Saturday, April 28, 2007
Our post earlier in the week about Lou Dobbs' latest immigation column generated comment on this blog and others. Well, there is no end to the fun! This Sunday at 10 p.m., CNN anchors Rick Sanchez and Lou Dobbs will debate their very different views on immigration. A video of the the show and transcript will be posted to cnn.com on Monday morning.
U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) (press release) late this week introduced “The Immigrant Accountability Act of 2007.” The legislation would create a point system to deal with those living in the country illegally. Those who receive enough points would be put on a pathway to earn citizenship after 13 years.
Hagel’s legislation is a compromise intended to be incorporated into the comprehensive immigration reform legislation the Senate will consider in May. The legislation builds on previous immigration reform legislation introduced by Hagel in the last two Congresses.
To qualify for a greencard under the Hagel legislation, an individual here illegally must earn points in categories that show specific characteristics that demonstrate investment, contribution and assimilation into the United States. The individual would be required to receive 65% of the available points to qualify for a greencard. After the initial application, if at anytime DHS determines that the alien cannot qualify for the program, the alien would have to leave the U.S. or would be deported. The bill establishes the following point categories:
Military Service (after meeting initial qualifications for adjustment)
Advanced English proficiency
Civic Engagement – significant community service work (religious or secular), a clean criminal record, and on time payment of income taxes for past work
Business ownership (which employs at least 2 unrelated “legal” workers)
Work History (points for each year of work an alien can prove) (Like Hagel/Martinez)
Education (additional points for all levels of education)
U.S. Presence (points for length of time in the U.S.) (Like Hagel/Martinez)
U.S. Citizen/Permanent Resident Spouse or minor child
Click here for a copy of the bill.
Friday, April 27, 2007
Mexican American Political Association
ALL OUT FOR MAY DAY MARCHES NO TO THE GUTIERREZ-FLAKE BILL
We invite you to join us in the May 1st, MAY DAY, marches and actions to raise our collective voices to STOP IMMIGRATION RAIDS and DEPORTATIONS, STOP the FORCED SEPARATION OF OUR FAMILIES, LEGALIZATION FOR ALL, and NO BRACERO-TYPE CONTRACT PROGRAMS.
Lastly, we adamantly oppose the Gutierrez-Flake Immigration Bill, known as the STRIVE ACT, introduced last month by Congressmen Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ). Our next eNewsletter will provide much more information about the STRIVE ACT by various sources which critique the legislation as deficient and dangerous to immigrants and working people.
We encourage you to download the letters we have posted for your convenience, addressed to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and circulate amongst your family, friends, and work-mates and forward these to the Democratic Party leadership.
This month's Harvard Magazine (here) has a story by Ashley Pettus entitled "End of the Melting Pot? The new wave of immigrants presents new challenges." Although Harvard is often thought of as a liberal bastion, some prominent restrictionists, including Samuel Huntington (author of the book Who Are We? The Challenges to an American Identity), labor economist George Borjas, and the late Arthur Schlesinger (The Disuniting of America: Reflections on a Multicultural Society). are, or were, on the faculty.
Asian American Justice Center Joins Advocacy Groups to Condemn Insensitive On-Air Remarks on CBS Radio, Call for Firings
Washington, D.C. – The Asian American Justice Center (AAJC), a leading national civil and human rights organization, and its affiliates – Asian Pacific American Legal Center, Asian Law Caucus and the Asian American Institute – join advocacy groups nationwide in strongly condemning CBS Radio, demanding a more racially sensitive programming ethos, and calling for the firing of two hosts at WFNY, its New York affiliate, following an inexcusably crude and offensive tirade against Chinese restaurant workers on “The Dog House with JV and Elvis.”
In the six-minute segment, which aired on April 5 – and re-aired on April 19 – shock jocks Jeff Vandergrift and Dan Lay made a call to a Chinese restaurant in which they ordered “shrimp flied lice,” sexually propositioned a female waitress, and referred to another employee’s body part as a “tiny egg roll.”
