Saturday, March 4, 2006

National Research Council Report on Hispanics

The National Academies has released Multiple Origins, Uncertain Destinies and its companion volume of papers, Hispanics and the Future of America.  These reports describe how Hispanics are transforming the country as their numbers grow and they disperse geographically. They also address the resultant effects on education, the labor market, the health care system and other aspects of society.  They address both challenges and opportunities.
Multiple Origins, Uncertain Destinies is the culmination of a 2 year study by a panel of experts convened to help inform future policy debate and provide government, public institutions, and the private sector with the information needed to allocate resources for the benefit of both the Hispanic population and the nation as a whole.

This report looks carefully at the diverse populations encompassed by the term Hispanic, representing recent immigrants and their children as well as families who have been citizens for many generations.  It discusses long-term trends and future possibilities in population aging, social disparities, and social mobility that have shaped and will shape the Hispanic and national  experience.

Hispanics and the Future of America ­ the companion volume to this report­ contains a collection of papers and presents the detailed analyses that underlie much of the committee’s report.

  These papers draw on a wide variety of data sources to describe the contours of this population, from the perspectives of history, demography, geography, education, family, employment, economic well-being, health, and political engagement. They provide a rich source of information for researchers, policy makers, and others who want to better understand the fast-growing and diverse population that we call Hispanic.

Multiple Origins, Uncertain Destinies: Hispanics and the American Future, National Research Council, 2006

bh

March 4, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

MPI on Asian Immigrants

March 1, 2006 – spotlight report from Migration Policy Institute

This spotlight examines the foreign born from Asia. It is the third in a series on the size and characteristics of the foreign-born population in the United States by country of birth.

Immigration from Asia has increased considerably since the 1965 US Immigration and Nationality Act. In 1960, the Asian born accounted for just five percent of the foreign-born population in the US, while in 2000 they made up over a quarter of those born outside the United States. Today, the Asian born are the country's second largest foreign-born population by world region of birth behind those from Latin America.

As a group, the foreign born from Asian countries are more likely to be proficient in English, work in higher-level occupations, and have higher earnings than the overall foreign-born population. However, closer examination of this population reveals a great deal of variation by country of birth.

The series draws primarily from Census 2000 data, including social, economic, and housing profiles of the foreign born developed by the US Census Bureau.

Click on the bullet points below for more information:

The Asian born accounted for more than a quarter of the total US foreign-born population in 2000.
In 2000, of the 31.1 million foreign born in the United States, 8,226,255 (26.4 percent) were born in Asian countries.

bh

March 4, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

NPR on Church/Immigration Reform Clash

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5245340

Cardinal Roger Mahoney of Los Angeles made a point this week of saying that immigrants' legal status should not affect how the church ministers to them. But the debate over illegal immigrants creates tension between politicians and religious leaders.

KJ

March 4, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, March 3, 2006

Sick Orphan Denied Victim

Melvin Karges and his wife Cheryl know about helping southeast Asian orphans. Their daughter Claira, now 2 1/2 years old, was adopted from Cambodia with a hole in her heart that was successfully treated here in the United States.

Pam and Randy Cope of Neosho, friends of the Karges', adopted two children in Vietnam and started a nonprofit organization that helps orphanages and other shelters in Vietnam and Cambodia.

But even after successful adoptions and charity work, the Kargeses and the Copes have run into an unexpected barrier in their joint effort to help a Vietnamese orphan boy get urgent medical help in Missouri that he can't get in Vietnam.

The U.S. government has refused to issue a medical visa or a humanitarian waiver for 6-year-old Tuan Van Cao. The couples are confused and frustrated, saying they have lined up private funding to cover treatment for a botched operation on the boy's diseased left hip that left him with a potentially fatal bone infection.

Despite submitting written opinions from U.S. and Vietnamese doctors that Tuan needs urgent help that he cannot get in Vietnam, the families have been told to try the lengthy processing of international adoption, which can take a year or more.

