March 10, 2007
Immigrant Rights Advocates in DC
MEDIA ADVISORY & COMMUNITY UPDATE
March 9, 2007
· Arnoldo Garcia, National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, firstname.lastname@example.org, (510) 928-0685 cell (English / Spanish)
· Diana Pei Wu, National Network for immigrant and Refugee Rights, email@example.com, (510) 847-9339 cell (English / Mandarin)
Hundreds of Community Leaders Descend on DC to Lobby for Fair & Just Immigration Policies
National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and American Friends Service Committee Join Forces with Grassroots Community Leaders to Demand: No New Guest Worker Programs, No More Deaths, No More Militarization at the Border, Keep Our Families Together, Legalization for All
WASHINGTON, DC - Hundreds of immigrant community leaders arrived in Washington, DC this week to lobby for fair and just immigration reform. Delegates come from over 30 states and 100 organizations to demand fair & just immigration reform.
Sunday afternoon, they will receive orientation and their legislative visit information. From 7:00 to 9:00 pm that evening, delegates from the two delegations will meet and relax at the AFSC Davis House.
On Monday, March 12 & Tuesday, March 13, 2007, the delegates will be visiting their congressional representatives, holding a Congressional Briefing and a National Telemedia Conference, as well as meeting with members of the Asian Pacific Islander Caucus, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Congressional Black Caucus.
Delegates include current and former farmworkers, former participants in the bracero program, members of refugee communities, residents of border zones, family members of detainees and deportees, youth lobbying for increased educational opportunities without militarization, and other members of communities directly affected by immigration policy. Their stories and testimonies represent the diversity of immigrant and refugee communities and experiences.
The National Days of Advocacy are organized by the National Network for Immigrant & Refugee Rights (www.nnirr.org) and the American Friends Service Committee (www.afsc.org).
Schedule of Public Events
Legislative Advocacy Training
WHEN: Sunday, March 11, 2007, 3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m ET
WHAT: General Orientation/Legislative Advocacy Training
WHERE: Foundry United Methodist Church, 1500 16th Street NW, Washington DC, Fellowship Hall
Visuals: Hundreds of delegates preparing for legislative visits, including Youth delegation from New York City, members from the US-Mexico border, and members of diverse communities, in many languages. Banners.
** If you are a member of the press and wish to accompany a delegation, please contact Diana Pei Wu (510) 847-9339 or Arnoldo Garcia (510) 928-0685 **
Community Unity Reception
WHERE: AFSC Davis House, 1822 R St NW - Washington, DC
WHEN: Sunday, March 11, 2007; 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm ET
WHAT: General Welcome, Music and Appetizers
Program Begins - Welcome by AFSC & NNIRR
"Celebration of Delegations"
National Media Teleconference
WHEN: Tuesday, March 13, 2007, 1:00 pm ET / 12:00 pm CT / 11:00 am pm MT /10:00 am PT
WHERE: Call in: (913) 981-5559 OR (800) 361-0912
WHO: Community members and leaders, including youth, farmworkers, refugees, domestic workers, and others from diverse communities, speaking on fair & just immigration reform, and their experiences. Most of the speakers below Hill also be here.
WHEN: Tuesday, March 13, 2007, 3:30- 4:30 pm ET
WHAT: Community Briefing on Capitol Hill: "Voices of Experience: Community Perspectives on Immigration Reform"
WHERE: 202a Cannon House Office Building, Capitol South Metro Station Stop
Cathi Tactaquin - Executive Director, National Network for Immigrant & Refugee Rights
Christian Ramirez - Base Building Coordinator, American Friends Service Committee
Guest Worker Programs: The Experience of a Former Bracero Worker
Mr. Sotero Cervantes of Stockton, California is an 85-year-old community member who participated in the Bracero Program, a temporary contract labor program between Mexico and the US conducted between 1942 and 1964. He continues to advocate for the rights of former guest workers.
Human Rights Abuses in Border Communities
Ms. Alexis Mazón is a representative of the Derechos Humanos Coalition (DHC). DHC is a grassroots organization, which promotes respect for human and civil rights with a strong history of challenging the militarization of the nation's southern border region, discrimination, and human rights violations.
The Effects of Immigration Detention and Deportation
Mr. Mohamed Traore is a resident of Jersey City, New Jersey. Mr. Traore's wife, Aissata Bah, was arrested and detained when the couple appeared for her status adjustment interview. He is now a single working parent who is trying to keep his family together.
Monami Maulik is the founder of Desis Rising Up and Moving (DRUM), a New York - based community organization that addresses the impact of immigration policies on the city's South Asian community.
