Saturday, October 13, 2007

Refugees Uprooted the U.S.

Amanda Chan reports in the Arizona Republic:

ust months after coming from Tanzania, Africa, to start a new life in Phoenix, some Burundian refugees were forced to leave their homes again last week.

But this time, it wasn't from an oppressive government or warring rebel groups.

It was from a damaging fire that burned 12 units in their apartment complex at 27th Avenue and Indian School.

The fire has left these Burundian refugees, a couple of refugees from Myanmar and a refugee Somalian family without their legal documents, money, cooking supplies, clothes and furniture.

Now, the 20 refugees are living in vacant apartments with little more than tiny cots to sleep on, food cards from the Red Cross and food boxes from St. Mary's Food Bank Alliance. Click herefor the rest of the story.


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

Hi-Tech CEOs Urge Immigration Reform

Stephen Lawson reports in PC World:

The U.S. government should give emerging companies a break on regulation and change its immigration laws to encourage well-educated newcomers to stay, panelists said at a conference Thursday.

The annual TechNet Innovation Summit in Berkeley, California, kicked off with a discussion of U.S. innovation policy that quickly focused in on how the country can remain competitive as developing countries generate more engineers and ideas. The panelists were not just corporate bystanders: Laura Tyson, a professor at UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business, was chairman of former President Bill Clinton's Council of Economic Advisors. Sybase Inc. executive John Chen and Cisco Systems Inc. chief John Chambers both have served on advisory panels in the Bush administration, and Chambers is a top advisor and leader in Senator John McCain's Republican presidential campaign.

While the U.S. still leads in innovation, it has about five years to tune up its engine before emerging countries such as China and India catch up, said Chen, who is chairman, CEO and president of Sybase. Click herefor the full story.


October 13, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, October 12, 2007

Low-Income Immigrants Rights Conference

6th National Conference: December 6-8, 2007, Washington, DC.

Bridging Communities

Renewed Strength and Promise

The 6th National Low-Income Immigrant Rights Conference offers over 400 advocates the unique opportunity to meet face to face, share, network, and strategize in order to promote and advance immigrant rights. Beyond e-mails and conference calls, the direct social interaction at the conference helps us renew our collective strength in order to realize the promise of civil rights for all people in our nation. With your presence, the conference will be even stronger and more effective at such a critical time for immigrants in the United States. For more information, click here.

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

Cal. Governor Arnold -- On Immigrants, He Gives With One Hand, Takes With the Other

Weighing in on immigrants' rights issues, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed a law prohibiting cities from requiring landlords to ask the residency status of tenants, but vetoed a measure that would have allowed new citizens to register to vote on election day.

The bill banning citizenship checks of tenants was written by Assemblyman Charles Calderon (D-Montebello) in response to ordinances passed by some cities, such as Escondido.  The new law, AB 976, prohibits cities and counties from enacting ordinances that would require residential landlords to inquire about the immigration or citizenship status of any tenant or prospective tenant.

For the L.A. Times story, click here.  No word yet on whether the Governor will Sign the california DREAM Act.  Stay tuned!


October 12, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Rights Working Group and Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children to Testify Before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

Representatives of two leading advocacy organizations will speak at an hearing on U.S. detention of immigrants and asylum seekers before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights today. This is the first time the Human Rights Commission has held a hearing on the policy and practice of immigration detention. This unprecedented hearing comes at a critical time as the U.S. Government is increasing its use of immigration detention and immigration policies have entered the national debate. Every year tens of thousands of men, women and children seeking safety in the U.S. are detained while their cases for asylum are being considered. Speakers will discuss the government's detention and deportation practices that violate the human rights of immigrants in America. They will discuss how U.S. detention and immigration enforcement system does not provide adequate protection for the human rights of immigrants and refugee children; the inhumane conditions of immigration detention centers; and the impact of U.S. immigration detention and enforcement policies on refugees and asylum seekers. "People seeking asylum, including women and young children, are often held in dire conditions, sometimes in former prisons" says Michelle Brané, director of the Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children's detention and asylum program, who has conducted in-depth research on the issue. "Punitive conditions within the U.S. detention system violate American standards of justice and international law provisions. The U.S. prides itself on family values. Shutting up families in prison is a direct contradiction of these values." "Immigrants and refugees deserve to be treated with dignity and fairness," says Kerri Sherlock Talbot, director of policy and planning for the Rights Working Group. "We need to uphold America as a country that respects human rights and guarantees humane treatment of all detainees. Recent tragic deaths in detention have spurred Congress and the international community to investigate the treatment of detainees within the U.S. The hearing will give us an opportunity to shine a spotlight on our hidden detention system and encourage the United States to pass laws that guarantee humane treatment to immigrants in detention."

The speakers are Michelle Brané , Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children Christopher Nugent , Holland & Knight, Pro Bono Counsel for the Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children Kerri Sherlock Talbot, Rights Working Group.