"We're kind of reeling right now," said Karges, a physician. "I'm puzzled, because if you read the guidelines for humanitarian (waiver), Tuan fits."

Tuan was admitted to a Ho Chi Minh City hospital Sunday for emergency treatment because the infection in his hip bone has started spreading, said Pam Cope, who first discovered Tuan's case. He will have to undergo surgery that opens the bone to more infection, even though the hospital's orthopedic surgeon has said the treatment is too risky to perform in Vietnam.

"Tuan's case is black and white. He needs emergency medical treatment and we can give him free medical treatment here in the United States," Cope said.

The experience is all too common, especially since Congress in 1997 changed the law to make immigration more difficult, said Roy Petty, an immigration lawyer in Rogers, Ark., who has handled several similar cases but is not involved in Tuan's case.

Source: Associated Press, Mar. 3, 2006

bh

March 3, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

"Mexican Military" Incident

A federal investigation does not indicate that a highly publicized border showdown in a Texas county involved Mexican military, according to federal officials.

At a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing Wednesday, Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said that facts did not bear out Mexican military involvement in a Jan. 23 incident in Hudspeth County, Texas, where men in military uniforms appeared to assist drug smugglers on the border.

"Right now we're looking at it as primarily a narcotics investigation, so we can identify those involved in the incident," Marcy M. Forman, ICE's director of investigations said.

An ICE spokesman said Wednesday that "thus far we have not been able to substantiate or support a conclusion that Mexican military was involved in the conclusion."

Those statements reflect the Mexican government's contention that the men involved used Humvees and uniforms that the Mexican military no longer uses in the area. They has also alleged that a local gang leader owned Humvees similar to the one seen in the videotaped encounter.

It is not the first time DHS has expressed doubt that the incident involved actual Mexican military personnel. At a Jan. 16 budget hearing, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said that "the Border Patrol has reviewed an enhanced video that the Humvee appears to be an older style of Humvee that is not used by the Mexican military and . . . this is consistent with the fact that drug cartels do use military-style clothing and equipment."

T.J. Bonner, president of the National Border Patrol Council union, said that the apparent subterfuge does not absolve the Mexican government of blame.

"The Mexican government cannot avoid responsibility for the actions of these renegade groups by simply denying involvement," Bonner said in prepared testimony. "By allowing them to operate with impunity along its northern border, Mexico bears some of the responsibility for their actions."

When asked by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., if the Border Patrol had set up a joint operating unit with Mexico's border personnel, Border Patrol Chief David V. Aguilar said that such a program is still in "informal stages." But on the whole, he gave an overall positive assessment to the state of cooperation between Mexico and the United States on border security issues.

Source: CQ Homeland Security, Mar. 1, 2006

bh

March 3, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Arizona's New Human Smuggling Law Kicks In

http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/local/articles/0303immigrantsjailed0303.html

54 jailed under 'coyote' statute, Lindsey Collom

The Arizona Republic, Mar. 3, 2006

Maricopa County Sheriff's deputies jailed 54 people Thursday on suspicion of conspiring with a "coyote," or human smuggler, to sneak them into the United States.

It was the first time local authorities have applied a new Arizona statue on human smuggling to immigrants.

The law, enacted in August, gave the state's prosecutors a way to go after coyotes. But it was unclear whether the people being smuggled would be treated as victims or as partners in crime.

advertisement

It didn't take long for Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas to issue his

opinion: Undocumented migrants can be prosecuted as co-conspirators if they pay a coyote for transport. Thomas got his chance to test his interpretation on Thursday.

"The bottom line is Arizona has a tremendous problem with illegal immigration," Thomas said. "Look, if you're going to enter Maricopa County and try to commit a felony, you're going to jail and you're going to be prosecuted."

Thomas' interpretation, issued in September, makes it possible to charge undocumented immigrants with a felony punishable by up to 2½ years in prison.

