Saturday, March 17, 2007
To comply with state law, ballots and election materials related to an anti-illegal immigrant ordinance going to Farmers Branch, Texas voters May 12 will be printed in English and Spanish. Click here for the story.
Credit Texas correspondent Cappy White for the assist on this story.
As immigration caseloads mount across the country, the federal government said Friday that Kansas City will get its own immigration court. On the blog, we noted earlier this week that Charlotte, N.C., will also get an immigration court (along with Omaha, Nebraska).
The United States now has 54 immigration courts. The closest to Kansas City are in Dallas, Chicago and Denver. Kansas City should have its immigration court by the end of the year, said Justice Department spokesman Charles Miller.
“It’s the geography, and the need has grown,” Miller said, explaining the reason for adding the courts. “And (we wish) to make this easier for those individuals who have notices to appear before immigration judges” to get to the hearings.
An immigrant ends up in immigration court if the Department of Homeland Security accuses the person of violating immigration law. Click here.
Friday, March 16, 2007
"Cultural Communities in a Global Labor Market: Immigration Restrictions as Residential Segregation" University of Chicago Legal Forum, 2007, HOWARD F. CHANG (Pennsylvania) Abstract: http://ssrn.com/abstract=963154 This part of a forthcoming immigration symposium in The Chicago Legal Forum.
The Better Part of Valor: The REAL ID Act, Discretion, and the 'Rule' of Immigration Law" New York Law School Law Review, Vol. 51, pp. 161-206, DANIEL KANSTROOM (Boston College) Full Text: http://ssrn.com/abstract=963652
Immigration reform is a major political issue for the 2006 elections. For some basic (i.e., easy-to understand) statistics about immigration, click here. In the 1820s, total immigration was 143,439 ... the Census population for 1830 (the end of that decade) was 12,866,020 ... which results in a percent of population of 1.11%. As it turns out, the current immigration/total population ratio is not that different.
Twenty-two Thai workers have filed a lawsuit against the former owners of a North Carolina labor contracting company that they allege held them captive, threatened them with violence, stole their money, and did not pay for their labor. Many of the workers were recruited in Thailand by the labor contracting company and told that for a fee of $11,000, they could work as farmworkers in North Carolina for eight dollars per hour. When they arrived in North Carolina, they found a very different scenario. Their passports and return plane tickets were taken from them, they only worked a few days per week on the farms, and they were sent to live in a storage building where they were forced to sleep on the floor and share just one bathroom. The lawsuit is seeking repayment of the recruiter’s fees, and payment of the promised wages and of damages. Kate Woomer-Deters, a lawyer with LSC-funded Legal Aid of North Carolina, which is representing the workers, says, “There’s a desire for a work force that’s not going to speak up. Any time you can get people who are more vulnerable than Hispanic workers, unfortunately, that’s an attractive work force.” Kristin Collins, Workers: Promise Became a Prison; Thai Men Sue N.C. Contractor, The News & Observer (North Carolina), Mar. 10, 2007.
Stories like this are all-too-common nowadays. Human trafficking and labor exploitation can be traced to U.S. immigration law and enforcement.
The U.S. Department of Justice will open an immigration court in Charlotte by the end of the year, according to Rep. Sue Myrick (R-N.C.). The DOJ is scouting a location for the court, Myrick's office says.
Immigration courts adjudicate cases involving detained immigrants as well as those seeking asylum.
"An immigration court will speed up illegal alien deportations," Myrick says. "It will also help legal immigrants playing by the rules because they will no longer have to travel to Atlanta to deal with immigration matters." An Atlanta court handles immigration law cases from the Carolinas, Alabama and Georgia.
According to Myrick's office, North Carolina ranks eighth in the nation for undocumented immigrants, with between 300,000 and 600,000. Click here.
Satvinder Juss (King's College) has an interesting article ("The Slow Death of Citizenship Rights") Download slow_death_of_citizenship_rights.pdf. The article traces the UK's movement away from birthship citizenship rights toward citizenship based more on parental citizenship.
President Bush met with Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern today. Prime Minister Ahern spoke in favor of legislation to legalize many of the noncitizens currently present in the United States without authorization. The legislation would impact the 50,000-70,000 Irish nationals. More on that story here.
There is a new PAC on the block! Drew Seman is the Executive Director of Immigrants' List, a new bipartisan Political Action Committee dedicated to meaningful immigration reform. The PAC believes in a "fair and just immigration system that will unify families, encourage fair labor practices and restore America's status as a welcoming country for those who seek freedom from persecution and a better way of life."
Immigrants' List was founded in October of 2006 when a group of immigration attorneys decided they were tired of the anti-immigrant rhetoric they were seeing on commercials at home and from politicians in Washington. In just one week, Immigrants' List raised over $120,000 to support two pro-immigration candidates.
