 million additional school age children in the United States were linguistic minorities! Click here to see the data.
SOCIAL SCIENCE RESEARCH NETWORK IMMIGRATION, REFUGEE & CITIZENSHIP LAW ABSTRACTS
Citizenship Talk: Bridging the Gap Between Race and Immigration Perspectives Fordham Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 947474 JENNIFER GORDON & ROBIN LENHARDT Full Text: http://ssrn.com/abstract=947474
"The Social Assimilation of Immigrants" IZA Discussion Paper No. 2439 Author: DOMENICO DE PALO, RICCARDO FAINI, and ASSANDRA VENTURINI Full Text: http://ssrn.com/abstract=947460
"Crossing Borders: Loving v. Virginia as a Story of Migration" Howard Law Journal, Vol. 51, No. 1, Fall 2007 VICTOR C. ROMERO Full Text: http://ssrn.com/abstract=938157
"Strange Decisions" Southwestern Journal of Law and Trade in the Americas, 2006, JAGDEEP S. BHANDARI Abstract: http://ssrn.com/abstract=939171
"Terrorists & Muslims: The Construction, Performance and Regulation of Muslim Identities in the Post-9/11 United States" Rutgers Journal of Law and Religion, Vol. 7, No. 3, April 2006 CYRA AKILA CHOUDHURY Full Text: http://ssrn.com/abstract=939812
Naturalization Fees Are Likely to Increase Significantly in 2007
The NALEO Educational Fund is Advocating Vigorously to Combat the Increase
The United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced its plans to impose a significant increase in the fee to file the application that most newcomers use to apply for U.S. citizenship, the Application for Naturalization (Form N-400). Currently, the fee is $400, and estimates for the proposed increase range from a hike to $600 or even $1,000. The agency anticipates that the new fee could go into effect as early as April 2007.
The USCIS’ Rationale for the Fee Hike and the Comprehensive Fee Study
The USCIS maintains that it must comply with federal statutory and administrative requirements to ensure that the costs of services provided to naturalization applicants are fully covered by the fees those applicants pay. In order to determine the agency’s current costs of providing those services and to justify the amount of the proposed fee hike, the agency has conducted a Comprehensive Fee Study that is being reviewed for approval by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
* The Comprehensive Fee Study has not been made public.
* If the OMB approves the increase, the agency will then continue the administrative process for implementing the fee. This involves publishing notice of the proposed hike in the Federal Register, which is likely to occur in January 2007. Typically, after a proposed fee increase is published in the Federal Register, the public has 60 days to comment on the proposal. Thus, after it reviews the public comments, the USCIS is likely to finally implement the increase in April 2007.
The Fundamental Flaws in Our System of Financing Immigration Services
There have been several significant increases in the naturalization application fee since 1990, when the cost of the application was $90. These increases are the result of a fundamentally-flawed system for financing immigration services:
* Because of Congressional mandates, the revenue collected from naturalization applications and certain other immigration applications must cover the costs of providing services for applicants who are not charged fees. For example, these fee revenues must cover the expenses of adjudicating refugee and asylee applications. Thus, the naturalization application fee essentially contains a “surcharge” to cover the cost of providing services completely unrelated to naturalization. While the NALEO Educational Fund believes that it is humane and fair not to charge refugees and asylees application fees, we also believe that their application costs should not be charged to naturalization applications. Thus, we will continue to urge Congress to make appropriated monies available to fund refugee and asylee applications, and other immigration services for which no fee is charged
* As the USCIS has continued to increase the naturalization fee, it has greatly expanded the type of costs it takes into account to justify the fee hikes. For example, the costs of implementing massive infrastructure improvements (such as computer technology enhancements), or the costs of settling litigation against the agency have essentially been passed on to applicants. While the NALEO Educational Fund believes that the USCIS should have the resources it needs to operate effectively, the funding of its operations should be much more of a partnership between the federal government and naturalization applicants, with Congress appropriating monies to cover infrastructure improvements or costs not directly related to application processing.
* The agency’s proposal for such a significant fee hike raises serious questions about how it calculates the costs of its services, and how it manages its adjudication resources. The questions are particularly important in light of the fact that the USCIS still needs to improve the quality of services provided to naturalization applicants. While it has made some progress in reducing the naturalization backlog, there are still applicants who face long delays in application processing, or who face difficulties in determining the status of their cases.
The NALEO Educational Fund’s Advocacy Efforts Against the Fee Increase
The NALEO Educational Fund believes that greater naturalization benefits our nation, and we know that a high fee increase will create a significant barrier for the millions of eligible legal permanent residents who are eager to become U.S. citizens. Thus, we will continue to advocate vigorously against the imposition of the fee hike. We are working to educate members of Congress about the issue, and we believe our efforts will help us determine the most effective legislative or administrative action to combat the increase.
We encourage Latino elected officials and civic leaders, and organizations that serve the immigrant community, to contact us if you wish to assist us in fighting the increase. If you need more information, or wish to contact us about the fee increase, please contact or e-mail Ms. Diana Mendoza at firstname.lastname@example.org or Mr. William Ramos at email@example.com, or at our Washington, D.C. office, or (202) 546-2536.
