Saturday, June 23, 2007
US News & World Report reports on the White House's daily strategy on immigration reform:
President George W. Bush has long wanted immigration reform legislation to be a key part of his presidential legacy, and officials within his administration have been scrambling this week to try to keep alive the "grand bargain" immigration reform legislation that failed to pass in the Senate three weeks ago. The Senate will almost certainly reconsider the measure next week, and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and Commerce Department Secretary Carlos Gutierrez both have been "constantly on the phone" this week, says one administration official, trying to prevent any poison pills from being included in the list of two dozen amendments that will get floor votes during the debate.
Every morning this week began at 7 a.m., with what one lobbyist called "war-room-style" conference calls — led by Bush's legislative assistant Candida Wolff — to go over new developments and to hammer out a daily strategy. In the past two weeks, Press Secretary Tony Snow has even been deployed to try to motivate immigration activists to push on, calling the president's immigration stance one of the reasons why he joined the administration. Click here for the rest of the story.
H.G. Reza writes in the LA Times:
Federal agents arrested 175 people during a five-day sweep in Orange County that included immigrants convicted of crimes or who had been ordered deported but remained in the United States, officials said Friday.
Jim Hayes, an official with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Los Angeles, said 100 of those arrested in the crackdown, which began Monday, have been returned to their native countries. The operation by special immigration enforcement teams was the largest of its kind in Orange County, according to an agency statement. The Orange County team became operational June 1. Among the illegal immigrants it arrested were fugitives who had been ordered deported and those with criminal records. Some immigrants were turned in by the public, or in one case by family members, Hayes said.
Agents also relied on a national database with names of fugitive illegal immigrants who have ignored deportation orders. Immigration officials said 632,189 people are in this category, and authorities hope to make a dent in this number through the 61 enforcement teams operating nationwide. Fourteen more teams are expected to be operational by the end of the year. Click here for the rest of the story.
Friday, June 22, 2007
Michelle Middelstadt of the Houston Chronicle reports,
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, who has been pressured heavily by the White House and Republican leadership to support a sweeping immigration overhaul, announced Thursday that she nevertheless will vote against reviving the bill when it returns to the Senate floor next week.
As No. 4 in the Senate GOP hierarchy, Hutchison is the highest-ranking Republican to break with her leadership on a domestic policy issue of signal importance to President Bush.
Less than three hours after Hutchison denounced the legislation as an unacceptable amnesty offer to illegal immigrants, fellow Texas GOP Sen. John Cornyn said he, too, would oppose bringing up a bill he deemed "deeply flawed." Click here for the rest of the story.
Thus, anti-immigrant politicos and activist continue to dominate the media, defining "what's wrong with the bill" in terms of the legislation being "too generous." Where's the media reports on pro-immigrant activists who oppose the bill because the senate legislation is too strict and unrealistic?
This is to inform you that the following report has been published and is available from the UNHCR statistics webpage (www.unhcr.org/statistics):
- "2006 Global Trends : Refugees, Asylum-seekers, Returnees, IDPs & Stateless Persons"
Do not hesitate to contact us should you require further information or detail or if we need to make a change to our e-mail distribution list.
Mr. Khassoum Diallo
Field Information and Coordination Support Section
Division of Operational Services
21 June 2007
WASHINGTON, DC - The Senate immigration reform bill is unworkable in its current form, said the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) today. If the bill should pass the Senate as now written, AILA will advocate vigorously to ensure that the House of Representatives does not replicate the Senate's mistakes.
Since the bi-partisan "grand bargain" proposal was originally introduced, AILA has expressed strong opposition to a number of its central components. Largely the product of intense backroom negotiations, the compromise that emerged was more an earnest attempt to find the political sweet-spot for Senate passage than a reasoned roadmap for comprehensive reform. Political considerations eventually warped the proposal in ways that would bring more chaos to our immigration system instead of the order and rationality that this bill was intended to restore.
Under the agreement to revive the immigration bill announced by the Senate leadership teams, a pre-determined package of 20-24 amendments (10-12 per party) will be voted upon. The expectation is that in exchange for this agreement on amendments, the leadership teams will be able to secure the 60 votes necessary to invoke cloture (cut off debate on the bill) and move to a vote on final passage.
