Saturday, February 18, 2006

Juarez murders -- a report

The Mexican AG's office has issued a 420 page report on the numerous killings of women in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.  The report concludes that the killings were not conducted by a serial killer, and it reports a lower number of murders (379) than the number given in an El Paso Times/Amnesty International report last year (470).  I'll see if I can find the full report.... In the meantime, the El Paso Times story regarding the Mexican AG's report on the Juarez killings is here.

February 18, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

From the Border Report #3

On the border delegation in the San Diego area, I've also learned the following:

-The median age in San Diego is 33, while Tijuana's is 24.8. The per capita income (2000) in San Diego was $33,833; in Tijuana, $9,812. The poverty rate in San Diego: 12.4%; in Tijuana: 18.4%. The population in San Diego and Tijuana is about the same: 1.3 million.

-Over 60 million vehicles cross the San Diego County/Baja California borders annually in both directions. Over half of these trips are shopping or recreational grips. Anther 10 million are trips made for work purposes. Over 90% of these trips are local trips as they originate or finish in San Diego County or Tijuana/Tecate region. These cross-border movements generate significant revenues to retail, hotel and lodging, and recreation sectors on both sides of the border. Increasing congesstion and delays, however, may constrain the growth of cross-border trip-making and result in output and employment losses.

-At today's level of delay at the border (about 45-50 minutes daily average  based on the survey of respondents), over 30,000 jobs (1.7% of total employment) and $2.3 billion of output (1.2% of total output) are lost in San Diego County. Most losses occur in the retail sector. In Baja California, nearly 1,500 jobs (0.1%) and $0.2 billion of output are lost (1.1%). Most losses occur in the food and lodging sector. The impaired movement of workers reduces spending and productivity on both sides of the border. In ten years, the expected wait time will rise to 76 minutes, generating significantly larger losses.


February 18, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Decision in Rendition Case

On February 16, 2006,in New York,attorneys with the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) voiced disappointment after Federal Court Judge David Trager dismissed the federal lawsuit brought on behalf of Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen who was "rendered" to Syria by U.S. authorities where he was tortured and held in prison for nearly a year. In his ruling, Judge Trager determined that he could not review the decision by U.S. officials to send Mr. Arar to Syria to be tortured, because it was a question of national security and foreign relations. Fore more about this case, and a link to the dismissal order, see


February 18, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, February 17, 2006

From the Border Report #2

Nearly 10 million people live in the US-Mexico border area. About 23 percent of the population on the US side lives at or below the poverty line, compared with a national average of 12.4 percent. The border states on the Mexican side have poverty rates below the Mexican national average. The border area in the US consists of 48 counties in four states and is one of the poorest areas in the country. Three of the ten poorest counties in the US are located in the border area. Twenty-one of the counties on the border have been designated as economically distressed areas. There are about 10,000 border patrol agents working along the 2,000-mile US-Mexico border. In contrast, about 340 agents work along the 4,000-mile US-Canada border. Mexico is the US’ second-largest trading partner. US exports to Mexico in 2000 were over US$100 billion and US imports from Mexico were over US$135 billion.

The first day of the border trip I am on as part of a human rights tour was spent in San Diego. We had a full day in meetings with the Mexican Consul of San Diego, the Chief of the San Diego area Border Patrol, a roundtable with religious, environmental and labor leaders, and a large evening community meeting spnsored by the Border network Human Righs Committee.

Here were some of the things we heard:

-150,000 people cross the border in the San Ysidro port of entry daily; 41.77 million crossed in 2005.

-The Metricula Consular (consular ID) is now recognized as an acceptable ID in 391 cities, 166 counties, 1203 police departments and 404 financial institutions in the United States. In the Mexican Consulate in San Diego, 11,000 such cards were issued in 2001; in 2005, 17,000 were issued. The cards are now issued with security features such as holograms, making them difficult to forge.

-In 2005, over $20 billion in remittances to Mexico were made; generally, remittances are estimated to be about 10% of an immigrant's earnings.

