July 28, 2007
Editorial on the Hazelton Ruling
Today's Kansas City Star editorial criticizes Hazelton Mayor's decision to appeal court ruling:
[Excerpt:] Unfortunately, Hazleton Mayor Louis Barletta stooped to a “them against us” tone in announcing his intention to appeal. In a written statement he said, ”Neither the city of Hazleton nor I will stop fighting for all legal residents.”
But the Constitution protects everyone, a concept that the mayor and many others misunderstand. Click here for the whole editorial.
Arrests of Family Members Increase
Antonio Olivo of the Chicago Tribune writes:
ST. MICHAEL, Minn. — Breaking the silence in a middle-class enclave of tract homes and cul-de-sacs in St. Michael, federal immigration agents recently swooped in and grabbed Sara Muñoz, carting away the illegal Mexican immigrant before her five crying U.S.-born children.
In nearby Minneapolis, activist Juana Reyes was nabbed for her illegal status as she stepped out of her car, spurring a rapidly transforming neighborhood into action on behalf of her 9-year-old daughter, a U.S. citizen.
And, 110 miles south in Austin, Minn., Latin American immigrants are afraid to open their doors, while longtime residents press the mayor to do more to stop the changes in a town built around the headquarters of the Hormel Foods meatpacking operation.
Similar scenes nationwide are part of a ramping up of federal arrests of illegal immigrants, activity Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff recently warned is "gonna get ugly" after federal immigration legislation failed last month. Click here for the rest of the story.
Mad Rush for Filing to Avoid Fee Increase
The L.A. Times (here) reports that Hundreds of immigrants rushed to apply for citizenship at a free workshop in central Los Angeles on Friday, many seeking to beat stiff application fee increases that take effect next week. A throng of mostly Latino immigrants began lining up at 4 a.m. for free help filling out the applications at the National Assn. of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials' Educational Fund office on Washington Boulevard. By 2:30 p.m., officials began turning people away because they had reached their capacity of 1,000 applicants, said Evan Bacalao, the fund's research associate.
July 27, 2007
Legal Clinic's Work for Immigrants Attacked
Monica Schurtman runs the the University of Idaho College of Law's Legal Aid Clinic, which, among other things, offers representation in removal proceedings to qualifying limited-income immigrants. The immigration wars have resulted in an attack on the clinic. A former Canyon County commissioner and vocal foe of illegal immigration says clinic instructors and students are breaking the law by offering free legal representation to people who face deportation. "Federal law states that anyone who aids and abets an illegal alien in remaining in the United States is committing a felony," Robert Vasquez told the Lewiston Tribune. Schurtman's response: "That's really funny," she said. "What we try to do is assist our clients in a well-established legal system to remain legally in the United States."
For the full story, click here. To me, it is surprising that immigration clinics are not attacked more frequently. Years ago, the good legal work of a Tulane law school environmental clinic led to a political backlash and its closure. Today, there are many immigration clinics providing help to people in need and immigration is one of the hottest issues around. I hope that immigration clinics do not become the next target in the war over immigration.
New Immigration Bill From Spector?
Elana Shor reports in the Hill.com today:
The Senate Judiciary Committee’s senior Republican said on Thursday that he is on the verge of offering a new immigration reform package, making significant changes that could win over recalcitrant members from both parties.
Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.), who accompanied President Bush Thursday on his visit to Pennsylvania, said he has spoken to Bush and the two Cabinet members who have led immigration talks about his new bill. Specter also told reporters that he has spoken to most senators involved in this spring’s failed “grand bargain,” outlining his plan and appealing for a restart to the arduous immigration debate.
“I’m ready to unveil it now,” Specter said. “I’ve got letters to the 100 senators on my desk.”
Specter explained the new measure would omit the controversial “Z visa” program, which would have given the nation’s 12 million illegal immigrants a path to citizenship. Removing the Z visa would offer conservatives less opening to tag the bill as “amnesty.” But he would leave intact the family reunification standard that this spring’s defunct immigration bill partially replaced with a skills-based system.
The lone change in the status of the 12 million, Specter said, would be removing their status as fugitives from justice, an attempt to diminish their incentive to remain outside the system and in fear of deportation.
Specter added that he already has met with “stakeholders” from outside groups involved in the complex immigration debate, and he plans to hold more sit-downs next week. Offering green cards to immigrants seeking employment in the high-tech industry is under consideration, he said.