AILA's continuing top concerns with the bill include:
Decimation of the employment-based immigration system through creation of a mis-named "merit-based" point system that disconnects employment-based immigration from employer sponsorship and eliminates existing avenues of migration for aliens of extraordinary ability, multinational executives, and outstanding researchers.
Evisceration of family-based immigration by eliminating 4 out of 5 long-recognized family relationships that qualify an individual for green card sponsorship in exchange for a partial reduction of the backlogs in those categories.
Lack of meaningful opportunities for new temporary workers to transition to permanent residence.
Lack of sufficient future numbers for employment-based immigrants at all ends of the skill spectrum.
Unwarranted restrictions on the H-1B and L-1 nonimmigrant visa programs.
Lack of sufficient confidentiality protections for Z-visa applicants.
Nothing that transpired during the earlier Senate Floor debate served to allay these concerns. Of the 14 amendments that passed by recorded vote, none addressed these most problematic aspects of the bill. To the contrary, most of the amendments that passed have made the bill even more unworkable. Although we understand that two or three amendments included in the final package to be voted on address these concerns on the margins, there are also amendments in the offing that could further distort the original objectives of this bill.
For years, AILA has been at the forefront in advocating for a comprehensive solution to the multitude of problems plaguing our immigration system. Our collective experience on the frontlines of immigration law and policy highlights the dire and urgent need for workable reform that advances the nation's economic, social, and national security interests. We fear, however, that the product likely to emanate from the Senate will be neither workable nor in our national interest.
The necessary architecture for meaningful, effective reform must include:
A clear path to lawful residence for those who come forward, pay fines, and demonstrate their commitment to becoming Americans by earning their status through working and learning English.
A new worker program that includes labor protections, job portability, and a realistic path to permanent residence.
Elimination of the existing unconscionable backlogs in family immigration and recalibration of our employment-based immigrant visa quotas to accommodate the needs of our dynamic and growing economy.
Smart border and worksite enforcement mechanisms that protect our national security interests, while respecting civil rights.
While the current Senate bill may give the appearance of adhering to this skeletal architecture, its full content has hollowed out these essential building blocks. The revolutionary changes to future family and employment based immigration represent an unwarranted and unacceptable tradeoff for a fatally flawed legalization program, partial backlog reduction, and an untenable temporary worker program. AILA cannot support enactment of the Senate bill in its current form and will do everything possible to significantly improve the bill as the legislative process continues.
Thursday, June 21, 2007
In today's Op-Ed pages, Timothy Egan of the NYTimes suggests that restrictionist political platforms (particularly those with racist overtones) are not a winning political strategy for Western politicians. Citing the election defeats of J.D. Hayworth and Randy Graf in Arizona, as well as the growing size of the Hispanic population, Egan predicts that Republicans will pay the price at the polls if they systematically oppose legalization and rely on harsh anti-Mexican rhetoric. The op-ed is here. It's an interesting thought, but it seems to me that the complexities in the way immigration issues play out within and between parties makes this a pretty difficult question to call.
In other immigration news (and perhaps giving Egan a chance to test his theory out), at the moment it appears that a group of Republican Senators are again vowing to block the recently revived Senate immigration bill, leaving us (again) with no legislation.
Mexican singer and actor Antonio Aguilar, who delighted international audiences for years with wholesome musical rodeo shows that earned him a reputation as the Roy Rogers of Mexico, has died on Mexico City. He was 88. During his career, Aguilar made over 150 albums and sold 25 million records while making 150 movies as well.
With the goal of becoming a classical singer, Aguilar a scholarship to study music in Los Angeles in the early 1940s, but he was deported and started working in Tijuana, earning $12 a week. The complete obituary from the LA Times can be found here.
Thanks for Carolina for the suggestion that we honor Aguilar and Cappy White for the story.
President Bush's Council of Economic Advisers Report on Immigration: Finding -- On Average, U.S. Natives Benefit from Immigration
President Bush's Council of Economic Advisers released a report (here) earlier this week on the economic impacts on immigration.