But not everyone buys into that theory.

Margarita Silva, a criminal defense attorney and president of Los Abogados, a Hispanic law group, said she was surprised the "pollos," or immigrants, were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy.

"I can't imagine somebody won't challenge that," she said.

Authorities on Thursday said investigators seized evidence and obtained confessions that the group had paid one or more coyotes to smuggle them in a pair of furniture trucks with Sonora, Mexico, plates.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio likened the relationship between a coyote and a person being smuggled to that of a dealer and user.

"If the customer pays a dope peddler money, he's violated the law," Arpaio said. "(Here), they're paying for transport."

A sheriff's deputy stopped the furniture trucks for erratic driving about 3:30 p.m. near the western edge of Maricopa County. Rufinda Guzman, 33, was one of four women who met up with the truck drivers in San Luis, Mexico. She said through an interpreter that the drivers offered to take them across the border, but she claimed they were not coyotes. She was confused over the arrest.

Silva said that in some cases, the immigrants might actually be victims if they are being held against their will.

"I think it will be incredibly hard for the government to prove the case against the pollos . . . when you consider they are the prime witnesses against the coyotes," Silva added.

Once they become co-conspirators or co-defenders, they would have to incriminate themselves to testify against the coyotes and might weaken the case against the smugglers, Silva said.

KJ

March 3, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Minutemen Op/Ed

Check out this op/ed by UC Davis School of Law Alum Ana Maria Patino, an experienced immigration lawyer, on the Minutemen.

http://www.coastlinepilot.com/opinion/story/39433p-58781c.html

KJ

March 3, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Immigration Tidbits

Radical Bill Would Criminalize All Aid To Undocumented

Persons Bruce A. Hake writes " The very existence of the law will terrorize the entire bar and have a chilling effect on all who try to help immigrants."

http://www.ilw.com/articles/2006,0306-hake.shtm

http://www.hake.com/pc

Playing Politics On Immigration: Congress Favors Image Over Substance In Passing H.R. 4437

Rob Paral for The Immigration Policy Center writes "Congressional representatives who supported H.R. 4437 - the Border Protection, Anti-Terrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005 - are most likely to represent districts with relatively few undocumented immigrants."

http://www.ilw.com/articles/2006,0306-paral.shtm

http://www.ailf.org

KJ

March 3, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Run for Immigrant Justice

Twelve day laborers will begin a 3,000 mile run coast-to-coast to call attention to immigration reform. Beginning on March 4, 2006, the two-month run will start in Santa Monica and will end two months later in New York City. For the full Stamford Advocate story, see here.

http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/news/local/scn-sa-laborers5mar01,0,7389650.story?coll=stam-news-local-headlines

KJ

March 3, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Latest Gender-Based Asylum Claim

Thanks to Stephen Knight, UC Hastings, for this description:

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals today granted asylum to a young woman who fled a forced marriage. Gao v. Gonzales, No. 04-1874-ag (2d. Cir 2006).

This precedential decision is the first opinion we are aware of addressing the issue of forced marriage as a basis for asylum.

At age 19, Ms. Gao was sold by her parents through a broker to a man whom she was to marry when she turned 21. When she tried to refuse, she was threatened with arrest. She fled to another city, but he tracked her down, and her family was targeted for retribution.

The Immigration Judge denied, dismissing her asylum claim as just "a dispute between two families," and ruling both that the government could protect her, and that she could safely relocate within China. Unfortunately but not surprisingly, the BIA summarily affirmed.

Reversing the decision, the Second Circuit defined the social group as "women who have been sold into marriage (whether or not that marriage has yet taken

place) and who live in a part of China where forced marriages are considered valid and enforceable." They found she belonged to, and had a well-founded fear of persecution on account of, her membership in that group.