-Border crossing deaths in the San Diego sector: 16 in 2002, 33 in 2003, 16 in 2004, and 20 in 2005.

-The number of unaccompanied minors repatriated to Mexico: 2,285 in 2002; 3,238 in 2003; 4,111 in 2004; 5,368 in 2005.

-In the opinion of the Mexican Consul in San Diego, law enforcement cannot control migration itself. Complementary labor markets are needed. Mexico is a younger society than the United States. Given the income differential between the two countries, economic development in Mexico is needed. What's needed? Passage of McCain-Kennedy, a guestworker program, regularization/earned adjustment for the undocumented. We need to look at migration regionally and as partners.

-In the San Diego sector, 80% of the smugglers are US citizens.

-According to the Chief of the San Diego Border Patrol, the assault of Border Patrol officers is on the increase (with rocks, slingshots, etc.). in 2004, there were 134 such assaults; in 2005, 259. Already in FY 2006, there have been 112 assaults.

-The President's "Secure Border Initiative," signed in October is important to keep in mind: (a) enhance border enforcement, (b) enhance interior enforcement, and (c) implement a temporary worker program. We must recognize that people are coming across the border to make a better life.

-10 tunnels to sneak into the US have been discovered since the beginning of the year. Often the same smuggling operation has two wings: one for narcotics, the other for human traffic.

-While 2000 miles of fencing is not necessary, because different parts of the border required different strategies, one thing that is needed is electronic monitoring/cameras along the entire 2000 miles.

-Mexico ranks third in the world in terms of the number of millionaires in its population.

-According to community groups, NAFTA has resulted in growing poverty in Mexico and along the border. Labor rights are violated in Mexico and environmental degradation has resulted.

-Groups urge the passage of McCain-Kennedy, termination of sweeps, non-passage of the CLEAR act, stopping the Minutemen, and stopping the demonization of immigrants which is a new form of racism.

-Workers themselves voiced opposition to the Bush guestworker plan that does not lead to legalization. They doubt if significant numbers of undocumented would step forward for such a deportation trap.

-Those who want progressive immigration reform must learn to speak the political language of Washington, DC, in order to argue in favor of the "right way" of handling immigration. Progressive reform has a strong moral foundation.


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

See the Cartoons that Sparked the World-Wide Controversy!

From the Northern Star (daily of Northern Illinois University students) c/o Michael A. Olivas, University of Houston Law Center

The first is a link to our front page. We have a tabloid paper and decided to run an editorial on the front cover to inform people of the cartoons. We also used this chance to tell readers WHY we felt the news was worthy.

The second link is to a news page which contained 12 comics alongside a local angle to the story. We asked for local feedback and wrote of the response. This page also contains a photo poll of student reactions.

The third link is to our editorial page in which we had a guest column from the co-president of the Muslim Student Association.

We have recieved a slew of feedback, it has been overwhelming (emails, calls, press interviews, etc) and the majority of reader responses have been positive. Even some Muslim groups have contacted us to compliment us on the way we went about our presentation.

Derek Wright, Editor in Chief

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

Article on ACLU Challenge to USA PATRIOT Act Provision

The Chronicle of Higher Education (Feb. 10, at A4) has an article entitled "ACLU Challenges Patriot Act Provision Used to Bar Foreign Scholar" by Burton Bollag.  The case involves Tariq Ramadan, a foreign scholar, who had his visa revoked by the U.S. government.  the revocation prevented ramadan from taking a tenured teaching position at Notre Dame.


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

Non-Immigration News--Cal Basketball Heads Toward NCAA Tourney

Leon Powe dominated from the start, scoring 30 points to help California move into a tie for first place in the Pac-10 with a 75-66 victory over Arizona on Thursday night. The Golden Bears (16-6, 10-3) won their sixth straight game to move into the tie with UCLA with five games left in the regular season. Cal is looking for its first conference title since Pete Newell's final season as coach in 1959-60.