Here are some high points:
In 2006, foreign-born workers accounted for 15% of the U.S. labor force, and over the last decade they have accounted for about half of the growth in the labor force. That immigration has fueled U.S. macroeconomic growth is both uncontroversial and unsurprising – more total workers yield more total output. That immigrant workers benefit from working in the United States is also uncontroversial and unsurprising – few would come here otherwise. Assessing how immigration affects the well-being of U.S. natives is more complicated. This white paper assesses immigration’s economic impact based on the professional literature and concludes that immigration has a positive effect on the American economy as a whole and on the income of native-born American workers.
On average, US natives benefit from immigration. Immigrants tend to complement (not substitute for) natives, raising natives’ productivity and income. Careful studies of the long-run fiscal effects of immigration conclude that it is likely to have a modest, positive influence. Skilled immigrants are likely to be especially beneficial to natives. In addition to contributions to innovation, they have a significant positive fiscal impact. General Points Immigrants are a critical part of the U.S. workforce and contribute to productivity growth and technological advancement. They make up 15% of all workers and even larger shares of certain occupations such as construction, food services and health care. Approximately 40% of Ph.D. scientists working in the United States were born abroad. (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics; American Community Survey) Many immigrants are entrepreneurs. The Kauffman Foundation’s index of entrepreneurial activity is nearly 40% higher for immigrants than for natives. (Source: Kauffman Foundation) Immigrants and their children assimilate into U.S. culture. For example, although 72% of first-generation Latino immigrants use Spanish as their predominant language, only 7% of the second generation are Spanish-dominant. (Source: Pew Hispanic Center/Kaiser Family Foundation) Immigrants have lower crime rates than natives. Among men aged 18 to 40, immigrants are much less likely to be incarcerated than natives. (Source: Butcher and Piehl) Immigrants slightly improve the solvency of pay-as-you-go entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare. The 2007 OASDI Trustees Report indicates that an additional 100,000 net immigrants per year would increase the long-range actuarial balance by about 0.07% of taxable payroll. (Source: Social Security Administration) The long-run impact of immigration on public budgets is likely to be positive. Projections of future taxes and government spending are subject to uncertainty, but a careful study published by the National Research Council estimated that immigrants and their descendants would contribute about $80,000 more in taxes (in 1996 dollars) than they would receive in public services. (Source: Smith and Edmonston)
Thanks to Dan Sokol for steering this our way!
Gloria Estefan (born Gloria María Milagrosa Fajardo García on September 1, 1957 in Havana, Cuba) is a five-time Grammy Award-winning Cuban American singer and songwriter. Estefan began her career as lead vocalist for the dance music band, Miami Sound Machine, in 1975. They crossed over to mainstream popular success with English-speaking audiences with the international hit singles, “Dr. Beat” (1984) and “Conga” (1986). Known as the “Queen of Latin Pop" and with over 90 million albums sold worldwide, she is the single most successful crossover performer in Latin music history.
Cuban-born, Gloria's family moved to Miami, Florida when she was 16 months old, following the Cuban Revolution in 1959. Gloria’s father José Fajardo, who in the 1950s was a personal bodyguard to then Cuban president Fulgencio Batista's wife, was captured in the ill-fated Bay of Pigs Invasion that attempted to overthrow the new communist government established by Fidel Castro. Gloria’s father was held as a prisoner until an exchange was arranged by President John F. Kennedy.
Estefan is an ardent opponent of communism, who has spoken often of her desire for a free and democratic Cuba.
In 1995, Estefan sang the Billboard Latin #1 song “Mas Allá” for Pope John Paul II as part of the celebration of his 50th anniversary in the priesthood. She was the first pop star invited to perform for the Pope. At their meeting, Estefan asked the Pope to pray for a free Cuba. She has been an active opponent of Fidel Castro’s government, and supported the unsuccessful effort to keep young Elián González in the United States.
Click here for Gloria Estefan's official website.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Here are two amendments that the Senate is considering on the immigration bill (which is now numbered S. 1639)
1. The Hutchison (R-Texas) Amendment. The amendment would make 2 changes to the legalization program. First, it would require both the head of the household and the spouse to leave the country. Second, it would require the “touch back” to occur prior to applying for the Z visa (in other words, at the beginning of the program) rather than later on. The significance of the changes taken together is that both parents would have to leave the country and run the risk of being denied a Z visa and be both out of status and out of the U.S. As soon as one family was caught in that trap, no one else would come forward to apply.