Immigrant of the Day: Jessica Alice Tandy
Jessica Alice Tandy (1909–1994) was a stage and film actress. Born in Geldeston Road in the London Borough of Hackney, Tandy's acting career spanned 65 years. She found latter-day movie stardom in major studio releases.
Tandy first appeared on the London stage in 1926. She also worked in British films. Following the end of her first marriage, Tandy moved to New York and met Canadian actor Hume Cronyn, who became her second husband and frequent partner on stage and screen. She made her American film debut in The Seventh Cross (1944). After her Tony-winning performance as Blanche DuBois in the original Broadway production of Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire, (she lost the film role to actress Vivien Leigh), Tandy concentrated on the stage.
Tandy became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1952.
For the next 30 years, Tandy appeared sporadically in films such as The Light in the Forest (1957) and The Birds (1963). The beginning of the 1980s saw a resurgence in her film career, with character roles in The World According to Garp, Best Friends, Still of the Night (all 1982), The Bostonians (1984), and the hit film Cocoon (1985). Tandy and Cronyn had been working together more and more, on stage and television, to continued acclaim, notably in 1987's Foxfire which won her an Emmy Award. However, it was Tandy's colorful performance in "Driving Miss Daisy" (1989), as an aging, stubborn Southern-Jewish matron, that made her a bonafide Hollywood star and earned her an Oscar. She earned a Best Supporting Actress nomination for her work in the grassroots hit Fried Green Tomatoes (1992). Camilla (1994, with Cronyn) was Tandy's last performance. She died at home on September 11, 1994, in Easton, Connecticut, of ovarian cancer at the age of 85.
Obama on Hazelton Case
Obama Statement on Ruling in Hazleton Anti-Immigrant Ordinance Case
Chicago, IL-- Senator Obama released the following statement today in response to Judge James Munley's ruling that the city of Hazleton's anti-immigrant ordinance is unconstitutional.
"Today's ruling by Judge James Munley is a victory for all Americans. The anti-immigrant law passed by Mayor Barletta was unconstitutional and unworkable - and it underscores the need for comprehensive immigration reform so local communities do not continue to take matters into their own hands. Recently, the U.S. Senate failed the American people by blocking progress on immigration reform for the second time in two years. We cannot put this off any longer. The ongoing problems with our immigration system are dividing our country, and distracting us from the work we need to do in other important areas such as health care, education, and jobs. We need to act urgently to create an immigration system that secures our borders and enforces our laws, reflects our best traditions as a nation of immigrants, and upholds the values and ideals that all Americans cherish. I have been fighting for that kind of system for several years now, and I will continue fighting for that kind of system until we pass comprehensive immigration reform once and for all."
Happy 50th Blog Emperor Caron!
A hearty HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Emperor of the Law Professor Blog Network, Paul Caron of the University of Cincinnati. The word on the street is that he is "celebrating" the big day by going for a record 50 postings today. Good luck Paul!
And thanks for being our fearless leader!
July 26, 2007
Another Local (Immigration) Issue: The Regulation of Day Laborers
As news of the Hazleton case sinks, recall that similart ordinances are being challenged across the country. Cities also are involved in related controversies as well, from regulating taco trucks to the use of the English language. Along these lines, day laborers who gather on public streets (or at places like Home Depot) have become the oft-maligned public face of illegal immigration, even though they represent only 3 percent of all the estimated male undocumented workers in California, according to a study released Wednesday by the Public Policy Institute of California. Efforts to regulate day laborers seeking work have run into trouble in the courts, including in Redondo Beach (here) and Baldwin Park, California (here).
On any given day in the Golden State, about 40,000 people are employed or looking for work as day laborers, a number so small that it doesn't represent even half of 1 percent of California's entire working population, the study by the San Francisco-based think tank found. Despite their small numbers, day laborers' visibility often makes them the focus of media coverage, and the object of community activists' attempts to try to crack down on illegal immigration, said economist Arturo Gonzalez, whose report, "Day Labor in the Golden State" (here), is based on data gathered in a 2004 national survey of day workers.
BREAKING NEWS: Plaintiffs Win BIG in Hazleton!