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

Thursday, February 16, 2006

From the Border Report #1

Dear Friends,

Beginning on Friday, I'm privileged to be part of a delegation organized by the Border Community Alliance for Human Rights that will tour the US/Mexico border from Feb. 17-21. The delegation will visit the California, Arizona, and Texas borders, where we will visit various sites along the border and hear from local school officials, Consul Generals, community groups, academics, business leaders, Border Patrol, Port of Entry Directors, and Police/Sheriff Department personnel.

Depending on internet access, I hope to keep you posted on my observations on a daily basis.


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

Philadelphia Demonstration

Like most illegal immigrants, Juan Garcia does not usually court attention.

But Tuesday afternoon, within yards of Philadelphia police and members of a border-control vigilante group, the undocumented factory worker from Mexico stood on Independence Mall among 1,000 protesters waving Latin American flags and signs that read, in Spanish, "We are workers, not terrorists."

The rally was designed to draw attention to a congressional proposal, called draconian by immigrant activists, that would crack down on illegal residents, their employers, and churches, charities and other groups that help them.

Organizers of the event, part of the larger "A Day Without an Immigrant" protest, also called for a Valentine's Day labor strike by the region's undocumented workers - particularly Mexicans, described as crucial to the Center City restaurant industry.

The holiday is the second-most-popular day of the year for dining out, according to the Pennsylvania Restaurant Association. (Mother's Day is the most popular.)

Immigrant advocates hope to convince restaurateurs that they have a stake in scuttling H.R. 4437, or the Border Protection, Anti-Terrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005.

Source: Philadelphia Inquirer, Feb. 13, 2006


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

Mexico's Economic Growth Struggles

Mexico's economy grew a sluggish 3% last year, the government announced Wednesday, marking one of the worst showings in Latin America and another disappointing year for a country that many analysts say should be expanding twice as fast.

Gross domestic product, the country's output of goods and services, increased a modest 2.7% in the fourth quarter over the same period a year earlier. Officials blamed the lackluster showing largely on fallout from hurricanes that battered the tourist magnet Cancun and farming areas in the south.

But analysts said Mexico's economic doldrums couldn't be blamed on a passing storm. The nation ended 2005 as it did many years during the last decade, with GDP growth among the lowest in the Western Hemisphere and far off the pace of rival emerging economies in Asia. The country's perennial underachievement in growth and employment has surfaced as the biggest challenge facing the candidates in this year's presidential election.

Mexico isn't generating anywhere near the 1 million jobs it needs each year to keep up with population growth. Illegal emigration to the U.S. is believed to be at an all-time high. And China is grabbing market share in the U.S., the destination for more than 90% of Mexico's exports.

What's more, Mexico is underperforming at a time when many factors should be working in its favor, notably a sound U.S. economy, high prices for its crude oil, record remittances from Mexicans living abroad and its lowest inflation rate in years.

Although there is disagreement among policymakers and analysts on what needs to be done, nearly all concur that Mexico is fast losing competitiveness and that changes are needed to roust Latin America's second-largest economy from its funk.

Source: LA Times, Feb. 16, 2006


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

March to Protest Border Policy Continues

Josefina Villarreal will be the first to tell you that she almost chickened out of a cross-country crusade protesting U.S. immigration policies and honoring those who died trying to enter the country from Mexico illegally.

"After I changed my mind, though, I couldn't sleep," said Villarreal, of Forth Worth, who joined participants in the National March for Migrants when they stopped in Texas on Sunday. "It was my calling."

More than 100 people in some 20 cars share Villarreal's vision, and they are following it all the way to Washington, D.C. They left San Diego, Calif., on Feb. 2 and passed through five states before stopping Tuesday in Durham.

When participants reach the nation's capital today, they will meet with legislators to discuss resolutions on border vigilance and immigrant employment rights. However, at Durham's Immaculate Conception Catholic Church on Tuesday, their purpose was just as personal as it was political.