Public Benefits for Migrant and Refugee Populations and the Immigration Backlog
Mr. Ashetu Meri of Fairfax, Virginia received asylum in 1999 and became a permanent resident in 2004. Mr. Meri, who is the father of three children and blind, worked with AFSC to sue various federal agencies for causing cuts to his Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.
The Protection of Labor Rights
Ms. Cristina Gutierrez is a Mexican mother from Tucson, Arizona who was fired by a child care center after she spoke with her boss about child abuse taking place there. Working with AFSC, she filed a case to reclaim her unpaid wages and is now an active community leader.
Visuals: Banners. Diverse Panel of Speakers Representing Diverse Experiences.
Audio: Testimony from grassroots community members and communities directly affected negatively by immigration policies, illustrating the broken immigration system.
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About National Network for Immigrant & Refugee Rights
The National Network for Immigrant & Refugee Rights has been advocating for fair & just immigration reform since the early 1980s. NNIRR represents a diverse grouping of grassroots community organizations throughout the continental United States. NNIRR is a leader in the progressive voice of the immigration rights movement, on border justice, international migrant rights, and popular education for the immigrant rights movement, and is located in Oakland, CA, birthplace of the Black Panthers.
Haitian Protection Act
I am a student at Florida International University College of Law in Miami, FL. I am participating in a Haiti Working Group that is calling Congressmen in order to ask them to support H.R. 522, "Haitian Protection Act of 2007." This act would grant Haitians Temporary Protected Status, so that they could not be deported for at least a year while conditions in Haiti remain so dire.
If you or any group members would be interested in joining this group, please let me know. Since Congresmen like to hear from their own constituents, it is essential that we have nationwide support. I'm asking fellow like-minded students across the nation to help. Additional information on this bill is available, if needed.
It is also important that we keep track of what Congressmen have been called and when. So please report the date, Congressmen contacted, how many times contacted and what volunteer for each call made and send that information back to me.
You may view the bill at: www.thomas.gov/cgi-bin/query/C?c110:./temp/~c110Iw8MZ2
A list of target Congressmen is listed below. It only takes a minute to ask them for their support.
Florida International University
College of Law
Members on the Judiciary Immigration Subcommittee that have yet to sign on
Rep. Zoe Lofgren - (D-CA) - Chair
Rep. Steve King (R-IA) - Ranking Member
Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-CA) - Deputy Ranking Member
Rep. Artur Davis (D-AL)
Rep. William Delahunt (D-MA)
Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN)
Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA)
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX)
Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA)
Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL)
Rep. Daniel Lungren (R-CA)
Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA)
109th Cosponsors that have yet to sign on
Rep Andrews, Robert E. [D-NJ-1]
Rep Carson, Julia [D-IN-7]
Rep Cummings, Elijah E. [D-MD-7]
Rep Delahunt, William D. [D-MA-10]
Rep Engel, Eliot L. [D-NY-17]
Rep Frank, Barney [D-MA-4]
Rep Gutierrez, Luis V. [D-IL-4]
Rep Lofgren, Zoe [D-CA-16]
Rep Lynch, Stephen F. [D-MA-9]
Rep Meeks, Gregory W. [D-NY-6]
Rep Moore, Gwen [D-WI-4]
Rep Norton, Eleanor Holmes [D-DC]
Rep Payne, Donald M. [D-NJ-10]
Rep Rangel, Charles B. [D-NY-15]
Rep Sanchez, Linda T. [D-CA-39]
Remaining Members of the Congressional Black Caucus that have yet to sign on
Rep. Sanford Bishop (GA)
Rep. G.K. Butterfield (NC)
Rep. William Lacy Clay, Jr.
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (MO)
Rep. Jim Clyburn (SC)
Rep. Danny Davis (IL)
Rep. Chakah Fattah (PA)
Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (IL)
Rep. William Jefferson (IL)
Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX)
Rep. Hank Johnson (GA)
Rep. Stephanie Tubbs-Jones (OH)
Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (MI) - CBC Chair
Rep. John Lewis (GA)
Rep. Juanita Millernder-McDonald (CA)
Rep. Charles Rangel (NY)
Rep. Bobby Scott (VA)
Rep David Scott (GA)
Rep. Edolphus Towns (NY)
Rep. Mel Watt (NC)
Rep. Albert Wynn (MD)
FL delegation not signed on
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Rep. Ron Klein
Rep. Kathy Castor
Rep. Boyd Allen
Rep. Tim Mahoney
Rep. Jeff Miller
Rep. Ander Crenshaw
Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite
Rep. Cliff Stearns
Rep. John Mica
Rep. Ric Keller
Rep. Gus Bilirakis
Rep. C.W. Bill Young
Rep. Adam Putnam
Rep. Vern Buchanan
Rep. Connie Mack
Rep. Dave Weldon
Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart
Rep. Tom Feeney
Other target members
Rep. Patrick Kennedy (RI)
Rep. Dennis Kucinich (OH)
Rep. Mike Honda (CA)
Rep. Hilda Solis (CA)
Rep. Joe Baca (CA)
Rep. Grace Napolitano (CA)
Here We Go Again on Birthright Citizenship?
