Saturday, July 7, 2007

NYC: We Are America Alliance

The Open Society Institute, Carnegie Corporation of New York, Ford Foundation and the New World Foundation

invite you to a discussion with the

We Are America Alliance

Tuesday, July 10, 2007   
8:30 am -11:00 am
Open Society Institute
400 W. 59th Street, 3rd Floor, between 9th and 10th Avenue, NY

(Breakfast will be served from 8:30 am – 9:00 am)

Please RSVP to Ronnie Garwood at or (212) 207-6330 by July 6

In 2006, more than four million immigrants and their allies marched and spoke out for the rights and dignity of their communities.  In the aftermath of these unprecedented mobilizations, a diverse alliance of immigrant rights organizations, community organizations, ethnically-based organizations, ethnic media outlets and unions have identified increased civic participation by immigrants and new voters as an essential strategy for furthering the goals of those who seek the full participation of immigrants in U.S. civic life.  The We Are America Alliance currently has fifteen organizational members, all of whom work in immigrant communities with the aim of increasing civic and voter engagement.

Using demographic and electoral data, the Alliance is developing a shared list of priority program areas and goals for citizenship, voter registration, voter education and voter turnout that extends through 2008 and beyond.  The Alliance intends to develop a map of the immigrant civic participation work that needs to be done, and to collaborate on a plan for action that involves coordinating and reducing overlap.  Representatives of Alliance members will be sharing some preliminary information from this process at the discussion on July 10.

The We Are America Alliance represents a new level of trust and collaboration among immigrant civic participation organizations.  At the discussion on July 10, they will share some of the experiences they have had to date in developing the Alliance, which they hope will be a model for other collaborations seeking to increase the civic participation of other low-propensity voters.

Introductions:  Nancy Youman, Open Society Institute

Chung-Wha Hong, Executive Director, New York Immigration Coalition
Eliseo Medina, Executive Vice President, Service Employees International Union
Jorge Mursuli, National Executive Director, Democracia U.S.A.
Steve Kest, Executive Director, ACORN
Geri Mannion, Carnegie Corporation of NY (moderator)


July 7, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

GAO Report on Alien Detention Standards

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released the following report yesterday:

Alien Detention Standards:  Telephone Access Problems Were Pervasive at Detention Facilities; Other Deficiencies Did Not Show a Pattern of Noncompliance. 

GAO-07-875, July 6.

Highlights -


July 7, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, July 6, 2007

Justice for Immigrants Website

This website is designed to help achieve the goals of the Justice for Immigrants Campaign.  It provides tools and information for diocesan and community-based organizing, education, and advocacy efforts.  You will find information about Catholic teachings that underpin this Campaign, as well as proposals from the Catholic Bishops to achieve reforms in our nation’s immigration laws and policies that better reflect our values as a nation of immigrants. Click here.


July 6, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Santa Ana Sanctuary Movement

From today’s Los Angeles Times comes this story that members of the City Council of Santa Ana have been urged to declare itself a sanctuary for undocumented immigrants. Click here.


July 6, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The Season of Death

It is a little past 7 a.m. PST and the mercury has almost hit 100 degrees in Phoenix, Arizona. Do not be surprised if you start reading stories about more migrants found dead on the U.S./Mexico border region.  The death toll mounts as border enforcement measures, which have been accompanied by an increase in the undocumented population in the last decade, have heightened the dangers of crossing and made human smuggling a growth industry. 

Death is one of the costs of U.S. border enforcement policy.


July 6, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Immigrant of the Day: Gene Simmons

Simmons Gene Simmons (born August 25, 1949) is the bass guitarist and vocalist for the rock band KISS.

Simmons was born in Haifa, Israel. In 1957, at age eight, he immigrated to New York City with his mother—an Hungarian immigrant who was the only member of her family to survive the Holocaust.

Gene Simmons is the front man, lead singer and bass player for KISS, the theatrically-inclined 1970s rock band whose members wore face paint. After a brief stint as a schoolteacher, he took the name Gene Simmons and helped found KISS with Paul Stanley (guitar), Peter Criss (drums), and Ace Frehley (guitar). Simmons, in demonic makeup, played bass, sang, spat fire and stuck his tongue out really far. The band played heavy metal with a flair that featured elaborate stage productions with comic-horror themes.

KISS toured relentlessly; their live double album KISS Alive (1976) made them superstars, and for the rest of the 1970s they were one of the top acts in the world.