As predicted here yesterday, the federal district court in Pennsylvania has issued a decision on the case challenging the Hazleton immigration ordinance. Among other findings, which I will comment after a thorough review of the 200 pages-plus decision, the court concluded that the Hazleton ordinance was prempted by federal law. See the ruling at Download lozano_decision_72607.pdf
The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) declared victory. Judge James M. Munley decided in favor of the Latino plaintiffs and found that the ordinance usurped the federal government’s exclusive power to regulate immigration, deprived residents of their constitutional rights to equal protection and due process, and violated state and federal housing law. Hazleton's Illegal Immigration Relief Act would have imposed steep fines on landlords who rented to undocumented immigrants and denied business permits to owners who hired them. Judge Munley issued a temporary restraining order in October preventing the city from implementing the ordinance, followed by a trial in March. "We salute our colleagues at the Puerto Rican Legal Defense Fund and the American Civil Liberties Union for this critical victory" stated MALDEF Litigation Director Cynthia Valenzuela.
The Hazelton decision is consistent with court victories in Escondido, California and Valley Park, Missouri. Most recently, MALDEF won a preliminary injunction to block implementation of an anti-immigrant ordinance in Farmers Branch, Texas. “The Hazleton decision is not only a victory for the rule of law, but for all Americans who value equality and justice,” stated John Trasviña, MALDEF President and General Counsel. “Judge Munley’s decision stands as a stern warning to other communities who might be contemplating taking immigration reform into their own hands,” added Eric Gutierrez, MALDEF Legislative Staff Attorney.
Update: In a ruling more than 200 pages long, the court struck down the Hazleton ordinance on a number of grounds under federal and state law. Among other things, the court found that the Hazleton ordinance was both expressly and impliedly preempted by federal immigration law (and distinguished DeCanas v. Bica (1976), which refused to disturb a state law outlawing the employment of undocumented immigrants, on the grounds that Congress passed the Immigration Reform and Control Act in 1986 and now prohibits the employment of undocumented immigrants), parts violated the Due Process Clause, and that Hazleton violated Pennsylvania municipal law by acting ultra vires on immigration.
Near the end of the decision, the district court emphasized what really is the nub of the matter:
"Whatever frustrations officials of the City of Hazleton may feel about the current state of federal immigration enforcement, the nature of the political system in the United States prohibits the City from enacting ordinances that disrupt a carefully drawn federal statutory scheme. Even if federal law did not conflict with Hazleton's measures, the City could not enact an ordinance that violates rights the Constitution guarantees to every person in the United States, whether legal resident or not. The genius of our Constitution is that it provides rights even to those who evoke the least sympathy from the general public. In that way, all in this nation can be confident of equal justice under its laws. Hazleton, in its zeal to control the presence of a group deemed undesirable, violated the rights of such people, as well as others within the community. Since the United States Constitution protects even the disfavored, the ordinances cannot be enforced."
As an aside, the opinion cites some of our favorite immigration law profs, including Lenni Benson, Dan Kanstroom, Gerald Neuman, Gloria Sandrino-Glasser, and Peter Spiro. Non-law profs Kitty Calavita, Sucheng Chan, John Higham, Mae Ngai, and Aristide Zolberg are cited as well. Sorry if I missed anyone!
The news reports today try to analyze what the decision means. But, as USA Today's Emily Bazar and the Houston Chronicle's Cythnia Garza (here) suggests (here), it cannot be a good sign for local efforts to regulate immigration by punishing undocumented immigrants.
Many have pointed to the fact that local tensions are rising on immigration in part dur to the failure of Congress to enact immigration reform. Along thise lines, Senator Barack Obama released the following statement in response to Judge James Munley’s ruling:
“Today's ruling by Judge James Munley is a victory for all Americans. The anti-immigrant law passed by Mayor Barletta was unconstitutional and unworkable – and it underscores the need for comprehensive immigration reform so local communities do not continue to take matters into their own hands. Recently, the U.S. Senate failed the American people by blocking progress on immigration reform for the second time in two years. We cannot put this off any longer. The ongoing problems with our immigration system are dividing our country, and distracting us from the work we need to do in other important areas such as health care, education, and jobs. We need to act urgently to create an immigration system that secures our borders and enforces our laws, reflects our best traditions as a nation of immigrants, and upholds the values and ideals that all Americans cherish. I have been fighting for that kind of system for several years now, and I will continue fighting for that kind of system until we pass comprehensive immigration reform once and for all.”
Economic Impact of Immigrants
A report from the President's Council of Economic Advisers on "Immigration's Economic Impact" concludes, "Our review of economic research finds immigrants not only help fuel the Nation's economic growth, but also have an overall positive effect on the income of native-born workers."