The decision discussed Gomez, which has long been seen as problematic for gender cases in the Second Circuit. "Gomez can reasonably be read as limited to situations in which an applicant fails to show a risk of future persecution on the basis of the 'particular social group' claimed, rather than as setting an a priori rule for which social groups are cognizable."

The court remanded to the BIA on the relocation issue, but noting that the agency must address the reasonableness, and not just the availability, of internal flight.

The petitioner was pro se.

In a footnote, the opinion cites to and discusses the position taken by DHS in its brief in the Rodi Alvarado case. For those looking to use the DHS brief, this provides an opportunity to reference to a published federal case making explicit DHS's already public position.

Thanks to Dan Kowalski for the opinion: Download gao_v_gonzales.pdf 

KJ

March 3, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

New York Times Editorial

March 3, 2006 Editorial The Gospel vs. H.R. 4437

It has been a long time since this country heard a call to organized lawbreaking on this big a scale. Cardinal Roger Mahony of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the nation's largest, urged parishioners on Ash Wednesday to devote the 40 days of Lent to fasting, prayer and reflection on the need for humane reform of immigration laws. If current efforts in Congress make it a felony to shield or offer support to illegal immigrants, Cardinal Mahony said, he will instruct his priests — and faithful lay Catholics — to defy the law.

The cardinal's focus of concern is H.R. 4437, a bill sponsored by James Sensenbrenner Jr. of Wisconsin and Peter King of New York. This grab bag legislation, which was recently passed by the House, would expand the definition of "alien smuggling" in a way that could theoretically include working in a soup kitchen, driving a friend to a bus stop or caring for a neighbor's baby. Similar language appears in legislation being considered by the Senate this week.

The enormous influx of illegal immigrants and the lack of a coherent federal policy to handle it have prompted a jumble of responses by state and local governments, stirred the passions of the nativist fringe, and reinforced anxieties since 9/11. Cardinal Mahony's defiance adds a moral dimension to what has largely been a debate about politics and economics. "As his disciples, we are called to attend to the last, littlest, lowest and least in society and in the church," he said.

The cardinal is right to argue that the government has no place criminalizing the charitable impulses of private institutions like his, whose mission is to help people with no questions asked. The Los Angeles Archdiocese, like other religious organizations across the country, runs a vast network of social service programs offering food and emergency shelter, child care, aid to immigrants and refugees, counseling services, and computer and job training. Through Catholic Charities and local parishes, the church is frequently the help of last resort for illegal immigrants in need. It should not be made an arm of the immigration police as well.

Cardinal Mahony's declaration of solidarity with illegal immigrants, for whom Lent is every day, is a startling call to civil disobedience, as courageous as it is timely. We hope it forestalls the day when works of mercy become a federal crime.

KJ

March 3, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, March 2, 2006

Health care crisis for the undocumented

Nina Bernstein's story in the NYT (3/3) highlights the increasing difficulty that undocumented migrants face in obtaining health care -- a situation that will only take a turn for for the worse in light of the current federal immigration "reform" proposals.
-jmc

March 2, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Cardinal Would Defy Immigration Legislation

Los Angeles Cardinal Roger M. Mahony said Wednesday he would instruct his priests to defy a proposed federal requirement that churches check the legal status of parishioners before helping them.

The U.S. House of Representatives included the requirement in an immigration bill that the Senate Judiciary Committee is to begin debating this week. The legislation also would penalize social organizations that refuse to meet its requirements.

When asked if he would be willing to go to jail for the stance, Mahony said "yes" because "helping people in need were actions that are part of God's mercy."

Mahony, a longtime advocate of immigrant rights who oversees a racially diverse archdiocese of more than 4 million people, used Ash Wednesday and the beginning of the Lenten season to urge Catholics to "make room" for immigrants.

"Unless you are a Native American, everyone in here is the son or daughter of immigrants," said Mahony, speaking during Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.

Mahony told those attending Mass he was not in favor of "unfettered immigration," but that the current system was inhumane and inefficient. He said stringent laws and government bureaucracy meant immigrants were often separated up to 15 years from family members trying to immigrate.