GENERATIONS OF Americans have understood that children born in the United States are entitled to U.S. citizenship, regardless of the nationality of their parents. When Congress revisits immigration reform this spring, however, legislation to repeal this historic rule is expected to play a central role in the debate. James C. Ho, an appellate and constitutional litigator and formerly a law clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas, writes about how the U.S. Constitution stands in the way of this proposed return to Dred Scott in the LA Times (here).
I think that Ho is exactly right.
March 9, 2007
Immigration Ruckus at Oxford
FROM THE INDEPENDENT
It started as a petition to stop Professor David Coleman using his academic position at Oxford University to promote controversial views on the need for curbs on migration. Then came the wrath of the academic world upon the students behind the campaign, who stand accused of trying to stifle free speech. Cue Professor Coleman's appearance yesterday in the pages of two of Britain's more right-leaning newspapers, earning himself more publicity for his views than he could have imagined a mere month ago.
Click here for the full story.
New Study on Black Immigrants in Higher Education
The American Journal of Education 113 (February 2007) published "Immigrants and Black Natives Attending Selective Colleges and Universities in the United States" by DOUGLAS S. MASSEY, MARGARITA MOONEY, KIMBERLY C. TORRES, and CAMILLE Z. CHARLES. Here is an abstract: This analysis uses data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Freshmen (NLSF) to study black immigrants and natives attending selective colleges and universities in the United States. In the NLSF, 747 black students were of native origin, and 281 were of immigrant origin, yielding an overall immigrant percentage of 27 percent. The overrepresentation of immigrants was higher in private than in public institutions and within more selective rather than less selective schools. We found few differences in the social origins of black students from immigrant and native backgrounds. The fact that most indicators of socioeconomic status, social preparation, psychological readiness, and academic preparation are identical for immigrants and natives suggests that immigrant origins per se are not favored in the admissions process but that children from immigrant families exhibit traits and characteristics valued by admissions committees.
Update on Cornyn Amendment
Yesterday we reported that the Senate would vote on a cloture motion by Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) to limit debate on an anti-immigrant and anti-civil rights amendment he had proposed to the 9/11 security bill. We are happy to report that Sen. Cornyn's motion was defeated today. He needed 60 votes to prevail, but the vote was only 46 senators in favor of his motion and 49 against.
This vote was important because this was the first contested immigration-related vote in the Senate this year. Sen. Cornyn's amendment will not be part of the 9/11 bill. But we know that similar and worse anti-immigrant amendments will be proposed to other bills.
Information on Raids
The Detention Watch Network has compiled information for use by attorneys and community activists in connection with the recent immigration raids. A variety of materials, including a community resource toolkit, are available at www.detentionwatchnetwork.org/ntlcallmaterials
Immigrant Detention Map
Loyal readers of this blog know that rarely a day a two goes by without us posting a new story about immigant detention Check out the map of detention on the Detention Watch Network at http://detentionwatchnetwork.org/dwn_map It includes a walth of information, including contact information, for teh centers.
For going on a year now, Detention Watch Network has been working with members to develop a map of detention centers across the country. The current webpage has the preliminary map.
U of A Joins the Immigration Fray
Proposition 300, the 2006 voter-approved proposition makes it illegal for schools to grant in-state tuition to students with no proof of legal resident status. Yesterday, the Arizona Board of Regents approved six policy changes to ensure the state's universities are following the law. For more on this story, click here.
March 8, 2007
The Raids Continue
Federal immigration officers were back in San Rafael and Novato Wednesday to make another round of arrests For the story, click here. Here (Download lofgren_ice_raid_letter_307.pdf ) is a letter from Immigration Subcommittee chair Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose) to ICE's Julie Myers about the raids around the country, seeking "clarification and understanding of your agency's policy and methods of removal of undocumented immigrants."