KISS reunited in the mid-1990s, and Simmons continues to be involved in many ventures besides rock and roll, including a line of clothing, a magazine, a cartoon show and a book (KISS and Makeup, 2001). He has twice starred in reality TV shows: teaching British schoolkids in Gene Simmons' Rock School (2005), and appearing with his family in Gene Simmons Family Jewels (2006).

For the KISS website, click here.  For Simmons' website, click here.


July 6, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, July 5, 2007

For Every Action . . .

As we reported yesterday, the nation on Independence day saw many new citizens being sworn in at ceremonies across the country.  Today, the N.Y. Times (here) has a story by JULIA PRESTON reporting about a surge in naturalization petitions:  "The number of legal immigrants seeking to become United States citizens is surging, officials say, prompted by imminent increases in fees to process naturalization applications, citizenship drives across the country and new feelings of insecurity among immigrants."

Proposition 187 in 1994 and tough immigration (and welfare) reform in 1996 also resulted in spikes in citizenship applications.  The tough talk on immigration reform from the Sensenbrenner bill's passage in December 2005 to the demise of immigration reform earlier this summer, evidently is generating a similar reaction.  Any guess about which political party will garner the majority of votes of these new citizens will be voting for in the next elections?  Can we blame them?


July 5, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

Some Extraordinary Undocumented "Workers"

Marcos Bretón had an interesting column in the July 4 Sacramento Bee (here) about the Bustos family, now Spanish language media moguls who entered the USA unlawfully. It starts like this:

On Independence Day, we give you the story of a Mexican immigrant who came to California "illegally," imported his wife and six kids, made sure his children learned English -- and watched with pride as they made a fortune in business.

You will not find more dynamic local entrepreneurs than Amador and John Bustos, owners of a vast Spanish-language media network with headquarters in Sacramento.


We should all keep in mind that not all undocumented folks toil in the unskilled labor market.  Many are small business people or in high skilled industry and professions.  And, as our Immigrant of thr Day feature hopefully demonstrates, make some extraordinary contributions to thr United States.


July 5, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

July 4 History Lessons

On July 3, Kenneth Davis wrote a little essay about our immigration history.  His NYTimes op-ed seeks to remind readers that  modern examples of intolerance and fear in the immigration debate are mirrored throughout US history.  A link is here.


July 5, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Of Remittances and Brain Drains

Two new articles discuss two important immigration-related issues -- remittances (there is a huge flow of capital from immigrants in the United States to their native lands) and the so-called "brain drain" from the developing world of immigrants to the United States.

Remittances and the Brain Drain: Do More Skilled Migrants Remit More? Riccardo Faini World Bank Econ Rev 2007 21: 177-191.

Brain Drain in Developing Countries Frédéric Docquier, Olivier Lohest, and Abdeslam Marfouk World Bank Econ Rev 2007 21: 193-218.

Thanks for Dan Sokol of the Antitrust and Competition Policy Blog (here) for the links.


July 5, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Immigrant of the Day: Elaine Chao

200pxelaine_chao_large Elaine Lan Chao (Traditional Chinese: 趙小蘭; Hanyu Pinyin: Zhào Xiǎolán; Wade-Giles: Chao Hsiao-lan; born March 26, 1953) currently serves as the 24th U.S. Secretary of Labor. She is the first Asian American woman and first to be appointed to a Cabinet position. Chao is the President's only original cabinet member, making her the longest serving cabinet member during President Bush's administration.

Chao was born in Taipei, Taiwan. Her parents had fled to Taiwan from mainland China after the Communists took over in 1949. At the age of eight, Chao and her family emigrated to the United States. She attended Syosset High School on Long Island. Chao received her B.A. in Economics from Mount Holyoke College and her MBA from the Harvard Business School. She also studied at MIT, Dartmouth College, and Columbia University.

After a brief stint as a banker with Citigroup, Chao was selected as a White House Fellow in 1983, working in the Office of Policy Development. After her Fellowship, she moved to California and worked as a vice president with BankAmerica Capital Markets Group. In 1986, Chao returned to Washington D.C. as Deputy Administrator of the Maritime Administration in the US Department of Transportation. From 1988 to 1989, she served as Chairwoman of the Federal Maritime Commission. In 1989, President George H. W. Bush nominated Chao to be Deputy Secretary of Transportation. From 1991 to 1992, Chao was Director of the Peace Corps. She was the first Asian American to serve in all these positions.

Following her service in the government, Chao worked for four years as President and Chief Executive Officer of United Way of America. From 1996 until her appointment as Secretary of Labor in 2001, Chao was a Distinguished Fellow with the Heritage Foundation.