"We need reform that looks to family unification," he said. "What we have now is broken and invites violation."

U.S. Roman Catholic bishops support a guest-worker program, legalizing undocumented immigrants and more visas for migrants' families.

Mahony has long advocated for immigrant rights and opposed the 1994 state proposition that tried to deny public benefits to illegal immigrants. The proposition was approved by voters but struck down by federal courts as unconstitutional.

Source: LA Times, Mar. 1, 2006

bh

March 2, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Bishop Condemns Anti-Immigrant Bills

Atlanta Archbishop Wilton Gregory denounced Wednesday a wave of immigration reform bills pending in statehouses nationwide, calling them punitive proposals that ignore the biblical call for "welcoming the stranger in our midst."

Gregory, the leader of Atlanta's Roman Catholic community, declined to comment specifically on an immigration reform bill pending before the Georgia Legislature. He did say, however, that any reform measures should first be handled by the federal government because it is responsible for protecting the nation's borders.

Gregory's comments are part of a six-page "pastoral letter" he released along with Bishop J. Kevin Boland of Savannah. Both Georgia bishops said that any immigration reforms should consider Catholic principles of social justice.

"Though we often celebrate the diversity in our communities, we bishops must confess that today, as in the past, the treatment of the immigrant too often reflects failures of understanding and sinful patterns of chauvinism, prejudice and discrimination that deny the unity of the human family," both said in the statement.

The bill before the Georgia Legislature would prohibit adult illegal immigrants from receiving many taxpayer-funded benefits and worries many in the Hispanic Catholic community in Atlanta, which grew 300 percent from 1990 to 2000.

In his pastoral letter, Gregory said he is concerned that proposed immigration laws are "punitive" because they would restrict health care, education and basic social services for illegal immigrants. Catholic teaching insists that the dignity and rights of undocumented immigrants should be respected, he said.

"Immigrants are the strangers for whom God seeks protection," Gregory wrote. 

Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Mar. 2, 2006

bh

March 2, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Update on Spector Bill

From an observer of what happened in Washington, DC today:

“Only opening statements were made today -- no amendments.  These statements dramatize the gaps between the enforcement only/first crowd and those who want reform of our system.  The latter's differences were apparent between those who want to legalize the undocumenteds and those who don't.

Feinstein was interesting.  She opposes the chairman's mark -- and proposed instead a legalization only for ag workers who worked 100 hours the year before her measure's intro.  300,000 for three years -- they first get her version of blue cards, and then after working for 3/5 years more could adjust.  They also could work in other sectors, but I couldn't figure out how they could given what she said.  She supports this because she now agrees that there are no American workers who will do ag work. She thinks broadening this out to other sectors would displace Americans.”

bh

March 2, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Meet the Nativists!

Thanks to Lee Hall for this story!

Meet the Nativists

By Susy Buchanan and Tom Kim, Intelligence Report
Posted on March 2, 2006, Printed on March 2, 2006
http://www.alternet.org/story/32644/

The Intelligence Report is a project of the

Southern Poverty Law Center

.

One of them says he'd like to bring nuclear weapons to the border. Another vows to stop the alleged Mexican invasion of Idaho. Several have links to white supremacist hate groups; others are given to dire warnings of horrible diseases, "barbaric" practices, and secret Latino conspiracies to "reconquer" the American Southwest. These are the nativists -- the new crop of activists who are driving the movement that exploded last spring with the Minuteman Project in Arizona, a monthlong effort by armed civilians to seal the border with Mexico.

Along with a whole array of media enablers, they have barged into the nation's consciousness with remarkable success. Some of them, like Minuteman co-founder Jim Gilchrist, have made attempts to win high political office.