For the full report, click on: http://www.ilw.com/articles/2007,0730-cea.pdf
TPS Deadline for Hondurans - July 30
USCIS Holds Press Conference with Honduran Diplomats
Low Re-registration Numbers Prompt Officials to Encourage Eligible Recipients to File
SAN FRANCISCO ─ U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will host a press conference with Francisco Venegas, San Francisco’s Consul General for the Republic of Honduras, urging Hondurans currently residing in the United States under Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to file for extensions by the closing date of July 30. On that final day, a fee increase goes into effect, increasing the fee for employment authorization and biometrics from $250 to $420.
Failure to file a TPS re-registration application by July 30 will result in the withdrawal of TPS benefits, including employment authorization and protection from removal from the United States. There are approximately 78,000 nationals of Honduras and 4,000 nationals of Nicaragua who may be eligible for re-registration. To date, approximately 45,604 TPS beneficiaries – 43,490 from Honduras and 2114 from Nicaragua – have re-registered.
TPS is granted to eligible nationals of designated countries suffering the effects of an ongoing armed conflict, environmental disaster, or extraordinary and temporary conditions. During the period for which the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated a country for TPS, beneficiaries may not be removed from the United States and are authorized to work.
WHAT: Press Conference
WHEN: Friday, July 27, 10:30 to 11 a.m.
WHERE: USCIS San Francisco District Office
630 Sansome Street, Suite 1080; San Francisco, CA 94066
WHO: San Francisco District Director Rosemary Langley Melville
The Honorable Francisco Venegas, Consul General of Honduras in San Francisco
ICE Sweeps in San Diego
The San Diego Union-Tribune reports on recent sweeps focused on immigration "fugitives":
Immigration officials began one of a series of ongoing fugitive sweeps in San Diego County on Monday, with 13 people arrested as of yesterday.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents are targeting individuals considered immigration fugitives or absconders and immigrants who have failed to comply with a deportation order or who have not shown up at a hearing. Of the 13 arrested since the operation began, eight are Mexican nationals, two are from Guatemala, and the rest are nationals of Vietnam, Cambodia and El Salvador. Click here for the rest of the story.
Graham Amendment Defeated
Thanks to Ana Maria Patino for this report on Republican efforts yesterday (Graham Amendment) at more unreasonable immigration enforcement mechanisms. The amendment was defeated:
Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) raised a point of order challenging the germaneness of the amendment. Chair Barak Obama (D-IL) ruled that the amendment was not germane, and the Senate upheld his decision in a 52-44 vote.
After the amendment’s defeat, however, Senator Reid proposed that the Senate reconsider the border security funding portion of Senator Graham's amendment under a unanimous consent agreement. The details of this proposed border security funding amendment are not yet clear, but could include funding for tens of thousands of additional detention beds and border agents, and billions of dollars for enforcement.
Senator Reid also had offered a “side-by-side” amendment in response to Senator Graham’s amendment that coupled enhanced border security funding with DREAM Act and AgJOBS provisions. However, the germaneness ruling that halted the Graham amendment precluded any further action on Senator Reid’s amendment as well.
The Graham amendment proposed a broad array of costly, counterproductive, and pernicious provisions. If passed, the amendment would have:
• increased state and local enforcement of federal immigration laws;
• expanded expedited removal and further restricted the right of immigrants, including longtime legal permanent residents, to administrative or judicial review;
• subjected visa overstayers to mandatory detention, raising serious cost and constitutional concerns;
• expanded criminal penalties for immigration violations, including harsh and costly mandatory minimum sentences;
• allowed the government to deny naturalization based on secret evidence and erect other barriers to naturalization;
• allowed the government to indefinitely detain immigrants who cannot be returned to their home countries through no fault of their own; and,
• undermined community policing efforts by outlawing policies that prevent law enforcement officers from inquiring about immigration status.
Immigrant of the Day: Charlie Chaplin
Charlie Chaplin (1899-1977), movie-picture actor, director, writer and composer, was one of the leading talents in film history. Born in poverty in London, Chaplin's achievements resulted in his being knighted in 1975. Immigrating to the U.S. as an adult, Chaplin created his most famous character the "little tramp" with his cane, bowler hat, baggy pants and enormous shoes. Founding United Artists film studio with other film stars in 1919, Chaplin' delighted film fans in over 70 movies including "The Kid", "The Gold Rush", "The Great Dictator" (click here for a famous scene), and "Modern Times." Hounded out of the U.S. during the McCarthy era because of his leftist views, Chaplin returned to Europe. He came to the U.S. in 1972 to receive several tributes including an Academy Award for his contributions to the film industry.
