Saturday, July 14, 2007

Massive Iraqi Refugee Need

Frank Jordans of the Associated Press writes:

The U.N. refugee agency is doubling its annual appeal for funds to help Iraqis fleeing their homes to $123 million from $60 million, officials said Thursday.

The money is needed to help some 2 million internally displaced Iraqis and 2.2 million more who have fled abroad, the agency's director for the Middle East and North Africa said.

"The massive displacement of Iraqis, internally and externally, continues unabated, causing a great deal of suffering and uncertainty among the affected populations," said Radhouane Nouicer of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.

The United States immediately announced it would contribute $19 million on top of $18 million already given to UNHCR. That takes Washington's total aid spending on displaced Iraqis and refugees to more than $153 million this year, said Mark Storella of the U.S. mission in Geneva. Click here for the rest of the story.

bh

July 14, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Inter-American Commission Argument on U.S. Deportation Case

A hearing before the Inter-American Commission in Washington, D.C. will take place on Friday, July 20 at 10 am.  The case challenges mandatory deportation of "aggravated felons" under U.S. immigration law. For a description of the case, see Download note_on_smith_and_armendariz_final.pdf

KJ

UPDATE

Friday, July 20, 2007 - Room A These hearings will be Webcast live through the OAS website, www.oas.org. The videos can be also watched afterward in the “Videos On Demand” OAS webpage. The audio recordings will be available in the IACHR’s website, www.iachr.org

July 14, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sham Marriage Ring in Southern California

H.G. Reza reports in the LA Times:

Ten more suspects have been snared in an ongoing federal investigation into a scam involving Asians willing to pay thousands of dollars to immigrate to this country by entering into phony marriages with U.S. citizens from Vietnamese and Chinese communities in Southern California.

The defendants, who come from the Little Saigon area of Westminster and the San Gabriel Valley, were indicted on charges of posing as spouses in order to petition for green cards for men and women to emigrate from China, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said Thursday.

Some suspects had petitioned for as many as 10 spouses, said Frank Johnston, ICE assistant agent in charge in Los Angeles. The arrests are the latest in a five-year investigation called Operation Newlywed Game, which has already resulted in 49 convictions. Click here for the rest of the story.

bh

July 14, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, July 13, 2007

Immigration Raids Continue

We previously reported (here) about immigration raids in February at Swift meatpacking plants.  AP reports about more raids.  According to AP (here), half of the 20 people arrested this week during a second set of nationwide immigration raids connected to Swift & Co. plants were in the Texas Panhandle, where the meat processor has a plant. Agents made the arrests Tuesday and Wednesday in Cactus, Texas; Marshalltown, Iowa; Grand Island, Neb.; Worthington, Minn.; Greeley, Colo.; and Hyrum, Utah; where Swift has plants. They involved current and former Swift employees, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said in a statement Thursday.

20 down, 12 million to go!

KJ

July 13, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Queueless On Immigration by Shikha Dalmia

The anti-immigrant crowd frequently condemns undocumented immigrants who failed to wait in line.  However, they generally fail to note that, for many unskilled workers, there is no line for them to wait in under U.S. immigration law.  Shikha Dalmia makes this point in an article that begins as follows:

For two decades, immigration bashers have stymied any attempt to regularize the status of illegal aliens in this country by employing one, single trope against them: they are queue-jumpers who illegally crossed the border ahead of those patiently waiting their turn.

But the trope is a fallacy based on a complete misstatement of U.S. immigration policy. There is no such line - a legal pathway to citizenship for unskilled workers. (emphasis added).

Click here for the full article.

KJ

July 13, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Don't Forget Esequiel Hernández, Jr.: Just Another Innocent Casualty of Increased Border Enforcement

Man Down At Polvo Crossing by Daniel M. Kowalski, Esq.

Ten years ago on the Texas - Mexico border, at Polvo Crossing, near Redford, four heavily-armed, camouflaged U.S. Marines stalked and killed an 18-year-old American citizen, Esequiel Hernández, Jr., who was herding his family's goats. The Marines said they felt threatened by the boy, even though he was armed only with an ancient single-shot .22 rifle, used to keep coyotes away from the goats.

There were investigations. There were indictments. No one was convicted. To settle the family's wrongful death lawsuit, the U.S. government paid $1.9 million dollars.

So much has happened in our world since that evening in May, 1997. Considering the intervening cascade of atrocities - including, but not limited to: Bush v. Gore, Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, 9/11, Afghanistan, Iraq, Abu Ghraib, Katrina, FEMA, Guantánamo, enemy combatants, material witnesses, Jose Padilla, the death of habeas corpus - it's easy to downplay or even forget Hernandez' death.