“While we welcome the prompt apology from the station and suspension of the two employees, we believe this is far from enough, given the very gratuitous nature of this episode,” said AAJC Deputy Director Vincent A. Eng. “We believe the station should terminate them and their producer, and improve and re-issue guidelines for offensive and discriminatory and objectionable terms.”
Asian Pacific American Legal Center Executive Director Stewart Kwoh added, "In addition to developing guidelines on offensive and discriminatory terms, those involved with radio production must be regularly trained and reminded of such guidelines, and the guidelines should be shared with community groups so that the station is accountable to our community."
“CBS Radio needs to take steps to ensure that the industry, and its own employees in particular, uphold standards of professionalism that merit their use of the public airwaves," said Malcolm Yeung, a staff attorney at the Asian Law Caucus. "In granting a license, the federal government requires that radio programming be responsive to community needs. Continuing to employ racist shock jocks violates this criteria.”
"I find it appalling that this kind of outrageous behavior was allowed on the airwaves, and only merits a suspension," said Tuyet Le, executive director of the Asian American Institute in Chicago. "Radio executives should show greater responsibility by firing these employees."
Tyche Hendricks, of the San Francisco Chronicle, writes about the effects of recent ICE raids:
"Immigration agents arrested siblings Victor and Elvira Mendoza, 21 and 17, when it turned out the fugitive they were looking for no longer lived at the Mendozas' home. Officers detained 6-year-old U.S. citizen Kebin Reyes for 12 hours when they arrested his father as an illegal immigrant.
"These and many other families across the Bay Area and the nation were turned upside down this year by Operation Return to Sender, a federal immigration crackdown begun last May. The raids focus on illegal immigrants who have ignored deportation orders, but 37 percent of the 18,149 people arrested nationwide through Feb. 23 were not wanted fugitives.
"Mental health experts say the raids are traumatizing children. Legal scholars and public officials are raising constitutional questions about the way the raids are carried out and about their impact on communities as a whole. And immigrant advocates say changes in immigration law -- including tougher provisions enacted in 1996 -- leave little room for illegal immigrants to correct their status." Click here for the rest of the story.
Jennifer Talhelm, of the Associated Press, writes about the serious caseload problem facing federal courts:
"Immigration-related felony cases are swamping federal courts along the Southwest border, forcing judges to handle hundreds more cases than their peers elsewhere.
"Judges in the five, mostly rural judicial districts on the border carry the heaviest felony caseloads in the nation. Each judge in New Mexico, which ranked first, handled an average of 397 felony cases last year, compared with the national average of 84.
"Federal judges in those five districts - Southern and Western Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and Southern California - handled one-third of all the felonies prosecuted in the nation's 94 federal judicial districts in 2005, according to federal court statistics." Click here for the rest of the story.
On June 13-14, 2007, a conference on Immigration Reform: Implications for Farmers, Farm Workers, and Communities wil be held in Washington DC. The conference features speakers from government and industry as well as researchers discussing the impacts of immigration on agriculture and rural communities; Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) will provide the keynote address. Immigration reform may provide a path to legal status for some currently unauthorized farm workers and make it easier for farm employers to employ legal guest workers under a revised H-2A temporary worker program. The agenda for the 2007 conference, and the papers from the 2006 conference, here.
Years ago, comedian Flip Wilson played a character Geraldine who would draw laughter by proclaiming that "The Devil made me do it." Well, one Republican politician today is blaming El Diablo for what he sees as evil -- illegal immigration. The Salt Lake Tribune (here) reports that Utah County GOP Chairwoman Marian Monnahan says District 65 Chairman Don Larsen's resolution - asserting that illegal immigration is the devil's plan to destroy the nation by "stealth invasion" - "in no way" is endorsed by the Republican Party. Party faithful will get the chance to discuss Larsen's resolution Saturday at the county's GOP convention. Larsen, who did not return a phone call or an e-mail seeking comment from the Trib reporter on Thursday, is urging the closing of national borders to illegal immigrants to "prevent the destruction of the U.S. by stealth invasion." "In order for Satan to establish his 'New World Order' and destroy the freedom of all people as predicted in the Scriptures, he must first destroy the U.S.," his resolution states. "The mostly quiet and unspectacular invasion of illegal immigrants does not focus the attention of the nations the way open warfare does, but is all the more insidious for its stealth and innocuousness."