New International Forum
PostGlobal ( http://blog.washingtonpost.com/postglobal) is an online International forum created by The Washington Post and Newsweek Interactive. Moderated by David Ignatius (columnist for The Washington Post) and Fareed Zakaria (editor of Newsweek International), PostGlobal hosts weekly discussions among leading editors, journalists, and thinkers from around the world, such as Bill Emmott, former editor of The Economist; Hu Shuli, editor of Caijing; Moises Naim, editor of Foreign Policy; Mikio Ikuma, deputy international editor of Yomiuiri Shimbun; MJ Akbar of the Asian Age; Shekhar Gupta of Indian Express in Delhi; as well as novelists and playwrights such as Miklos Vamos of Hungary and Ibsen Martinez of Venezuela.
New Immigration Books
Alborzi, M. R Evaluating the effectiveness of international refugee law : the protection of Iraqi refugees 2006
California. Legislature. Senate. Committee on Labor and Industrial Relations Informational hearing on Hilton Hotels Corporation : an inquiry into its employment practices and treatment of the immigrant workforce 2006
Gilchrist, Jim. Minutemen : the battle to secure America's borders / Jim Gilchrist, Jerome R. Corsi. 1st ed 2006 WILL A SECOND EDITION BE NECESSARY?
Global surveillance and policing : borders, security, identity / edited by Elia Zureik and Mark B. Salter. 2005
Immigration and asylum law of the EU : current debates / under the supervision of Jean-Yves Carlier and Philippe De Bruycker = Actualité du droit européen de l'immigration et de l'asile / sous la direction de Jean-Yves Carlier et Philippe De Bruycker. 2005
Immigration and the transformation of Europe / edited by Craig A. Parsons and Timothy M. Smeeding. 2006
Payan, Tony, The three U.S.-Mexico border wars : drugs, immigration, and Homeland Security 2006
Who belongs in America? : presidents, rhetoric, and immigration / edited by Vanessa B. Beasley. 1st ed 2006
Wucker, Michele, Lockout : why America keeps getting immigration wrong when our prosperity depends on getting it right 2006
USCIS Extends TPS Status To Sudanese Nationals
The U.S. Customs and Immigration Services (here) published notice in the Federal Register that the designation of Sudan for temporary protected status has been extended for 18 months to November 2, 2008, from its current expiration date of May 2, 2007.
Connecticut Halts Sponsor Suit
On March 1 (here), we reported on the state of Connecticut's suit against sponsors of immigrants who had received public assistance. Now, Immigration Daily (www.ilw.com) reports that, according to the Hartford Courant, "The [Connecticut] Department of Social Services has stopped collection actions against sponsors of legal immigrants who have received public assistance. Because of the questions raised about the complicated legal processes, our commissioner and the attorney general have agreed that collection efforts should be temporarily suspended pending a joint review to make sure all legal standards are being met," said David Dearborn, a spokesman for DSS." For the full story, click here.
Good call but a bit late.
Judicial Watch Files Brief in Support of Hazleton, Pennsylvania’s Immigration Ordinance
Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it has filed an amicus curiae brief with the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania in support of two ordinances enforced by the City of Hazleton relating to the employment and harboring of illegal aliens (Pedro Lozano, et al., v. City of Hazleton, Cause No. 3:06cv1586). Click here for the press release with links to the amicus brief.
This appears to be one of the first forays into immigration by Judicial Watch. Some will say it should be its last.
Thanks to George W for this tip!
U.S./Mexico Border Depicted as War Zone in Video Game
Pedro Malavet (Florida) posted an interesting question about a new video game:
Ok, this is probably because I am still jet lagged, from 10 hours on the airplane, but has anyone else noticed that this new Tom Clancy video game about war takes place along the US-Mexico border wall? I do not play such games, so I am wondering who this enemy is.
Here is a description of the game:
The award-winning next-gen killer app returns with Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter™ 2. The Ghosts are back! It’s 2014, and the soldier of the future returns to encounter a new and more imminent threat along the recently completed wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. The Ghosts are more powerful with an upgraded Integrated Warfighter System (IWS) but will have only 72 hours to assess the threat and stop the rebels from reaching U.S. soil. With a border that's 1,900 miles long and an enemy that doesn’t play by the rules, this is a job for the U.S. military’s most elite fighting unit. This is a job for the Ghosts.