It's easy to forget that in a 249-page Congressional report issued by Lamar Smith - Lamar Smith! - the oversight investigators essentially accused the Justice Department of a cover-up.

Have we learned anything in the last ten years? Read the Smith report, if you can find one. Study the websites linked below.

Oh yes, one more thing: Esequiel had a U.S. Marines recruiting poster tacked up on his bedroom wall. After his death, his family ripped it down.

Esequiel Hernández, Jr., R.I.P., Q.E.P.D.

***

Click here to the posting on Immigration Daily, along with links to information about the hernandez case.

KJ

July 13, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Should Savage Be Fired? Bay Area Activists Say Yes

Kantele Franko rights in the San Francisco Chronicle:

Bay Area immigrant rights advocates say radio host Michael Savage should be fired for using hateful language when suggesting supporters of an immigration reform bill who fasted in San Francisco's Civic Center Plaza last week should starve to death.

During a July 5 broadcast of "The Savage Nation," his nationally syndicated talk show, Savage said, "I would say let them fast till they starve to death ... because then we won't have a problem about giving them green cards because they're illegal aliens."

More than 30 protesters publicly denounced Savage and the on-air remarks outside San Jose City Hall on Thursday and said his comments should not be disregarded on the basis of constitutional free speech. Click here for the rest of the article.

bh

July 13, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Move to Attach DREAM Act to Defense Bill

Today, Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) announced that next week he, Chuck Hagel (R-NE) and Richard Lugar (R-IN) will introduce the DREAM Act as an amendment to H.R. 1585, the Department of Defense authorization bill, which is now being debated in the Senate. The amendment will need 60 votes to pass. Its adoption would be a giant step forward for the DREAM Act, which would then stand an excellent chance of becoming law this year.

The provisions of the DREAM Act amendment are expected to be word for word identical to S. 774, the bill that Senators Durbin, Hagel, and Lugar introduced earlier this Spring.  It would provide a 6-year path to permanent residence and eventual citizenship for individuals brought to the U.S. years ago as undocumented children if they graduate from high school and continue on to college or military service.

We do not yet know when the vote will be, and it is possible that procedural obstacles could prevent one from occurring at all. But regardless, it is imperative for all DREAM Act supporters to call your Senators and click here to send an e-mail message to them today, and again tomorrow, and again every day until the vote occurs. You can find your Senators' phone numbers here.

We expect anti-immigrant groups to spread falsehoods about the DREAM Act and to try to inflame their base to intimidate Senators like they did in the recent Senate debate about immigration reform. But DREAM Act supporters are passionate too. We can and must fight back and match their intensity.

CALL BOTH OF YOUR SENATORS AND TELL THEM

"PLEASE VOTE FOR THE DURBIN-HAGEL-LUGAR
DREAM ACT AMENDMENT TO H.R. 1585
SO THAT IMMIGRANT STUDENTS BROUGHT HERE AS CHILDREN
CAN REALIZE THEIR POTENTIAL"

Your Senators' phone numbers are online at:
http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm 

To send an e-mail message to your Senators please go to:
http://www.democracyinaction.org/dia/organizationsORG/NILC/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=12129

What else you can do:

Forward this message to every listserv and everyone you know
Post it on blogs, MySpace, Facebook, or other on-line networking tools
Call in to C-SPAN or other radio or television shows where there is some hope of a sympathetic audience (not anti-immigrant propaganda sites)

The DREAM Act in Brief:

The DREAM Act is narrowly tailored

It would apply only to individuals brought to the U.S. at least 5 years ago as children, who have grown up here, and who have remained in school and out of trouble. They could get a green card 6 years after graduating from high school if during that time they continue on to college or serve in the military.

The DREAM Act is not a "mini-amnesty"

At its core, amnesty is forgiveness for wrongdoing. That does not apply to DREAM Act students who were all brought here years ago as children. The DREAM Act rewards them for staying in school or serving our country.

The DREAM Act would benefit taxpayers

The DREAM Act would provide hope to immigrant students and lead many more of them to remain in school. As an example of the fiscal benefits of this, a RAND study showed that a 30-year-old Mexican immigrant woman who graduates from college will pay $5,300 more in taxes and cost $3,900 less in government expenses each year than if she had dropped out of high school. This amounts to an annual fiscal benefit of over $9,000 per person every year, money that can be used to pay for the education of other children. State and local taxpayers have already invested in the education of these children in elementary and secondary school and deserve to get a return on their investment

You can find more information about the DREAM Act here.