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Dan Kowalski tipped me off to an interesting immigration-related website. Surviving Spouses Against Deportation (click here for the website) is a non-profit organization formed to end the "widow penalty" in United States immigration law. A little known trap for the unwary, the widow penalty affects surviving spouses of United States citizens whose applications for lawful permanent resident status remain pending when the citizen spouse passes away.
Here is an amicus brief done by Stephen W. Manning of the Immigrant law Group LLP (Portland) on behalf of the American Immigration Lawyers Association in a credibility case pending in the Ninth Circuit. Download suntharalinkam_amicus_brief.pdf It explains a study of the review of credibility determinations in asylum cases in the courts of appeals.
The ACLU and Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights for the San Francisco Bay Area on Thursday announced a suit in the case of Kebin Reyes, a U.S. citizen who was swept up with his father during an ICE raid early one morning in San Rafael, California. A San Francisco investigative reporter (Anna Werner) documented the boy's detention and located and interviewed the boy, his uncle and family friends, who described the boy as traumatized by his experience. Later, in a one-on-one interview about the case, Bay Area Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren described ICE's action in holding the boy in detention for a day as "illegal." For the video of the news reports click here and here.
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, the ACLU of Northern California, the ACLU Immigrant Rights’ Project, and the law firm of Coblentz, Patch, Duffy & Bass LLP, filed the lawsuit. Kebin Reyes, a U.S. citizen child who was unlawfully detained for ten hours by immigration officials, was taken into custody in the early hours of March 6, 2007 when federal authorities raided his home in San Rafael, California. He was taken into custody along with his father, Noe Reyes. To see the ACLU of Northern California press release, click here.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
When it comes to immigration, it is hard not to hear about CNN's Lou Dobbs' rants on the topic. Funny, but Dobbs' latest CNN column (here) is entitled "Big media hide truth about immigration." But isn't CNN "big media" and Dobbs perhaps the restrictionist with the highest television ratings in the "big media"?
It is odd, to say the least, that Dobbs, whose commentary appears weekly on CNN.com and his shows appear weeknights on CNN, still thinks that he can colorably claim that "the media" is pulling the wool over the eyes of the American public. His latest anti-immigrant column starts like this:
The Bush administration and the leadership of the Democratic Party are preparing to take another legislative leap at imposing a massive illegal alien amnesty on American citizens. And the mainstream media are complicit in advancing this thinly veiled blanket amnesty. Instead of asking and answering important questions about why our immigration laws aren't being enforced and why we're permitting pervasive document fraud, the national media seem hell-bent on trying to obfuscate the issue, shamelessly playing with language, equating legal immigration with illegal immigration while obviously trying to preserve the illusion of objectivity.
Come off it Lou! The "close the borders" message that you endorse is being heard loud and clear. But many Americans hear other messages as well, like that many immigrants, undocumented or not, are good decent people who work and live in our communities. Immigrants are our neighbors and co-workers. immigrants and citizens sit near each other in church and at parent night at local schools.
The truth of the matter is that "big media" is not fooling anyone. It is just the case that, to many informed observers, the reality of immigration and immigrants is much more complicated than Lou Dobbs and other restrictionists report. Moreover, it is nothing less than hypocritical for the epitome of the "big media" to claim that "big media" is fooling the average American, who is much smarter and decent than some might assume. Immigration is a difficult issue and different people have different opinions. Is it always necessary to look for a "conspiracy" of some sort to explain developments that we do not like?
For a critical analysis of Dobbs' anti-immigrant stances, see Migra Matters (here).