Others have contented themselves with trying to build a mass movement. Not all those who have joined the movement are extremists -- many are legitimately concerned about the ability of the nation to absorb large numbers of immigrants, particularly the undocumented. But one thing seems clear: A dangerous mix of nativist intolerance, armed and untrained civilians, and wild-eyed conspiracy theories could easily explode into violence.The following are three profiles taken from the Intelligence Report's comprehensive review of nativist leaders in America.

Aliso Viejo, Calif.

Less than a year ago, Jim Gilchrist's vision of the future was plainly apocalyptic. The country, he predicted to one newspaper reporter, will have "100 tribes with 100 languages," a situation from which "mayhem" will result. "I see neighborhood armies of 20 to 40 going out and killing and invading one another," he said. Too many immigrants, he added, could even result in a full-scale civil war -- a situation he suggested might be avoided by inciting a revolution in Mexico.

"Illegal immigrants will destroy this country," Gilchrist said last May. "Every time a Mexican flag is planted on American soil, it is a declaration of war." By late August, Gilchrist wasn't talking like that any more.

Of course, by then he was a candidate for Congress from Southern California, where he lives with his wife and their dogs in the small city of Aliso Viejo. Gone was the rhetoric about civil war and private armies and immigrants who are legal. In fact, Gilchrist began to carefully enunciate support for legal immigrants.

For the rest, see http://www.alternet.org/story/32644/

KJ

March 2, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

New Research Finds Foreign-Born H-1B Professionals Are Well Paid, Do Not Harm the Employment Prospects of Natives

http://www.nfap.com/researchactivities/articles/NFAPPolicyBriefH1BProfessionalsAndWages0306.pdf

March 01, 2006  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Stuart Anderson 703-351-5042;

[email protected]


New Research Finds Foreign-Born H-1B Professionals Are Well Paid, Do Not Harm the Employment Prospects of Natives

ARLINGTON, VA

here

.)

U.S. companies hire and recruit globally. In some cases, this means hiring foreign-born individuals on H-1B temporary visas, many times off U.S. college campuses as part of the normal recruitment process. As the NFAP analysis points out, critics assert the only reason a U.S. employer would ever hire someone on an H-1B visa is because he or she will work cheaper than Americans, implying that only people born in the United States possess desirable skills. "The story that a veritable conspiracy exists in America to hire foreign-born professionals so they can work cheaply is unsupported by the evidence," said Stuart Anderson, Executive Director of NFAP. "It runs contrary to any serious analysis of how the U.S. labor market functions."

In recent years, Congress has failed to increase sufficiently the annual limit on H-1B visas for foreign-born professionals, regularly leaving U.S. companies unable to hire key personnel for many months. A key reason for Congress failing to act is the perception that the entry of skilled professionals on H-1B visas harms the employment prospects of natives. This perception is misguided and the result of several myths, concludes NFAP.

KJ

- New research from the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP), an Arlington, Va.-based public policy group, shows foreign-born professionals are not underpaid nor likely to harm the employment prospects of their native counterparts. These are important findings as the Senate Judiciary Committee considers immigration reform measures that include liberalized quotas for foreign-born professionals sponsored for H-1B visas and green cards. (A complete copy of H-1B Professionals and Wages: Setting the Record Straight is available

March 2, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Roger Waldinger on Immigrant Assimilation

Second-Generation Mexicans: Getting Ahead or Falling Behind?

By Roger Waldinger and Renee Reichl
University of California Los Angeles

March 1, 2006

The 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act, which eliminated nationality-based quotas, opened the United States to a new wave of immigration from Asia, Africa, and the Americas. Compared to circumstances in their home countries, the United States has offered most new arrivals a chance to do well. In the long run, however, the fate of immigrants may not be the central issue.

More important are the prospects for integration and social and economic mobility on the part of their children, also known as the second generation. Their small but growing numbers have placed them in the research spotlight: Who are they? How well are they doing in school? What is their attachment to the workforce? Are they becoming economically self-sufficient? Are they getting ahead or falling behind in America? The answers to these questions have consequences for both education and employment-related policies.