Because the proposed increase is imminent, we also encourage all eligible legal permanent residents to apply for U.S. citizenship before the fee hike is imposed. If you need information about applying for U.S. citizenship, please contact Fabian Garcia at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at (213) 747-7606, ext. 142.
Newly elected Governor Duval Patrick has indicated that he does not plan to follow through on outgoing Governor Mitt Romney's accord with immigration enforcement that would have allowed Massachusetts state and local law enforcement officials to detain undocumented immigrants and charge them with violations of immigration law. NYTimes Kate Zezima writes:
Mr. Patrick, a Democrat who takes office on Jan. 4, has said he thinks the troopers have enough to do and should not be enforcing federal law.
“If I have that power, I’m going to rescind that agreement,” he told reporters. “I do believe I have that power.”
Full story is here.
USA Today reports that the South is rising again, this time as a population magnet for immigrants who come for the same reasons that pull Americans there from other states: the warm climate, jobs and cheaper housing, according to an analysis of Census estimates out today. More than half of the population growth in the USA in the past year occurred in southern states. The July 1 estimates also are the first to reflect Hurricane Katrina's devastation: Louisiana suffered a staggering net loss of 219,563 people, the largest annual decline in any state's population since troops were deployed during World War II. Click here for the story.
According to one blog reader, "this is the crux of the immigration problem, and why it is a political issue - the brown Catholic Mexicans are moving to white, Protestant Red States." Any thoughts?
The summer 2006 issue of the Catholic University Law Review includes a "Symposium on Immigration Appeals and Judicial Review" with the folwing contibutions:
Judge John T. Noonan, Jr. (Ninth Circuit), Immigration Law 2006 For this piece, click Download noonan_and_date_geq__06_23_2.pdf
Carlos Ortiz Miranda (U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops), Administrative Appeals and Judicial Review in Immigration Law: Where Matters Stand at the Beginning of the 21st Century
Edward R. Grant (BIA), Laws of Intended Consequences: IIIRA and Other Unsung Contributors to the Current State of Immigration Litigation
John R.B. Palmer (Staff Attorney, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit), The Second Circuit's "New Asylum Seekers": Responses to an Expanded Immigration Docket
Michael M. Hethmon (Immigration Reform Institute), Tsunami Watch on the Coast of Bohemia: The BIA Streamlining Reforms and Judicial Review of Explusion Orders
The Board of Immigration Appeals rejected John Demjanjuk’s appeal against deportation this time around again. The decision on Thursday upheld the chief immigration judge’s 2005 deportation order against Demjanjuk, a former death camp guard.
That judge rejected as baseless Demjanjuk’s claims that he would be tortured were he to be returned to his native Ukraine and that no other country would accept him. Demjanjuk, 86 and living in suburban Cleveland, may still appeal the decision in federal courts.
Demjanjuk was deported to Israel in the 1980s to face charges that he was “Ivan the Terrible,” a guard at Treblinka who killed thousands.
He was acquitted in 1993 and returned to the United States, his citizenship restored; however, U.S. immigration courts subsequently found that Israeli courts had established that Demjanjuk – although not Ivan - was trained as a death camp guard, and re-revoked his citizenship. Click here.
Here is one view of immigration reform:
I do a daily radio talk show on Radio Campesina in Phoenix and, clearly, since the November elections callers are once more allowing themselves to dream of the day their hard, hidden existence comes to an end. Their dreams are tentative and cautious, but nonetheless hope has been resurrected. Yet in Arizona hope is interspersed with anger. Four anti-immigrant referendums passed overwhelmingly, one of which, Proposition 300, will impose steep tuition increases for undocumented community-college and university students. Most legal observers believe it is constitutional. The only resolution lies now in the hands of Congress. Delay in passing comprehensive immigration reform, or at the very least the DREAM Act (which would provide a path to lawful permanent residence for hundreds of thousands of undocumented high-school graduates), will have immediate and tragic consequences for thousands of Latino kids in Arizona. Arizona may be the very tip of the arrow of anti-immigrant racism and hostility, but unfortunately for America, the excesses of hatred are no longer limited to the desert. Hate is contagious. There are legalistic attempts to marginalize, exclude, fire, fine, jail, and deport undocumented workers throughout the United States. The “Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005,” introduced by Representative F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. and passed by the House of Representatives last year, was perhaps the most odious piece of legislation since the Japanese Internment Act. If the House of Representatives could debase itself to such depths, then it should be no surprise that many states, cities, and counties would take license and act accordingly. The onslaught seemed unstoppable…until November 7th. The Democratic majority in Congress now has in its hands the dreams of millions. Dreams are made of fragile stuff. Ignored or left unrealized, they can easily transmogrify into desperation and anger. A dream betrayed can crush a child, a family, indeed a whole people.
Click here for more.
By the way, many adults in the United States believe their elected lawmakers will not deal properly with immigration, according to a poll by Rasmussen Reports (click here). 51 per cent of respondents think it is unlikely for the U.S. Congress to pass a serious immigration reform. Will CXongress prove them wrong in 2007?