To subscribe to the DREAM listserv, please email Katherine Vargas at vargas@nilc-dc.org with "subscribe to DREAM listserv" in the subject line and include your contact information in the text of the email.

bh

July 13, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Plyer v. Doe: Public Education for Undocumented Children

The Texas Observer has a detailed story by Barbara Belajack on the case of Plyer v. Doe, offering a concise survey of the history of the litigation and the players involved (from Laura Alverez -- an undocumented child involved as a plaintiff, to Chief Justice John Roberts, then a lawyer at DOJ whose old memo shows his dissatisfaction with the decision). The article also traces out some of the post-Plyer developments concerning the education of the undocumented.  U.S. District Judge Justice's 1978 description of the reasons for the Texas policy has resonance today in the face of local ordinances aimed at the undocumented, who have become scapegoats for complex social and fiscal problems:

[Judge]Justice chided the state for using the children to deal, in a backhanded way, with longstanding problems caused by a school finance system based on property taxes. No one disputed that school districts were overburdened and that there were many poor, Spanish-speaking, immigrant students, particularly along the border, he wrote. But testimony indicated that most of them were legal immigrant children. “Bent on cutting educational costs and unable constitutionally to exclude all such ‘problem’ children, the state has attempted to shave off a little around the edges, barring the undocumented alien children,” he wrote. “The expedience of this state’s policy may have been influenced by two actualities: children of illegal aliens had never been explicitly afforded any judicial protection, and little political uproar was likely to be raised in their behalf.”


The link to the full story is here.  Thanks to Cappy White for sending it my way.

-jmc

July 13, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Minuteman Gilchrist Sued Again

Thanks to Ana Maria Patino for this:

Jim Gilchrist, founder of the Minutemen Project has been sued by his former colleagues and supporters, Barbara Coe and Deborah Courtney. This is the second time a lawsuit has been filed in Orange County Superior Court involving the Gilchrist, Coe and Courtney. The first one was dismissed on a technicality. See http://www.ocregister.com/ocregister/news/columns/article_1757702.php

          Barbara Coe, President of the California Coalition For Immigration Reform, is one of the plaintiffs. Barbara Coe’s group had been listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center here: http://www.splcenter.org/intel/map/hate.jsp?S=CA&m=5  If you do not remember Barbara she  spearheaded Proposition 187, an initiative — thrown out by the courts — that denied government services to undocumented immigrants. One of the other plaintiffs is Deborah Courtney, is a crime victim turned gun-rights advocate.

Barbara and Deborah were on Gilchrist’s Board of Directors until the Board decided to vote Gilchrist out of the Minutemen. The 18-page complaint filed against Gilchrist alleges Gilchrist took money donated to the Minutemen Project and converted it to his own use.

bh

July 13, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

More on 212(c) and the Blake Case

Thanks to Dan Kowalski for this reaction to the post yesterday about 212(c), the Ninth Circuit and Blake:

Eleventh Circuit to follow Second on Blake?

"Without expressing any opinion about the issues raised in Palomino's petition for review or Palomino's eligibility for § 212(c) relief, we GRANT the petition, VACATE the order denying reconsideration, and REMAND this case to the BIA for the purpose of allowing the BIA to consider Palomino's motion to reconsider in light of Blake v. Carbone." Palomino-Abad v. U.S. Atty. Gen'l., July 10, 2007.

http://bibdaily.com/pdfs/Palomino-Abad%2011%207-10-07.pdf

bh

July 13, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

More Border Deaths Anticipated

The tragic, avoidable, death toll along the U.S.-Mexico border is expected to surge. When will our nation's immoral border strategy cease? We should not stand by idly as this tragedy continues.

Robin Emmott writes in Reuters:

Tougher security along the U.S.-Mexico border is forcing migrants to take more dangerous, remote routes to cross into the United States and pushing up the number of deaths in the desert.

This year could see a record of well over 500 such deaths. At least 275 Mexican bodies have been found in the first six months, according to a Mexican Congressional report backed by U.S. and Mexican border groups and academics.

They say at least 4,500 Mexicans have died trying to cross since the United States drastically increased border controls in late 1994 to stem illegal immigration. Click here for the rest of the story.

bh

July 13, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Immigrant of the Day: Annika Sörenstam

300pxsorenstambrit2004a Annika Sörenstam (born October 9, 1970 near Stockholm, Sweden) is a professional golfer whose achievements rank her as one of the most successful female golfers in history. She has won 69 official LPGA tournaments including ten majors, 17 other tournaments, and tops the LPGA's career money list with earnings of over $20 million. The winner of a record eight Player of the Year awards, and six Vare Trophy's (given to the LPGA player with the lowest seasonal scoring average), she is the only female golfer to shoot a 59 in competition. She holds various all-time scoring records including the lowest season scoring average (68.6969 in 2004). She made history at the Bank of America Colonial tournament in 2003 as the first woman to play in a men's PGA Tour event since 1945. Her growing off course interests include the ANNIKA golf academy, golf course design, and a charitable foundation.