Postscript (April 28): http://www.jta.org/cgi-bin/iowa/breaking/101438.html
The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society called on CNN to fire Lou Dobbs after the broadcaster likened immigrant advocates to Nazi propagandists. Dobbs, an outspoken critic of illegal immigration who hosts an opinionated evening news hour, criticized San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom on Monday, saying he and immigrant protection advocates "might as well work for Hermann Goering. I mean, they're running so much propaganda, trying to confuse the debate, the national dialogue, by talking about immigrants rather than illegal aliens and legal immigrants. It's mindless beyond belief." Newsom had said he kept local law enforcement from participating in illegal immigrant raids in part because he believes legal immigrants fear raids as well. Dobbs apparently was referring to Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi propaganda chief. Goering headed the Nazi air force. "Comparisons to Nazis, especially in this day and age, are abhorrent," HIAS President Gideon Aronoff said Wednesday. "Mr. Dobbs has crossed the line between responsible television commentary and hate speech propaganda of his own. Keeping him on the air is essentially sanctioning by CNN, which is why we're asking CNN to remove Dobbs from his very public platform." CNN did not respond to JTA's requests for comment.
The Migration Policy Institute (here) has a cool website with information "2005 American Community Survey and Census Data on the Foreign Born by State." It allows for the user to click on a state and find demographic data about the state's labor force. While the foreign-born population of the United States increased by 4.9 million between 2000 and 2005, the impact of this growth varied considerably from state to state in terms of population size and characteristics. To facilitate analysis of these differences, the interactive map provides state-by-state data on foreign-born populations from the 1990 and 2000 censuses and the 2005 American Community Survey. State fact sheets can be accessed about the demographic & social, language & education, and workforce characteristics of the foreign-born population.
Antonio Oliva in the Chicago Tribune (here) reported on about 300 protesters shouting and waving signs for several hours in Little Village, Chicago on Tuesday after a federal raid inside a shopping plaza. Officials described the afternoon raid as a crackdown on a ring suspected of selling fake identification. Neighborhood residents and local activists, however, saw the action in the heart of Chicago's Mexican community as an attempt to intimidate people in advance of a planned May 1 march in protest of recent federal raids nationwide.
A lawsuit challenging an immigration raid in Minnesota was filed on April 19, 2007. (Arias v. ICE, Apr. 19, 2007). For the complaint, click here. The basic challenge is that ICE violated the Fourth Amendment. Attached to the complaint are declarations from some of the people who were caught up in the raids.
Kazim Ali (here) writes about how poetry professor in a small college in the Northeast decides to recycle old manuscripts and becomes an object of suspicion. The story begins:
On April 19, after a day of teaching classes at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania, I went out to my car and grabbed a box of old poetry manuscripts from the front seat of my little white Beetle, carried it across the street and put it next to the trashcan outside Wright Hall. The poems were from poetry contests I had been judging and the box was heavy. I had previously left my recycling boxes there and they were always picked up and taken away by the trash department.
This innocuous recycling ended up with the bomb squad, state police, and an investigation. And apparently part of the reason for all of this was that the recycler was Middle Eastern.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Realizing how limited legal resources for immigrants are in the United States due to her years spent consulting on immigration cases and her own experiences as a twelve-year-old immigrant from El Salvador, Evelyn Cruz, an associate clinical professor in the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University, teamed up with the Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project in 2005 to create the Immigration Law & Policy Clinic. Thanks to the clinic, a class of six ASU law students can now develop cases for and represent immigrant children at legal hearings. For more on this story, click here.
The U.S. government is illegally delaying the naturalization applications of thousands of immigrants by profiling individuals it perceives to be Muslim and subjecting them to indefinite security checks, charged the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice (CHRGJ) in a new report (here) released today. The 63-page report, titled Americans on Hold: Profiling, Citizenship, and the "War on Terror," documents the impact of expanded security checks on the lives of those experiencing citizenship delays, often for years on end. The report analyzes these delays and their impact within an international human rights framework, and offers specific policy recommendations to help end discrimination in access to citizenship and other human rights violations.