The BIA Affirms Termination of Deportation Proceedings in the Case of the "Wilson Four" - Latino Students Profiled in Buffalo
The Board of Immigration Appeals on Nov. 29 concluded that the former Wilson Charter High School students in Phoenix had been wrongly targeted by immigration officials at the Canadian border because of their Hispanic appearance. As a result, a federal immigration judge in July, 2005, was right to throw out the deportation cases against them, the board concluded in a statement rejecting the government's appeal. For the BIA order, click Download nava_wilson_4.pdf
In June, 2002, the students traveled to upstate New York to participate in a solar-powered boat competition. During a side trip to Niagara Falls, immigration officials at the Canadian border interrogated the students for nine hours, and after determining they were in the country illegally, began deportation proceedings. It has been a long ordeal for the students and their families. The incident took place in 2002. The Immigration Judge terminated the removal proceedings in 2005. The BIA ended the case in Nov. 2006. Click here for a news story on the case.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
From the New Republic:
Over the last few years, anti-immigration sentiment in this country has stiffened--not unlike Lou Dobbs's hair. Even the president's conservative supporters moan that the author of the Bush Doctrine has been a ninny when it comes to guarding the Southern border. This growing discontent helps account for the events of the morning of December 12, when the White House launched another campaign of shock and awe. More than 1,000 Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, clad in riot gear, swooped down on six Swift & Co. meatpacking plants. With the news cameras rolling, the agents carted away nearly 1,300 Latino immigrants whom they accused of "identity theft." The most telling crackdown came in Greeley, Colorado, where 261 workers were hauled away, but only ten were arrested for identity theft. This was a theatrical stunt, not the makings of an immigration policy. (emphasis added).
Click here for the story (free registration required).
Elderly and disabled immigrants who fled persecution want disability benefits restored by the United States while they wait to become citizens. A group of them filed a class-action lawsuit in federal district court yesterday contending that bureaucratic delays in processing green cards and citizenship documents have resulted in the loss of benefits since 2003 to 6,000 disabled and elderly refugees throughout the United States, including about 175 in Pennsylvania. Click here for the news story and, for the complaint, click Download kaplan_v. Chertoff.pdf
For 35 years, GW Law has provided effective legal services to the Washington community and beyond through the Jacob Burns Community Legal Clinics. Through strong faculty leadership and skillful student participation, the program has grown steadily into uncharted legal and research territories. Today, it boasts several unique clinics that make an international impact felt by thousands of clients each year. Programs including vaccine injury, mediation, and small business clinics were either pioneered by or can only be found at GW Law.
Alberto M. Benitez, who has led GW Law’s Immigration Law Clinic since 1996, also has witnessed tremendous growth in his clinical field. Established in 1979, the clinic has an outstanding reputation in Washington for defending the rights of resident aliens. “Despite the abundance of lawyers in the United States, there is a critical shortage of competent immigration lawyers,” Benitez says. “Over the years, clinic students have developed an expertise in representing aliens in removal proceedings, dramatically increasing their clients’ odds of remaining lawfully in the United States.” Benitez’s students also have won cases involving controversial issues such as female genital mutilation, torture, and HIV-status, and have obtained freedom from detention for aliens. “Our clinic specializes in preventing aliens’ removal from the country, and our students are very good at it,” says Benitez. “In immigration law, the bureaucracy is so vast and overwhelming that it often seems insurmountable.” The clinic secured a huge victory in August, when an out-of-status alien who had been in the United States since 1988 became a lawful permanent resident. “He’d been working menial jobs all these years, with no real security, and now he’s out of the shadows and legal,” Benitez says. Like many of his colleagues, Benitez keeps in touch with students after they graduate. “I’m always getting e-mails and phone calls from former students telling me what’s going on in their lives,” he says, noting that he had lunch with seven law clinic alumni during a recent trip to Chicago.
Click here for the full story.
The Voice of America recently (Dec. 10) had a story on "Coming to America: Writers and the Immigrant Story" The lives and works of four writers influenced by their connections to the Mideast, Africa and Europe. the transcript and audio clip of the radio broadcast can be found by clicking here.
The ongoing war in iraq may seem to have little to do with immigration. In a coulumn for The Legal Television Network, Professor Dan Steinbock dispels that notion and warns of the refugee flows like those that have resulted from other military conflicvts. According to Steinbock, the report of the Baker-Hamilton Commission recognizes that the collapse Iraq’s government could lead to a “humanitarian catastrophe,” but it is does not address what will be needed if that happens: sanctuary for hundreds of thousands of Iraqi refugees. Already, approximately 1.8 million Iraqis have fled their country, and another 1.6 million have been displaced internally. If Iraq spirals downward into a civil war marked by vicious sectarian violence, many Iraqis seem destined to confront the most serious harms for reasons of their religious, ethnic, or political background. Thousands of people who worked with the U.S. and other “coalition” military or contractors will face special risk on that account. Under these circumstances, an American failure to plan for an oncoming refugee crisis would produce a moral and practical calamity. Click here for more.