Sörenstam moved to the United States to attend college at the University of Arizona. She won seven collegiate titles and in 1991 became the first non-American and first freshman to win the individual NCAA National Championship. She was 1991 NCAA Co-Player of the Year, runner-up in the 1992 NCAA National Championship, 1992 Pac-10 champion, and a 1991-92 NCAA All-American.  Sörenstam turned professional in 1992.

KJ

July 13, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Bad News on 212(c) and Blake from the Ninth Circuit

This is bad.  In Abebe v. Gonzales (7/9/07) the Ninth Circuit upheld the BIA's Matter of Blake decision for 212(c) cases.   That decision in practice severely limits what aggravated felony convictions can be waived under 212(c).  (To be waivable under 212(c), any conviction must have been received before operative dates in 1996 and must meet other criteria.)

In practice, under Blake a person applying for 212(c) as a relief to a charge of deportability can only waive DRUG OFFENSES that are aggravated felonies.  We have put forward other tricky arguments, but that will be taken as the norm.  This, of course, wipes out a good deal of the usefulness of the 212(c) waiver, which often is used to waive aggravated felony convictions such as theft or sexual abuse of a minor.   

Blake does NOT not apply to persons applying for adjustment as a defense to removal (unless the opinion, which I just skimmed, does something  bad to that that I didn't notice), or to persons who re-entered the U.S. after a trip abroad.

I assume that there will be an appliction for a rehearing en banc.  Judge Berzon was on the panel and filed a concurrence saying that she disagrees with the decision but felt compelled to support it because of a past Ninth Circuit decision. 

The ILRC, UC Davis Clinic, and National Immigration Project were amici in the case.   Zach Nightingale and Bob Jobe represented Abebe.

Kathy Brady
Immigrant Legal Resource Center
1663 Mission Street, Suite 602
San Francisco CA 94103

Additional comment from Nora Privitera of the ILRC:

As you know, there is a 2dh Circuit case that is contra, and that supports granting 212(c) based on a Francis equal protection argument, so that is a good ground (in addition to Judge Berzon’s opinion) for asking for rehearing.  That case is, FYI, Blake v. Carbone, No. 05-2988, 05-4188, 05-2643, 05-4382

bh

July 12, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Vigil in Tacoma, Washington

24-Hour Vigil for Human Rights at Northwest Detention Center
Organizing for Community Security in the I.C.E. Age

Community to Community Development invites all social justice, faith, labor and community groups to a peaceful vigil at the privately run Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, WA. As Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) continues to terrorize and break apart families in Washington and across the nation, we need to come together for human rights and community security. Come with signs and coffee and baked goods for families visiting their detained relatives inside. Stay and learn how to get involved with the growing immigrant rights network in the region!

Friday, July 13 6 p.m. through Saturday, July 14 6 p.m.
Northwest Detention Center
1623 E. J Street
Tacoma, WA

Come for as long as you can! Click here to view flyer.

bh

July 12, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

July 16, Sacramento, Volunteers Needed

NEEDED: A FEW GOOD IMMIGRATION PRACTITIONERS TO JOIN US FOR CONSULTATIONS.

Monday, July 16, 2007
Our Lady of Guadalupe Church
711 T Street, Sacramento CA 95814 (between 7th and 8th Streets)

Consultations begin at 6:30  p.m.

If you are able to participate, please respond to confirm  your participation by sending an email to Jessica Hall at: jessica@picocalifornia.org 

Principal Co-Sponsors: Local Organizing Committee of Our Lady of Guadalupe and Sacramento Area Congregations Together (ACT), and the Immigrant Legal Resource Center.  Sacramento ACT is an affiliate of PICO, which is engaged in faith-based organizing.  The ILRC works with PICO closely on immigration-related issues. 

The purpose of the meeting is two-fold: a) to convey accurate information about people’s situations through both the presentation and the consultations and b) to organize immigrants to obtain better immigration laws and policies. Your participation is critical in accomplishing both objectives.

We also encourage you to bring your business cards and appointment book if you like to make appointments for future (paying) clients.