Chaplin first toured America from 1910 to 1912. After five months back in England, he returned for a second tour of the United States in October 1912. In late 1913, Chaplin's act was seen by film producer Mack Sennett, who hired him for his studio, the Keystone Film Company.
Chaplin's first dialogue picture, The Great Dictator (1940), was an act of defiance against Adolf Hitler and Nazism. The film was seen as an act of courage in the political environment of the time, both for its ridicule of Nazism and for the portrayal of overt Jewish characters and the depiction of their persecution. Chaplin played both the role of a Nazi-like dictator modeled on Hitler and also that of a Jewish barber cruelly persecuted by the Nazis.
In the 1940s, Chaplin's views (in conjunction with his influence, fame, and status in the United States as a resident foreigner) were seen by many as communistic. His films were openly political. "Modern Times" depicts workers and poor people in dismal conditions. The final dramatic speech in The Great Dictator, which was critical of following patriotic nationalism without question, and his vocal public support for the opening of a second European front in 1942 in World War II were controversial.
Although Chaplin had his major successes in the United States and was a resident from 1914 to 1952, he always retained his British nationality. During the era of McCarthyism, Chaplin was accused of "un-American activities" and J. Edgar Hoover, who had instructed the FBI to keep extensive secret files on him, tried to end his United States residency. FBI pressure on Chaplin grew after his 1942 campaign for a second European front in the war and reached a critical level in the late 1940s, when Congressional figures threatened to call him as a witness in hearings. This was never done, probably a wise decision, as Chaplin later stated that, if called, he wanted to appear dressed in his Tramp costume.
In 1952, Chaplin left the U.S. for what was intended as a brief trip home to England; Hoover learned of it and negotiated with the Immigration & Naturalization Service to revoke his re-entry permit. He decided not to reenter the United States, writing; ". . . Since the end of the last world war, I have been the object of lies and propaganda by powerful reactionary groups who, by their influence and by the aid of America's yellow press, have created an unhealthy atmosphere in which liberal-minded individuals can be singled out and persecuted. Under these conditions I find it virtually impossible to continue my motion-picture work, and I have therefore given up my residence in the United States."
Chaplin then made his home in Vevey, Switzerland. He briefly returned to the United States in April 1972, with his wife, to receive an Honorary Oscar.
The times, they are a changin': Demographic Shifts Provoke responses Near Nation's Capitol
The area surrounding Washington D.C. is seeing a great amount of immigration -- and at times a not-so-kindly response (as in Prince William County). Similar to th eregulation of taco trucks, which is occurring in cities across the country (most recently, New Orleans), the Manassas (Virginia) City Council is considering limits on street peddlers, which amounts to a subplot in a larger regional controversy over proposals to restrict illegal immigration . This summer, city officials began to receive complaints about certain vendors who push freezer carts full of popsicles or other frozen novelties through the city. According to the Washington Post (here), "[m]any of the vendors happened to be Hispanic . . . ."
Prince George's, a county in Maryland that underwent a seismic population shift a generation ago as it became the nation's wealthiest majority-black suburb, is seeing a demographic change as working class Latinos are moving there.
July 25, 2007
Word on the Street: District Court to Issue Decision on Hazleton Immigration Ordinance on Thursday Afternoon
In March, a federal district court held a nine day trial on the lawfulness of an immigration ordinance adopted in Hazleton, Pennsylvania. Hazleton in some ways has become ground zero in the national immigration debate, with cities across teh country passing copycat ordinances. we hear from our sources that a decision is expected Thursday afternoon.
Republicans Introduce Border Security Bill
Washington D.C. – This morning, Senate Republicans, led by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), introduced the “Border Security First Act of 2007” as an amendment to the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations bill. In response to the continued effort to secure America’s borders, the Act provides $3 billion in emergency funding for the following:
· Operational control over 100% of the U.S.-Mexico land border
· 23,000 Border Patrol agents hired, trained, and reporting for duty
· 4 Unmanned Aerial Vehicles & 105 ground-based radar and camera towers
· 300 miles of vehicle barriers & 700 miles of border fencing
· A permanent end to the “catch-and-release” policy with 45,000 detention beds.
In addition, the Act contains additional border and interior enforcement provisions necessary for stemming the tide of illegal immigration, restricting immigration benefits to lawbreakers, and further protecting the homeland from terrorists and criminals. Among other things, the Act does the following:
· Increased Personnel: Requires a total of 14,500 new Customs & Border Patrol (CBP) agents through Fiscal Year 2012 – to approximately 30,000 CBP agents overall – as well as increased hires of new Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents.