For more, see http://www.migrationinformation.org/Feature/display.cfm?id=382

KJ

March 2, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

A Plea on HR 4437

Immigration Law teachers: For the last ten years, I have sent alerts to this list about proposals in Congress that most drastically threaten the rights of immigrants, particularly asylum applicants. There have been some bad bills, but nothing as bad as H.R. 4437 or its yet-unnumbered Senate counterpart, on which markup begins today.

Many people have thought that H.R. 4437 was a piece of cruel political posturing that would go nowhere in the Senate. Not so. Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter is marking up a version of H.R. 4437, which he drafted, that contains versions of many of the dreadful House provisions. Among other things the Specter bill would:

-- make it a crime, conviction of which would then bar asylum, to enter with a false passport (a substantial proportion of people who ARE GRANTED asylum enter with false passports because it is often the only way to escape persecution).

-- make it a crime to be out of status knowingly, or to assist an undocumented alien

-- divest the regional U.S. Courts of Appeals of jurisdiction to entertain appeals from the Board of Immigration Appeals, and substitute a certiorari procedure for possible review of Board decisions, but only by the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

The Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children, in cooperation with Human Rights First, has written the attached sign-on letter to try to persuade Senators not to agree to these provisions, and to try to persuade Senator Specter to abandon them.

Please sign this letter, and show your title and institutional affiliation, or write your own letter to Senator Specter and your own Senators. (The letter does not currently have a line saying that the institutional affiliations of individual signatories are for identification purposes only, but I have been assured that this line will be added).

*EMAIL YOUR WILLINGNESS TO SIGN DIRECTLY TO BOTH * [email protected]

and

[email protected]

Because markup is starting this afternoon (Feb. 2) (with no hearings on this bill!), the Women's Commission is asking for signatures by 8 AM tomorrow, February 3. However, if you don't receive this email until after 8 AM Friday, send in your signature anyway; I have seen these deadlines extended on some past occasions.

Philip Schrag, Professor of Law, Georgetown University

Download specter_bill_signon_letter.doc Download specter_mark_02.2006.New TOC and Title VII.pdf

KJ

March 2, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, March 1, 2006

Feinstein and Schwarzenneger on Immigration Reform

Sen. Dianne Feinstein said today she prefers a scaled-down immigration bill that tackles one or two issues rather the sweeping reform measure the Judiciary Committee will begin considering Thursday.

"I’m very concerned that a bill that is too big is going to move and that it's going to become a real lightning rod for enormous dissent," Feinstein told reporters. "My view is to go at this cautiously."

Groups on both sides of the issue have intensified their lobbying this week.

The Minutemen, a group dedicated to border enforcement, sent a letter today to all 100 senators urging them to visit the border before voting on an immigration bill. The group opposes a guest-worker program, saying border security must come first.

Today, a coalition of hospitality industry officials and union workers will hold a rally at Union Station near the Capitol to urge broad reform.

Feinstein, D-Calif., who said she does not support the House bill, which only deals with border security and enforcement, reiterated her opposition to any new guest-worker program.

"I haven’'t seen a guest-worker program that I would vote for yet," she said. Feinstein believes it's unrealistic to expect someone to come from another country with a family and after three or six years of working here be willing to go back to their home country.

"I’m more concerned about the people that have been here, who have been good citizens, who have worked, who have paid their taxes and who work in agriculture," she said. "The industry that needs this labor is agriculture."

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who met with Feinstein and Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., to talk mainly about the levee situation in the northern part of the state, said the federal government must improve border security. And Schwarzenegger echoed remarks by President Bush about the need to match willing workers with employers who need employees.

"Ideally we have a perfect situation where you have people who want to work and companies that need workers. So you have supply and demand. But how do you make that work is the big challenge," Schwarzenegger said. 

Source: San Diego Tribune, Mar. 1, 2006

bh

March 1, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)