Local supporters of the march, community members and travelers met for a press conference and vigil honoring the immigrants who have died while crossing the U.S.-Mexico border since Operation Gatekeeper was launched in 1994. The initiative, which heavily militarized border controls between Tijuana, Mexico, and San Diego, is the "direct cause" of the 4,000 deaths, according to Enrique Morones, who led the march.

"We have planted 4,000 crosses across the country to honor those who have died in pursuit of a better life," said Morones, founder of Border Angels, a faith-based nonprofit group devoted to immigration reform. "There are those who say Operation Gatekeeper has been a success. I say, there are 4,000 mothers who will tell you otherwise."

source: Durham Herald Sun, Feb. 14, 2006


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

American Lawyer Article on Gender-Based asylum

Attached is an article in this month's American Lawyer dealing with the difficulties women seeking asylum based on rape or domestic violence.  Download gender_gap.pdf


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

Voices from the Blogosphere

Please consider reviewing and adding this to your blog


Mohan B

Uniting Legal Permanent Residents with their Nuclear Families

In a land built by immigrants, there is a renewed deliberation over immigration on the Capitol Hill. In all the debate about pros-and-cons of legal and illegal Immigration, a small, albeit economically significant issue of unification of Legal Permanent Residents, (LPRs, a.k.a. Green Card Holders) with their spouses continues to stay under the Radar Screens of policy makers, costing the American economy about 4.2 Billion dollars a year.

The issue is simple: Legal Permanent Residents who have opted to get married to foreigners are unable to be united with their spouses and young families. The foreign spouse of a US Green Card holder must wait for approval of an ‘immigrant visa’ from the State Department before entering the US. Due to a backlog in processing, such visas can take a upwards of five years to be approved. In the interim, the spouse cannot enter the US on any other visas, or as visitors. LPRs are in a uniquely disadvantaged situation:

Visitors and non-immigrants coming to the US on temporary visas for work, business or studies (including on H1, L1, B, and F1 visas) can sponsor their dependant spouses to travel along with them.

American Citizens can sponsor their spouses to come to the US in non-immigrant status and then convert to an immigrant status under the Legal Immigration and Family Equity Act (the "LIFE Act")

The issue of Lawful Permanent Residents torn from their families for years is not a new problem. A mechanism to unite families of LPRs was created by the Legal Immigration Family Equity Act of 2000 (the LIFE Act) by the introduction of a ‘V Visa,’ signed into law by President Bush. Unfortunately, it effectively expired and is no longer available.

Almost every year new bills addressing this issue are introduced in the congress by a few concerned congressmen but don’t get past the Judiciary committee; for instance HR1823 and HR4448 are currently in the US congress remain unnoticed by most lawmakers. The proposal for reviving the visa is based on something that has little controversy

family unity

but passing a bill into law is not a small matter. Until this happens, families of Green Card holders will have to wait outside our borders and the economy will continue to loose over 4 Billion dollars a year.

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

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Criminal case against border patrol officers set to begin Friday in El Paso

The U.S. attorney in El Paso is prosecuting two border patrol officials for shooting a man in the buttocks last year. Federal District Court Judge Kathleen Cardone has ruled that general discussions about "border violence" are not allowed, although specific instances may be discussed with her prior consent. The Judge denied the prosecutions motion to supress information about the victim's drug smuggling activities and his unlawful entry. The trial commences this Friday. More details are available in this El Paso Times story:


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

Guest Appearance: I am a Grits for Breakfast Fan!!!!!!!

As per your request, here’s a couple of recent immigration items from Grits for Breakfast:


Scott Henson

Posted by KJ

Grits for Breakfast

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

Updated CRS Report On State And Local Enforcement Of Immigration Laws

The Congressional Research Service issued an updated report on the role of state and local enforcement in enforcing immigration law.,0215-crs.pdf


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

Army Recruits Patriotic Latinos

As Sgt. First Class Gavino Barron, dressed in a crisp Army uniform, trawls the Wal-Mart here for recruits, past stacks of pillows and towers of detergent, he is zeroing-in on one of the Army's "special missions": to increase the number of Hispanic enlisted soldiers.