For more information, click here.
In "States Line Up To Increase Employer Responsibility" for Immigration Daily (here), Diane Adams writes about how, fllowing landmark immigration legislation affecting employers in Colorado and Georgia, a host of other states have launched their own attempts at immigration control. The bills run the gamut from initiatives that are little more than an amen chorus for existing federal law, to those that attempt to mandate worker verification programs and impose stiff penalties against employers that hire illegal workers. Some more notable reform attempts are those in Utah, Arizona, Missouri and South Carolina.
As the run for the president ramps up, let's try to keep track of the various candidates' positions on immigration policy. Here's something on Mitt Romney:
When Mitt Romney swooped into the heart of John McCain country this week, he brought a pointed message on undocumented immigration: McCain's approach is the wrong one. Proudly touting the endorsement of Joe Arpaio, a sheriff in the state who is known nationally for rounding up immigrants in desert tents, Romney boasted of cracking down on undocumented immigrants as governor and denounced an immigration bill that the Arizona senator introduced with Senator Edward M. Kennedy in 2005.
It is a theme Romney has hit hard in recent weeks in his appeals to conservatives, many of whom attack McCain's immigration bill for proposing an eventual path to citizenship for immigrants living illegally in the United States and a guest-worker program to help fill American jobs.
"McCain-Kennedy isn't the answer," Romney said in a well-received speech to conservatives in Washington this month, describing it as an amnesty plan that would reward people for breaking the law and cost taxpayers millions to provide them benefits.
But that is markedly different from how Romney once characterized McCain's bill, elements of which are receiving new attention in Congress and from President Bush. Indeed, Romney's past comments on undocumented immigration suggest his views have hardened as he has ramped up his campaign for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination. Click here.
Email your thoughts or information on Romney and any other presidential candidate, and we'll do our best to post your input.
Blog readers no doubt have been deluged with news stories about the controversy over the Bush Administration's mass firings of U.S. Attorneys allegedly for partisan political reasons. But, as with many of today's political developments today, there is an immigration angle as well. According to the Daily Journal (here), evidence is mounting that the Bush administration might have used San Diego U.S. Attorney Carol Lam's performance on immigration-related cases as a pretext for her dismissal.
Thanks to Cappy White, born Texan, resident Californian :), for passing on this scoop!
The Financial Times (here) has a fascinating story on the slowing of the growth of remttances sent by migrants to their home countries. According to the Times, migrant workers sent back more than $62.3bn to their families in Latin America and the Caribbean last year, a rise of 14 per cent on 2005. The figures, which will be released this weekend at the annual conference of the Inter-American Development Bank, confirm that remittances have become one of the region's most important sources of foreign exchange, exceeding for the fourthyear in a row the combined total for foreign direct investment and overseas aid.
Remittances still are growing but growth as slowed, almost to a trickle (1%) for Mexico. This may be a result of increased border enforcement. And it may be temporary. It is hard to tell at this point.
My colleague Joel D, one of my best sources, passed this story on to me.
Bloomberg News (here) reported on March 13 that former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said allowing more skilled immigrants to work in the U.S. would help keep the income gap from widening. Inequality of incomes is the ``critical area where capitalist systems are most vulnerable,'' Greenspan said today in Washington at a conference on maintaining the competitiveness of U.S. capital markets convened by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. ``You cannot have a system that we have unless the people who participate in it believe it is just.''
Check out the ACLU's blog (here) on the Hazleton trial. Besides an update on the trial and description of law professor Kris Kobach's representation of the city, the blog includes commentary on the case by Jonathan Turley (George Washington) and Jeff Toobin (Senior Legal Analyst CNN).
The Christian Science Monitor (here) follows up on the New Bedford raid last week. Accoring to the story, the human consequences of the America's stepped-up immigration enforcement has brought into sharp focus the ethical conflicts inherent in a debate often presented in simple black and white. Depending on who is talking, illegal immigrants are lawbreakers or workers searching for a better life. They're exploiters of America's largess or victims of a capitalistic system that thrives on cheap labor.
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Summer travelers, be warned. Today, the AP reports that the State Department is overwhelmed by a flood of requests for U.S. passports, and is advising travelers to allow for lengthy delays in passport processing, even when they pay a hefty fee to speed their applications.
There has been a 44% increase in the number of passport applications over the number of applications at this time last year. The reasons? Tougher immigration rules and a regulation that took effect this year requiring Americans to have passports when traveling by air to any country, including Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. More here.
Three Arizona high school students were deported to Mexico after a police officer stopped the car they were in for drag racing and called federal immigration officials. A federal immigration official called the deportations of the three juveniles "very uncommon." The head of the local (Gilbert) Human Relations Commission questioned whether the students were victims of racial profiling. Click here for details.