July 5, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Cato's Global Freedom Initiative

July 3, 2007

Cato Institute Launches New Center for Promotion of Human Rights

“Global Freedom Initiative” aims to promote better understanding of the benefits of liberty

WASHINGTON -- On this, the eve of Independence Day, the Cato Institute is announcing the launch of its Center for Promotion of Human Rights, and its umbrella project, the Global Freedom Initiative, as part of its continuing effort to promote the tenets of individual liberty, free markets and limited government.

To that end, the Center will publish and distribute books, promote internet content, syndicate articles through the popular media, organize teaching seminars and policy conferences, and more.

In order to reach the widest possible audience, the Center will disseminate its materials in different languages. Thus far, Center publications have appeared in English, Spanish, Russian and Arabic. Kurdish and Persian programs will be operative in mid-August, a nascent Chinese-language program will be fully operative in early fall, and the groundwork has been laid for an integrated African program - in both French and English - also set to launch in the fall.

While the desired outcomes vary from region to region, certain common aims unite the various efforts. The Center aims to change the terms of public policy debate in the Middle East, China, Africa and Eastern Europe by broadening awareness of the ideas of liberty, and providing "intellectual ammunition" to its defenders, in the form of arguments and evidence.

However, the Center is not primarily a research center. Original research is carried out by other Cato Institute departments, such as the Center for Trade Policy Studies, the Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity, and the Center for Constitutional Studies, which are also part of Cato's Global Freedom Initiative. Instead, the mission of the new Center is to create a worldwide movement that advances a classical liberal agenda of free markets - and free people.

"The American Declaration of Independence speaks of the equal right to freedom of everyone, not just of members of this or that group," says Tom Palmer, Cato's vice president for international programs, and the Center's director. "Cato's Global Freedom Initiative is a purely private and independent project to achieve that goal, so that every human being can enjoy their rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

For more information on the Center for Promotion of Human Rights, or the Global Freedom Initiative, please call the Cato Institute media relations department at 202-789-5200.


July 5, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Press Conference on Border Shootings

Border Communities Raise Their Concerns on Recent Border Patrol Shootings in El Paso Metropolitan Area

Border Network for Human Rights will a hold press conference on today to present community petition to investigate shootings

El Paso, Texas. July 3, 2007. In just one week, communities in our El Paso region have experienced two violent incidents involving Border Patrol agents, immigrants and smugglers. In the first incident one immigrant drowned and a Border Patrol Agent was apparently hit by a rock. In the second incident one immigrant apparently resulted injured. In both incidents federal Border Patrol agents used lethal force (firearms) to deal with the situation. Both shootings occurred within border communities in the US side.

The failure of Congress to enact new border and immigration policies do not justify by any means, the surge of violent and lethal enforcement against immigrants and much less, to jeopardize the safety of border residents.   

The Border Network for Human Right along with the several border communities in East and Central El Paso and Southern New Mexico emphatically condemn the shootings and the use of lethal force toward immigrant workers and express their concern for what appears to be an increase of human and civil rights violations in our region caused by immigration enforcement agents. 

At the same time, the Border Network energetically denounces the violence of the smugglers that take advantage of and abuse immigrant workers trying to cross the border.   

This coming Thursday July 5th, in a press conference, community representatives from El Paso and Southern New Mexico will present further testimonies of community concerns in regards to this renew violence in our region and will present a petition to the agencies and authorities (local and national) to investigate the shootings, to review the training of Border Patrol agents in the use of lethal force, and the disclosure of the civil and human rights curriculum use for training agents.

Once again, this whole situation only reinforces the need to provide long-term policy solutions that recognizes the reality of immigration and the humanity of immigrant families coming to the US.   

Armijo Park
710 E 7th Ave
El Paso, TX 79901

On Border Patrol Shootings and Violence on the Border
Thursday 5th, 2007 at 11 am

Fernando Garcia
Border Network for Human Rights
1101 E. Yandell
El Paso, TX 79901
(915) 577-0724


July 5, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Immigrants and the Fourth of July

Vera Miller has these reflections on the Fourth of July and naturalized citizens:

""As surprised as Americans may be sometimes by the habits and customs of immigrants, in the reverse position there can be considerable culture shock. But, like the majority of immigrants of that era and perhaps any era... Freedom... Independence... they are especially wonderful things to these naturalized citizens of America." Click here for the rest of her thoughts.