2, The Webb (D-Virginia) Amendment. This amendment would move back the legalization eligibility date to 4 years before the bill was enacted and thus deny eligibility to about 4 million people. It would leave to the Dept of Homeland Security the discretion to establish eligibility criteria after the bill was enacted based on “ties to the United States.” So, if this passed, we would have little idea who was eligible for legalization but the certainty that 4 million would not be.
I'd recommend encouraging your senators to vote "no" on these amendments.
THEORETICAL INQUIRIES IN LAW has released a new issue, Volume 8(2), "Why Citizenship?". Papers in this issue include (click on links to view full text, and see below for full citations and abstracts):
Audrey Macklin "Who Is the Citizen's Other? Considering the Heft of Citizenship". http://www.bepress.com/til/default/vol8/iss2/art1
Ayelet Shachar "The Worth of Citizenship in an Unequal World". http://www.bepress.com/til/default/vol8/iss2/art2
Linda Bosniak "Being Here: Ethical Territoriality and the Rights of Immigrants". http://www.bepress.com/til/default/vol8/iss2/art3
Yishai Blank "Spheres of Citizenship". http://www.bepress.com/til/default/vol8/iss2/art4
Rainer Bauböck "Why European Citizenship? Normative Approaches to Supranational Union". http://www.bepress.com/til/default/vol8/iss2/art5
Catherine Dauvergne "Citizenship with a Vengeance". http://www.bepress.com/til/default/vol8/iss2/art6
Kim Rubenstein "Advancing Citizenship: The Legal Armory and Its Limits". http://www.bepress.com/til/default/vol8/iss2/art7Ratna Kapur "The Citizen and the Migrant: Postcolonial Anxieties, Law, and the Politics of Exclusion/Inclusion". http://www.bepress.com/til/default/vol8/iss2/art8
Leti Volpp "The Culture of Citizenship". http://www.bepress.com/til/default/vol8/iss2/art9
Yoav Peled "Citizenship Betrayed: Israel's Emerging Immigration and Citizenship Regime". http://www.bepress.com/til/default/vol8/iss2/art10
Alexandra Dobrowolsky "(In)Security and Citizenship: Security, Im/migration and Shrinking Citizenship Regimes". http://www.bepress.com/til/default/vol8/iss2/art11
Adriana Kemp "Managing Migration, Reprioritizing National Citizenship: Undocumented Migrant Workers' Children and Policy Reforms in Israel". http://www.bepress.com/til/default/vol8/iss2/art12
Ruth Lister "Why Citizenship: Where, When and How Children?". http://www.bepress.com/til/default/vol8/iss2/art13
Guy Mundlak "Industrial Citizenship, Social Citizenship, Corporate Citizenship: I Just Want My Wages". http://www.bepress.com/til/default/vol8/iss2/art14
The links below from NBC are an article and a documentary about Vietnamese Americans of New Orleans and how they recover their lives after Katrina lifted an entire community. The first link is the link to the back story of how the story made, and the second link is for the video.
Immigrants from Across America Converge on U.S. Capitol to Share Stories and Urge Congress to Pass Practical and Fair Reforms
100 “Dreamers”– striving U.S. immigrants from across the country – will join Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chair Joe Baca and Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus for an immigration rally on the Capitol later today. After a cross country tour that included stops in cities such as Chicago, Miami, New York, Philadelphia and San Antonio, these 100 “Dreamers” meet with their representatives to remind Congress that immigration reform is more than just a political debate – it’s about our shared values and the kind of nation we want to be.
They will meet today at 1:00 pm (EDT) in front of the Longworth House Office Building South of the Capitol Washington, D.C.
Dreamer Videos featured at http://www.dreamsacrossamericaonline.org/video_page/Texas
Dreamers Stories featured at http://www.dreamsacrossamericaonline.org/video_page
Chang-Lin Tien (田長霖, pinyin: Tián Chánglín, July 24, 1935–October 29, 2002), was chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley, from 1990-97. As chancellor, Tien was an outspoken supporter of equal opportunity in higher education and preserved the campus's preeminence despite a prolonged state budget crisis.