He approaches a couple of sheepish looking teenage boys in the automotive aisle and seamlessly slides into Spanish, letting loose his pitch: "Have you ever thought about joining the Army?" "Did you know you can get up to $40,000 in bonuses?" "I'm from Mexico, too. Michoacán."

In Denver and other cities where the Hispanic population is growing, recruiting Latinos has become one of the Army's top priorities. From 2001 to 2005, the number of Latino enlistments in the Army rose 26 percent, and in the military as a whole, the increase was 18 percent.

The increase comes at a time when the Army is struggling to recruit new soldiers and when the enlistment of African-Americans, a group particularly disillusioned with the war in Iraq, has dropped off sharply, to 14.5 percent from 22.3 percent over the past four years.

Not all Latinos, though, are in step with the military's recruitment goals. In some cities with large Hispanic populations, the focus on recruitment has polarized Latinos, prompting some to organize against recruiters and to help immigrants learn their rights.

Critics say recruiters, who are under pressure to meet quotas, often use their charm and an arsenal of tactics, including repeated calls to a recruit, lunch at a favorite restaurant and trips to the gym. The Army also parades rigged-out, juiced-up Hummers wherever youths gather as promotional tools.

"We see a lot of confusion among immigrant parents, and recruiters are preying on that confusion," said Jorge Mariscal, a Vietnam veteran who is director of the Chicano/Latino Arts and Humanities Program at the University of California, San Diego, and is active in the counterrecruitment movement.

While the military emphasizes that it works to enlist all qualified people, not just Hispanics, military experts say that bringing in more Latinos is overdue. Hispanics have long been underrepresented in the Army and in the military as a whole. While Latinos make up 10.8 percent of the Army's active-duty force, a better rate than the Air Force or Navy, they account for 14 percent of the population as a whole.

Hispanics also make up the fastest-growing pool of military age people in the United States, and they are more likely to complete boot camp and finish their military service, according to a 2004 study on Marine recruitment by CNA, a research group that operates the Center for Naval Analyses and the Institute for Public Research. Recruitment studies show that Hispanics' re-enlistment rates are also the highest among any group of soldiers.

"They are extremely patriotic," said Lt. Col. Jeffrey Brodeur, commanding officer of the Recruitment Battalion covering Colorado, Wyoming, parts of Montana and Nebraska.

Source: NY Times, Feb. 9, 2006


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

14-Year Old Barred From School

Undocumented immigrants are routinely enrolled at Elmwood Park High School, but in a highly unusual policy that some call illegal, officials in November denied admission to a 14-year-old Ecuadorean girl who they said had a valid tourist visa.

When the teen--identified only as Sharon M.--tried to enroll, officials turned her away, saying she had no right to attend school because she had a B-2 visa and wasn't a resident.

The girl moved out of the district in fear that officials would report her to immigration authorities and she would be deported, her attorney said. But her case has become the center of a fierce legal fight between the school district and the Illinois State Board of Education over the right of immigrants to have access to free public education.

In December, the state board put Elmwood Park Community Unit District 401 on probation and threatened to pull $10 million in state funding if it didn't change its policy. But district officials have refused to budge, saying enrolling the student would violate federal immigration laws.

Last week, school officials sued in U.S. District Court in Chicago, asking a judge to allow them to continue their policy and to stop the state from taking punitive action.

"I can tell you everyone is lined up to fight us," said Justin Petrarca, attorney for the district. "We are going to continue to implement our residency program as we have until a judge tells us we are wrong."

State laws as well as federal precedent guarantee undocumented immigrant children the right to enroll in public schools, experts say.

But Elmwood Park school officials argue that because the girl was here on what they say was a valid visa, she didn't qualify for the protections afforded to the undocumented.

Allowing her to enroll would have helped her violate the terms of her visa, which prohibits school attendance, officials said, adding that it also might have subjected the district to federal prosecution.