July 4, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Naturalization Ceremony at Walt Disney World

Naturalization ceremonies across the country highlight the July 4 holiday.  In Orlando, Florida, more than 1,000 immigrants from dozens of countries will become U.S. citizens during a aaturalization ceremony at Walt Disney World.   Director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Service Emilio Gonzalez will preside over the ceremonies, which will bestow citizenship on immigrants from more than 75 countries.  The event takes place, appropriately enough, on Main Street, U.S.A.

Congrats to all the new citizens!


July 4, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Immigrant of the Day: Marcus Garvey

Mgarvey1 Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Jr. (August 17, 1887–June 10, 1940), was a publisher, journalist, entrepreneur, Black nationalist, orator, black separatist, and founder of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA-ACL). Garvey was born in St. Ann's Bay, Saint Ann Parish, Jamaica to Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Sr., a mason, and Sarah Jane Richards, a domestic worker and farmer.

Marcus Garvey is best remembered as an important proponent of the Back-to-Africa movement, which encouraged those of African descent to return to their ancestral homelands. This movement would eventually inspire other movements, ranging from the Nation of Islam to the Rastafari movement, which proclaims Garvey to be a prophet. Garvey said he wanted those of African ancestry to "redeem" Africa and for the European colonial powers to leave it.

After corresponding with Booker T. Washington, Garvey arrived in the U.S. aboard the S.S. Tallac on March 23, 1916, for a lecture tour and to raise funds for establishment of a school in Jamaica modeled after Washington's Tuskegee Institute. Unfortunately, Washington had died in 1915 before Garvey reached the U.S., but he did visit Tuskegee and afterward, he visited a number of Black leaders. After moving to New York, Garvey found work as a printer by day, and at night he would speak on street corners. Garvey saw a leadership vacuum among people of African ancestry, and so on May 9, 1916, he held his first public lecture in New York City at St. Mark's Church Hall and undertook a 38-state speaking tour.

In May of 1917, Garvey and thirteen others formed the first UNIA division outside Jamaica and began advancing ideas promoting social, political, and economic freedom for Blacks. On July 2, the East St. Louis riots broke out. On July 8, Garvey delivered an address, entitled "The Conspiracy of the East St. Louis Riots," at Lafayette Hall in Harlem. During the speech he declared that the riot was "one of the bloodiest outrages against mankind."

Garvey next set about the business of developing a program to improve the conditions of those of African ancestry "at home and abroad" under UNIA auspices. On August 17, 1918, publication of the widely distributed Negro World newspaper began. Garvey worked for it as editor for free up until November 1920. By June of 1919 the membership of the organization had grown to over two million.

Convinced that Blacks should have a permanent homeland in Africa, Garvey sought to develop Liberia. "Our success educationally, industrially and politically is based upon the protection of a nation founded by ourselves. And the nation can be nowhere else but in Africa." The Liberia program, launched in 1920, was intended to build colleges, universities, industrial plants, and railroads as part of an industrial base from which to operate. However, it was abandoned in the mid-1920s after much opposition from European powers.

Garvey has been credited with creating the biggest movement of people of African descent. At its zenith, the UNIA claimed over a million members. This movement that took place in the 1920s is said to have had more participation from people of African descent than the Civil Rights Movement. The UNIA may have been the largest Pan-African movement ever.

Contemplating the deportation of Garvey from the United States, the FBI and J. Edgar Hoover in 1919 began an investigation of Garvey's activities.  Garvey was later charged and convicted of mail fraud, imprisoned, and, in 1927, deported to Jamaica. Efforts continue to exonerate him on the criminal charges.


July 4, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

Happy July 4th!

Hope you and your's have a wonderful Independence Day celebration!  Given the fireworks we saw in Washington over immigration reform, I bet that July 4 will seem quiet by comparison.


July 4, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

New Immigration Scholarship

Chasco, Justin. Comment. Judge Alberto Gonzales? The Attorney General's power to overturn Board of Immigration Appeals' decisions. 31 S. Ill. U. L.J. 363-383 (2007).

Fletcher, Laurel E. et al. Latino workers and human rights in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. 28 Berkeley J. Emp. & Lab. L. 107-162 (2007).

Herold, Janet. Fighting the good fight: prosecuting and defending class wage claims for immigrant workers. 10 Emp. Rts. & Emp. Pol'y J. 487-503 (2006).

Kolstee, Jennifer. Comment. Time for tough love: how France's lenient illegal immigration policies have caused economic problems abroad and social turmoil within. 25 Penn St. Int'l L. Rev. 317-342 (2006).