One of the most popular and respected leaders in American higher education and an engineering scholar of international renown, Tien spent nearly his entire professional career at UC Berkeley. He was the campus's seventh chancellor and the first Asian American to head a major research university in the United States.
Tien was born on July 24, 1935, in Wuhan, China. in 1949, his family fled China's Communist regime for Taiwan. After completing his undergraduate education at National Taiwan University, Tien arrived penniless in the United States in 1956 to study at the University of Louisville. Supported by scholarships, he earned his master's degree there and then a second master's degree and his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering at Princeton University. He joined the UC Berkeley faculty in 1959 as an assistant professor of mechanical engineering. In 1962, when he was 26 years old, Tien became the youngest professor to receive UC Berkeley's Distinguished Teaching Award. He became a full professor in 1968, later served as chair for seven years of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and, for two years, 1983-85, was UC Berkeley's vice chancellor for research. In 1988, Tien left UC Berkeley when he was appointed executive vice chancellor at UC Irvine. He returned to UC Berkeley as chancellor in 1990.
Known for his "Go Bears!" spirit, Tien was very popular with students, often showing up at student rallies and sporting events wearing his "Cal" baseball cap. He was not uncommonly sighted picking up trash in Sproul Plaza, appearing in the library in the middle of the night during finals week, or checking up on students in the residence halls and classrooms.
Tien was a member of the National Academy of Engineering, the Academia Sinica (in Taiwan), the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (in mainland China). The Tien Center for East Asian Studies at UC Berkeley began construction in 2005.
Tien said his values and ideals were shaped, in part, by the racism and discrimination he encountered in America. To explain his support for affirmative action as a tool to level the playing field in college admissions, he often told the story of how, as a new immigrant, he confronted a South still divided along color lines. "One day I got on a bus and saw that all the black people were in the back, the white people in front. I didn't know where I belonged, so for a long time I stood near the driver," Tien would recall. "Finally, he told me to sit down in the front, and I did. I didn't take another bus ride for a whole year. I would walk an hour to avoid that.
Tien said that, as a student, he had to stop a professor in Louisville from addressing him only as "China man" and confronted housing restrictions against "Orientals and Negros" in Berkeley in the 1950s and '60s. These experiences made him sensitive not only to victims of racism, he said, but to all people who suffer disadvantage or pain.
In a 1996 essay in the New York Times, Tien made his case for the use of affirmative action in university admissions, in direct opposition to the UC Regents' decision in 1995 to abolish its use. Tien wrote that America had come a long way since the days of Jim Crow segregation, but that equal opportunity for everyone was not yet a reality. "It would be a tragedy if our nation's colleges and universities slipped backward now, denying access to talented but disadvantaged youth and eroding the diversity that helps to prepare leaders," he wrote.
Tien was a naturalized U.S. citizen who said he was deeply grateful to be an American, but he also was proudly Chinese. When he became chancellor, he declined the suggestion from well-meaning supporters that he seek coaching to speak with less of an accent.
For more about Chang-Lin Tien, including links to pictures from his life, click here.
The Washington Times (here) reports today that Latino and African American groups opposed to illegal immigration are lobbying against a revival of the comprehensive immigration reform bill. It is important to note that it has been reported (here, here, and here) that the most vocal of these groups receive funding, office space, and organizational help from the Federation for American Immigration Reform, a well-funded restrictionist organization.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Tonight, the word is out that Michael R. Bloomberg, mayor of New York City, is no longer a Republican. This has fueled further speculation about a possible presidential bid. In a campaign-style speech yesterday in California, he listed immigration as one of the many areas where the federal government has failed to lead. While he addressed other issues like education, health care, poverty and global warming in some detail, he didn't say anything about the way forward on immigration. But he has previously expressed support for broad legalization provisions, made clear his opposition to temporary guest worker programs that do not offer a path to citizenship, and noted the degree to which the solvency of Social Security is dependent on robust immigration in the future.