· Sanctuary Cities: Prohibits cities from banning the obtaining of information on immigration status by their own law enforcement agencies.
· Operation Jump Start/National Guard: Provides additional funding for Operation Jump Start to maintain a National Guard presence along the Southern border.
· Criminal Aliens: Strengthens laws to deny immigration benefits to aggravated felons, gang members, terrorists, sex offenders, and child abusers. The bill also expands the Institutional Removal Program and gives DHS the ability to detain criminal aliens for an extended period of time before they can be removed.
· State and Local Law Enforcement: Gives state and local law enforcement new authorities to detain illegal aliens and transfer them into DHS custody. Moreover, it allows state and local law enforcement authorities to use homeland security grants for 287(g) training and provides funding to cover the costs of detaining and transporting criminal aliens.
· Visa Overstayers: Requires DHS to detain aliens who willfully overstay their period of authorized admission for more than 60 days.
· Illegal Reentry: Increases criminal penalties and sets mandatory minimum prison sentences for aliens who have been removed and illegally re-enter our country.
· Expedited Removal: Restricts the impact of outdated court injunctions that currently prevent DHS from certain illegal immigrants into expedited removal and returning them to their country of origin as soon as circumstances allow.
· US-VISIT and Entry Inspection: Clarifies DHS’s authority to collect biometric entry and exit data at U.S. ports of entry, as well as requires the Department to provide Congress a timeline for implementing US-VISIT at all land border points of entry.
· Employment Eligibility Verification: Requires DHS to enhance the Basic Pilot Program to help facilitate broader use by employers as well as improved accuracy and efficiency.
· Liability Protection for Reporting Suspicious Threats: Grants civil liability protection to those who report possible threats to our nation’s transportation system.
Andres Oppenheimer on the "Immigration Debate": Immigration is a Proxy for Anti-Latino Racism
Andres Oppenheimer reports this week that
A new nationwide poll by Bendixen and Associates says 76 percent of U.S. Hispanics agree with the statement that ''anti-immigrant sentiment is growing in the United States,'' and 62 percent say this phenomenon has directly affected them or their families.
Few Hispanics believe statements by rabid antiimmigration radio and television hosts who say they only oppose ''illegal immigration.'' When asked what fuels the current anti-immigrant sentiment in the United States, 64 percent of Hispanics in the poll mentioned one factor: ``racism against immigrants from Latin America.''
Oppenheimer contends that Latino advocacy groups should attack this anti-Latino bigotry directly and with impunity. Any thoughts -- agree or disagree?
For the entire column, click here.
New Film: Out of Status
Anil Kalhan (Fordham) let us know about new immigration-related film, " Out of Status," which is premiering next week. Here is the nutshell:
In post 9/11 America, the curtailment of civil liberties in the name of national security has had a direct and enduring impact on individuals of Muslim background. This community, collateral damage in the war on terror, is further alienated by selective enforcement of new and existing immigration policy. Families are separated and communities were uprooted. We followed four families whose lives were dramatically changed after 9/11. Carma, an American citizen, saw her husband Akram arrested from their home and deported to Egypt. Akram lived in Pennsylvania, worked legally to support his family and waited to adjust his status. Two days after 9/11, Salem, an American citizen, was detained for 40 days and held in solitary confinement for allegedly stealing a rental car. Hakim, an Algerian, has permanent residency papers pending with the INS. After 9/11 he was placed in deportation proceedings, despite being married to a US legal resident. Hakim has a one-year old son who was born in Brooklyn. The Rahmans, also from Brooklyn, fled to a refugee shelter in Buffalo, New York to seek asylum in Canada. They face persecution in their native Bangladesh, but were afraid of enforcement measures in the US. Along with 15,000 others from Brooklyn, they left their homes and lives rather than face the prospect of being deported by authorities.
Sanjna N. Singh and Pia Sawhney are the filmmakers of "Out of Status". They created a short version of the film that premiered at the Rotterdam International Film Festival 2004, at the Amnesty International Film Festival, and at the Edinburgh Film Festival. Here are some Reviews of the short:
"Very Moving and Compelling" - Sara Bernstein, HBO Original Programming, Documentaries
"We applaud you...[i]t remains a testament to the difference that visionary individuals and artists can make in the advancement of justice and human dignity." - William F. Schultz, Executive Director, Amnesty International USA
"Two of the most important young filmmakers in the country today" - Peter Sellars, Film Theatre and Opera Director
For details, click here.