Latinos and the Law Conference
Latinos and the Law: Is Our Past Also Our Future? March 29-30, 2007, Indiana University School of Law, Bloomington, Indiana
The conference will address some of the most pressing challenges facing the Latino community. Some of these challenges are well- known and widely debated, such as questions over immigration, human rights, and civic participation. During this two day conference, an interdisciplinary group of prominent scholars and practitioners will discuss these and related issues central to the Latino experience. With this conference, we hope to look ahead and consider how the lessons of the past may inform future discourse, law and policy affecting Latinos. Four panel discussions will guide participants through the topics: Civic Participation: Voting, Education and Language Human Rights Puerto Rico Immigration Professor Luis Fuentes-Rohwer Organizer firstname.lastname@example.org Professor Christiana Ochoa Organizer email@example.com
Click here for details.
Citizenship Promotion Act Introduced
U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) joined Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) and Congressman Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) yesterday to introduce the Citizenship Promotion Act. This legislation would reject the drastic increases in the immigration application fees recently proposed by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
“The Citizenship Promotion Act will remove the financial barriers that prohibit immigrants from becoming citizens of the United States,” said U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky. “Instead of making it more expensive and more difficult to become a citizen, we should create a fairer system that provides immigrants with an affordable and reasonable path to citizenship. Under the current proposal, the USCIS would discourage immigrants from becoming full and active participants in our society.”
The USCIS has proposed raising the application fees for immigration services across the board. Under their proposal, the cost of applying for naturalization would climb by more 80 percent to $595 per person. The fee to file for a green card would soar from $325 to $905 per person. The USCIS is also in the process of developing an electronic filing system that may become the only way to file regardless of whether a person has access to and understanding of the internet. Each of these proposals makes it even more difficult for hard working immigrants who are legally trying to pursue the dream of becoming American citizens.
The Citizenship Promotion Act would prohibit the USCIS from raising immigration service fees until the USCIS has studied and reported the need for the increases to Congress. The legislation authorizes Congress to appropriate funds to the USCIS for the immigration application process so that immigrants are not forced to bear the entire cost of their application. The legislation will also expedite the application process by supporting efforts to educate immigrants about the legal citizenship process, making electronic filing voluntary, and requesting a Government Accountability Office investigation into delays into the background check process.
The National Council of La Raza, the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund, the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, the National Immigration Forum, the National Immigrant Justice Center, the Asian American Justice Center, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, Legal Momentum, the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, and the Massachusetts Immigration and Refugee Advocacy Coalition have all endorsed the Citizenship Promotion Act.
Cornyn Anti-Immigrant Amendment to 9/11 Bill
The U.S. Senate could vote as soon as today on an anti-immigrant amendment to the 9/11 Security Bill now on the Senate floor.
The Senate is currently considering a bill (S. 4) to enact into law recommendations made by the 9-11 Commission. Some Republican Senators have seized on this bill as an opportunity to push anti-immigrant and anti-civil rights amendments under the guise of protecting national security. These amendments were not part of the 9-11 Commission's recommendations and would compromise core American values like a fair opportunity to prove innocence and punishment that fits the crime.
The amendment most likely to receive a vote is No. 312, filed by Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) on March 7. The vote (which will occur today or Friday) will be on Sen. Cornyn's cloture motion, a procedure limiting debate that will need 60 votes to prevail. This will be the first contested immigration-related vote in the Senate this year, and its importance goes beyond the particular issues at stake. If Sen. Cornyn prevails by capturing 60 or more votes, it may be harder to combat any number of other anti-immigrant measures that Senators could attempt to tack onto future legislation.
WHAT THE AMENDMENT DOES
Sen. Cornyn's amendment would:
• undercut two U.S. Supreme Court cases on indefinite detention of immigrants
• abolish the last remnant of judicial review on visa revocations
• criminalize innocent activity protected by the First Amendment including making charitable donations and exercising free speech rights
See http://www.democracyinaction.org/dia/organizationsORG/NILC/images/030806 cornyn amendment overview.doc from the Rights Working Group for more details on this amendment.
Bankers Oppose Blackburn Bill
ABA Opposes Bill Against Consular Card ID
The American Bankers Association on Wednesday objected to a lawmaker's attempt to tighten the identification requirements for undocumented immigrants trying to qualify for banking services.
Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., introduced a bill Monday that would stop banks from using "matricula" consular cards or other foreign IDs to verify a customer's identity when opening an account.
"It's a strange world that we live in where we're actually trying to get folks not to put money into a financial institution," James Ballentine, the ABA's director of housing and economic development, said in an interview.
Rep. Blackburn's bill would limit financial institutions, as well as the federal government, to recognizing four types of identity verification: a Social Security card accompanied by photo identification; a driver's license or state-issued identification card; a passport; or a photo identification card issued by the Department of Homeland Security.
"It says to banks and illegal immigrants alike, 'You can't get a Visa without a visa,' " Rep. Blackburn said in a press release Monday.