The Bickel & Brewer Storefront, on behalf of several apartment owners and managers, today obtained an injunction in federal court against Ordinance 2903 – the so-called "illegal immigration ordinance" in Farmers Branch, Texas. Ordinance 2903 aimed to prevent the renting of apartments to certain immigrants. The federal court’s injunction today prohibits the city’s enforcement of the ordinance until trial. Ordinance 2903 was adopted by the City of Farmers Branch in January 2007 and approved by Farmers Branch voters on May 12, 2007. On May 21, U.S. District Court Judge Sam Lindsay granted a temporary restraining order to the Storefront plaintiffs and plaintiffs represented by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) and American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). In his order the judge stated the court "fully understands the frustration of cities attempting to address a national problem that the federal government should handle; however, such frustration, no matter how great, cannot serve as a basis to pass an ordinance that conflicts with federal law." Following a formal hearing on June 5, counsel for plaintiffs and the City of Farmers Branch submitted final briefings to the court. Judge Lindsay took those filings under advisement for several days before issuing an order today that was similar to the relief granted in May. The court stated in its order, "Given that the court has determined at this juncture that the Ordinance is preempted by the Constitution and is void for vagueness, the public interest is served by enjoining the effective date and enforcement of a local law that the court has initially determined to be at odds with the Constitution." The court ultimately agreed with the Storefront’s central argument that the ordinance is preempted by federal law and, therefore, unconstitutional because it regulates immigration, which can only be performed by the federal government. The Storefront also successfully proved that the ordinance denies apartment owners and mangers due process of law by subjecting them to criminal penalties without providing necessary guidance on how they must comply with the ordinance. This federal action marks one of three lawsuits filed by the Storefront against the City of Farmers Branch. The Storefront has filed two state court actions alleging that the city violated the Texas Open Meetings Act (TOMA) in conjunction with Ordinance 2903 and its predecessor, Ordinance 2892. Working closely with key community stakeholders, the Storefront also helped spearhead a grassroots coalition that opposes the ordinance on account of its being unconstitutional, costly and unenforceable.
For a copy of the order, click Download memorandum_opinion_and_order_granting_preliminary_injunction.pdf
Thanks to Rose V for the scoop!
The Chronicle of Higher Education is covering the difficulties that foreign, especially Muslim, Muslim scholars are experiencing in seeking to come to the United States. In "Politics Keeps Scholars Out of U.S., Critics Say: Withholding visas is said to endanger America's intellectual freedom, BURTON BOLLAG (here) writes about the problem. The Chronicle also sponsoerd an on-line chat in which the discussants (here) explored the following:
"In the last several years, numerous foreign scholars have been denied visas to enter the United States, without any explanation from the federal government. Academic and civil-liberties groups say the Bush administration has used heightened security fears since September 11, 2001, to justify keeping out scholars whose politics or ideas it does not like. The policy damages America's reputation for academic freedom, those groups say, and dissuades other foreign scholars from attempting to visit. What is the effect on the exchange of ideas in the United States? What can scholars here and abroad do to preserve the free exchange of ideas? Barbara Weinstein, a professor of history at New York University, is president of the American Historical Association. A historian of 20th-century Latin America, she specializes in Brazil, labor history, slavery and emancipation, and race and gender. Melissa Goodman is a staff attorney in the American Civil Liberties Union's National Security Project, working on cases concerning surveillance, excessive government secrecy, torture and detention, and the freedoms of speech and association. She was also lead counsel in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit seeking information about the government's use of a USA Patriot Act provision that allows the government to exclude noncitizens who "endorse or espouse" terrorism."
Over the last few years, there have been many reports of foreign students and scholars finding it difficult to come to the United States. For that reason, many colleges and universities have expressed concerns about onerous visa requirements and unexplained denials.
Robert Gittelson, a garment manufacturer -- and not a law professor -- in the LA area, writes for Immigration Daily (here) that "The fact is I'm not a child any longer, and I do understand the immigration reform issue in all its complexity, I have witnessed discrimination, and I can, have, and will advocate for comprehensive immigration reform, and against the tide of Anti-Latino Racism that has reared its ugly head so vociferously in the wake of the recent senate immigration debate."