Srikantiah, Jayashri. Perfect victims and real survivors: the iconic victim in domestic human trafficking law. 87 B.U. L. Rev. 157-211 (2007).

Tom, Aileen. Recent development. How stricter Dutch immigration policies are contributing to rising Islamic fundamentalism in the Netherlands and Europe. 5 Wash. U. Global Stud. L. Rev. 451-468 (2006).

Wheeler, Darren A. Implementing INS v. Chadha: communication breakdown? 52 Wayne L. Rev. 1185-1221 (2006).

White, Emily B. Comment. How we treat our guests: mobilizing employment discrimination protections in a guest worker program. 28 Berkeley J. Emp. & Lab. L. 269-304 (2007).

Colloquium: Religion and Immigration. Articles by Amelia J. Uelmen, Michael Scaperlands, Stephen H. Legomsky, Elizabeth McCormick, Patrick McCormick, Marta Vides Saade, Kathryn A. Lee and Michael J. Churgin. 83 U. Det. Mercy L. Rev. 829-953 (2006).

Symposium: New Dimensions of Citizenship. Keynote address by Kwame Anthony Appiah; articles by Rainer Baubock, Linda Bosniak, Anupam Chander, Eveline Dagnino, Nancy Foner, Jennifer Grodon, R. A. Lenhardt, Mae M. Ngai, Peter H. Schuck, David D. Cole, Jo Shaw and Leti Volpp. 75 Fordham L. Rev. 2373-2586 (2007).


July 3, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Survey Request: Top Three Foreign Policy Issues

From: Bonnie Jenkins, Program Officer
US Foreign and Security Policy
The Ford Foundation

I know that many of your organizations have been giving much thought to the issues you would like to see addressed in the ongoing Presidential campaigns. More importantly, I know you have in your minds the specific issues related to US foreign policy that you hope the new administration will focus on after taking office in 2009.

We would like to hear your input on this survey Click Here to take survey. In it, we have listed a number of foreign policy issues. Please take about five minutes to rank in order of your preference the three top US foreign policy issues you believe should be on the agenda of the next administration. Of course, the issues you select need not be ones you focus on in your organization. You will not be asked to identify yourself and responses will remain anonymous. The results will not affect funding. With the help of Linda Guinee and the Interaction Institute for Social Change, plans for another Ford Foundation Laboratory for New Thinking are underway. Like all of you, we would like this input to help us determine the topic for the next lab so that we continue to examine the crucial issues of foreign policy at this critical time.

There is also a question that you should feel free to answer. It asks, “How would you determine when a robust and healthy US foreign policy formulation in America has been achieved?”

We look forward to hearing what you think. Thank you!


July 3, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Immigrant of the Day: Bob Hope

180pxbob_hope_lackland_afb Bob Hope (May 29, 1903–July 27, 2003), was an English-born American entertainer who appeared in vaudeville, on Broadway, on radio and television, in movies, and in performing tours for U.S. military personnel.  Hope was well known for his good natured humor and career longevity.

Bob Hope was born Leslie Townes Hope in Eltham, London, England, the fifth of seven sons. His English father was a stonemason and his Welsh mother was a light opera singer but later had to find work as a cleaning woman. The family moved to Cleveland, Ohio in 1908, traveling to the United States on board the SS Philadelphia. They were inspected on Ellis Island.  At the age of 17, Hope became a U.S. citizen in 1920.

Bob Hope is recognized as “The Most Honored Entertainer” by The Guinness Book of World Records.  But it was a long road to the top.  As a young boy, Hope worked part-time jobs before focusing on a vaudeville career. He toured the country as a performer with a series of sidekicks. Taking the advice of friends, Hope eventually began performing as a stand-up comedian. The one-man act was such a success that he was able to form his own company in Chicago and later moved to New York to begin his radio career.

Hope first appeared on the radio show "The Intimate Revue" in 1935. He made two other brief radio appearances between 1935 and 1937, before starting "The Pepsodent Show" on September 27, 1938. The show was a huge success, attracting regular guest stars such as Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, and Bing Crosby.

During World War II, Hope focused his energy on entertaining US troops around the world, a tradition that he continued for decades.  The rest is history.  Hope established himself as one of the most popular and beloved entertainers of the 20th century.  He hosted 284 prime time television specials and starred in 60 motion pictures.  Hope died July 29, 2003 at the age of 100.

See Hope taking a playful jab at Democrats in this movie clip.


July 3, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)