These consultations are by necessity shorter than those you provide in your offices. Practitioners have found this to be a great way to help the immigrant community help themselves, provide much needed information, and learn from colleagues.

Please confirm your participation by sending an email to Jessica Hall at: jessica@picocalifornia.org 

We hope you can join us.

Mark Silverman
Director of Immigration Policy
Immigrant Legal Resource Center

bh

July 12, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Immigration Video Game!!

In October, "ICED! I CAN END DEPORTATION," Breakthrough's much-talked about game on immigration will be released.  According to the the Breakthrough website (here), this 3D downloadable game, teaches players about the unjust nature of U.S immigration policy. Game players have to live the day-to-day life of an immigrant teen. The teens are constantly being chased by immigration officers, while making moral/consequential decisions and answering myth & fact quizzes about current immigration policies. If the player chooses or answers incorrectly, he/she increases his or her chances of being thrown into detention. Once in detention, the player endures both physical separation from his/her family and unjust conditions while awaiting, often for unknown amounts of time, the random outcome of his/her case.

Visitorcenterweb

For more info on the game, click here.

KJ

July 12, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Immigrant of the Day: Vladimir Guerrero

5737 Vladimir Alvino Guerrero (born February 9, 1976 in the Dominican Republic), nicknamed Vlad, Vlad The Impaler, Bad Vlad, and known in his native Dominican Republic as Miquéas (Spanish for Micah), is a Major League Baseball right fielder who plays for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. He currently lives in Anaheim Hills, California.

Guerrero is widely recognized as one of the best all-around players in Major League Baseball.  He regularly hits for power, has a high average, steals bases, and has a reputation of having one of the strongest outfield arms in baseball. Guerrero is also regarded as the game's premier "bad ball hitter" for his ability to crush balls thrown outside of the strike zone.

Vladimir was born on February 9, 1976 in Don Gregorio, Nizao, Dominican Republic. He is the younger brother of major leaguer Wilton Guerrero. They both played with the Montreal Expos. He is also the older brother of current minor leaguer Cristian Guerrero of the Harrisburg Senators.

Vladimir was criticized during his first full rookie season (he played 9 games in 1996) of 1997 for being too aggressive at the plate.  Guerrero batted .324 with 38 HRs and 109 RBIs in 1998 and posted similar or slightly improved numbers through the 2002 season. He also developed a running game, stealing 37 bases in 2001 and 40 in 2002. He narrowly missed entering the 40-40 club that season, hitting 39 home runs.

Guerrero was a free agent for the first time after the 2003 season, and he signed with the then-Anaheim Angels after being courted by several teams. The owner of the Angels, Arte Moreno, is the first Latino controlling owner of a Major League ballclub, and Guerrero has cited Moreno's Latin heritage as a motivating factor for choosing the Angels over other teams. In 2004, Guerrero hit .337 with 39 home runs and 126 RBI's. Guerrero hit six home runs in his last six games of the 2004 regular season, leading the Angels to their first Western Division title since 1986.  The Angels won the 2002 World Series as the American League Wild Card. These late-season heroics led to Guerrero being chosen as the 2004 AL MVP.

The Angels won the Western Division again in 2005, with Guerrero batting .317 with 32 home runs and 108 RBIs in 520 at bats.  Guerrero was named to his 8th career Major League Baseball All-Star game, and subsequently won his first career Home Run Derby in the 2007 season, highlighted by a 503 foot home run.

Accomplishments

American League MVP (2004)

8-time All-Star (1999-2002, 2004-07)

Home Run Derby Champion (2007).  Bad Vlad walloped the ball at the Derby!

Finished 4th in National League MVP voting (2002)

Finished 6th in National League MVP voting (2000)

Hit 30+ home runs and stole 30+ bases (2001, 2002) (see 30-30 club)

Fell one home run short of being the 4th member of the 40-40 club (2002)

KJ

July 11, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

New Immigration Books

Bauer, Mary. Close to slavery : guestworker programs in the United States : a report by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Montgomery, Ala. : Southern Poverty Law Center, 2007.

Hill, Laura E.  Out-of-school immigrant youth / Laura E. Hill, Joseph M. Hayes. San Francisco, Calif. : Public Policy Institute of California, 2007.

A legal guide for ICE detainees : petitioning for release from indefinite detention / prepared by American Bar Association, Commission on Immigration. Washington, DC : American Bar Association, Commission on Immigration, 2006.

KJ

July 11, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Cornell Immigration Clinic Wins Big

To hear how the Cornell Immigration Clinic won big for a Guatelamalan asylum-seeker, click here.

KJ

July 11, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)