The state board disagrees.

"We simply feel their practice is illegal and wrong," said Jonathan Furr, the board's general counsel. "We do not understand the logic behind their argument."

source: chicago tribune, Feb. 9, 2006


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

Katrina's Vietnamese Victims

Fisherman Ky Le climbed out of his truck, hoisting his 3-year-old son, and pointed to a mass of splintered wreckage on a muddy lot.

"That my house," said Le, 42, in his fragmentary English. Then he laughed.

It was easier than crying.

All that remained of the family's mobile home was this slab of linoleum, set on a wheeled hunk of rusting metal and covered with overturned appliances, dishes, clothing and other items. A backpack that belonged to the couple's oldest son lay near his math workbook.

In the moist, salty wind, shards of a nearby metal shed swayed and creaked as Le's wife, Loan, 39, picked through the rubble, looking for documents that would prove the family had flood insurance to cover the ruin caused by Hurricane Katrina.

This was Plaquemines Parish, a ghostly finger of marshy land poking into the Gulf of Mexico and bisected by the Mississippi River, where life and property were swept away when Hurricane Katrina made landfall near Buras on Aug. 29.

The couple and their three children lost their home and car. Miraculously, Ky's shrimp boat sustained only relatively minor damage. After several months of taking shelter with other homeless Vietnamese fishermen and their families at a Buddhist temple 50 miles up the road, the family has settled in a rented mobile home near the temple while they untangle their affairs.

The plight of the Le family, and thousands of other Vietnamese immigrants living along the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast, has become the focus of a Falls Church area nonprofit group, Boat People SOS.

In December, the 25-year-old organization, which works with Vietnamese immigrants through a network of offices nationwide, received a $4.5 million federal grant to seek out and work with the neediest Hurricane Katrina victims, helping them to rebuild their lives financially and emotionally over the next 22 months.

Along with three other nonprofit groups based in the Washington area -- Catholic Charities USA of Alexandria, Volunteers of America of Alexandria and the National Disability Rights Network of Northeast Washington -- Boat People SOS is part of a consortium of 10 organizations nationwide awarded a total of $66 million to assist 300,000 struggling Katrina victims.

source: Washington Post, Feb. 8, 2006


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

Lou Dobbs Fans -- PLEASE DO NOT READ THIS POST!!!!!!!!!!!!!

From the Southern Poverty Law Center

Lou Dobbs is a genial sort, a pleasant-faced CNN anchorman who regularly presents himself as standing up for American working men and women against those who would injure them. Hosting "Lou Dobbs Tonight" for a prime-time hour every weekday, he is also well known and powerful. So when Dobbs focuses on an issue, millions of Americans learn just what it is that Dobbs thinks they should know.

For more than two years now, Dobbs has served up a populist approach to immigration on nightly segments of his newscast entitled "Broken Borders." He has relentlessly covered the issue, although hardly from a traditional news perspective -- Dobbs favors clamping down on illegal immigration, and his "reporting" never fails to make that clear. He has covered the same issues, and the same anti-immigration leaders, time after time after time. In recent months, Dobbs has run countless upbeat reports on the "citizen border patrols" that have sprung up around the country since last April's Minuteman Project, a paramilitary effort to seal the Arizona border.

But there's one thing Lou Dobbs won't do. No matter what others report about the movement, Dobbs has failed to present mounting and persistent evidence of anti-Hispanic racism in anti-immigration groups and citizen border patrols.

It's not that Dobbs hasn't allowed a pro-immigration activist or two to complain about efforts like the Minuteman Project ("vigilantes," according to President Bush), or even that he has made racist statements on his show. What the anchorman has done is repeatedly decline to present the evidence that links these groups to racism, calling the very idea "mind-boggling." On his July 29 show, he called the ACLU and the Southern Poverty Law Center, which he said he liked in other ways, "despicable" and "reprehensible" for saying otherwise.


This story says it all about what is "newsworthy" for CNN purposes.


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