Here is a briefing paper.  Download briefing_paper_final_2.doc

The meeting is open to the public. The hearings will be Webcast live through the OAS website,


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

Migration in the Americas: Ripple Effects of the Salvadoran Migration to the U.S.

NPR has an interesting story ("El Salvador Migration Creates Labor Shortage") about the small Central American nation of El Salvador, which has one of the highest rates of migration to the U.S. in the region.  The out-migration has creatied a labor shortage in El Salvador; its competitive wages, however, have attracted workers from its less well-off neighbors Guatemala, Nicaragua and Honduras.


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

Death on the Border (Continued): Record Number of Border Deaths in Arizona

Marc Cooper of The Huffington Post writes that the number of bodies recovered on the Arizona-Mexico border over the past year has hit a new high, according to reports released Thursday by human rights activists and county coroners. Over the past fiscal year ending October 1, at least 237 people died trying to cross into Arizona. The death is up from the 205 statewide fatalities registered during the previous 12 month period. The data was released by the Coalicion de Derechos Humanos and is based on the death counts compiled by coroners in the counties bordering Mexico. Cooper states that "the figures . . . suggest that the human traffic across the southern border has not been stemmed so much as it has been re-directed and re-channeled through some of the more perilous and uninhabited stretches of the Sonoran desert."  (emphasis added). "It has been estimated that the lives of more than 5,000 men, women and children have been lost on the U.S.- Mexico border since the mid-1990s," says a statement released by the Coalicion which keeps a running count of the fatalities.


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

Welcome Mat for Cuban "Refugees", Border Fence for Mexican "Illegals"

Although the U.S. government has made some efforts to discourage migrants from Cuba from coming by sea to the United States, migrants from Cuba, as "refugees" from the Castro regime, generally have received preferential treatment over migrants from other countries in the region -- Haiti, for example.  Reuters reports a new wrinkle on this pattern:

"The United States has tightened security on the Mexican border and deported illegal immigrants but one group of Hispanics is welcome at border posts: Cubans fleeing the communist island.

Unlike migrants from across Latin America who trek through deserts and mountains to enter the United States, Cubans only have to show up and request political asylum to be allowed in.

With the U.S. Coast Guard stemming the flow of Cubans across the Florida Straits, record numbers now head for Mexico and then travel overland to the U.S. border on routes used by hundreds of thousands of other Hispanic immigrants a year."


October 12, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

Head of U.S. Chamber of Commerce on the Need for Immigration Reform

In a speech entitled "Immigration: Where Do We Go From Here?" to the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry on October 10, Thomas J. Donohue President and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce outlines the organization's views on immigration reform, emphasizing the need of business for skilled and unskilled labor.


October 12, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Immigrant of the Day: Charles Boyer (France)

Charlesboyerinloveaffair Charles Boyer (1899-1978) was an Academy Award-nominated actor who starred in several classic Hollywood films. His most famous role was in the 1944 film "Gaslight."

Born in France, Charles graduated from the Sorbonne with a degree in philosophy before studying acting at the Paris Conservatory. MGM signed him to a contract. Boyer's first big break was a very small part of a chauffeur to Jean Harlow in "Red-Headed Woman" (1932). He settled in the Hollywood in 1934. Later the same year, Boyer's films began to win public favor.

Boyer loved life in the United States, and went on to play opposite many alluring actresses of the 1930's and 1940's, including Bette Davis and Olivia de Havilland.

Charles Boyer is best known for his role in the 1944 film "Gaslight" in which he tried to convince Ingrid Bergman's character that she was going insane. He became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1942.

Boyer never won an Oscar for acting, though he was nominated four times, for "Conquest" (1937), "Algiers" (1938), "Gaslight" (1944) and "Fanny" (1961).


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

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Paris Immigration Museum Opens Amid Controversy

Lisa Bryant reports for Voice of America:

Located in eastern Paris, the National Complex of the History of Immigration aims to retrace France's history of immigration during the past two centuries - and the role immigrants have played in the nation's construction.

Though many years in the planning, the museum's opening occurs while legislation making its way through parliament to toughen French immigration laws has generated fierce criticism.

Even members of the center-right government have voiced concerns over one clause in the bill - on voluntary DNA testing of applicants wishing to join their families in France.

Earlier this year, eight researchers resigned from the immigration museum to protest the new name of a French ministry - the Ministry of Immigration and National Identity. They said the name reflects wariness toward immigrants, rather than acceptance. But the researchers said they supported the intent of the immigration museum.
Some people also criticized French President Nicolas Sarkozy for not being present at the opening. However, Mr. Sarkozy is on an official visit to Moscow. The country's immigration minister also did not attend. An official inauguration of the museum is to take place at a later date. Click here for the rest of the story.


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

Immigration to Give 2008 Presidential Election to Dems?

A report of the New Democratic Network concludes that shifts in Hispanic voting patterns due to the heightened partisanship of the immigration debate may give the 2008 election to the Democrats. Here is an excerpt:

"What this means is that if in 2008 Republicans are denied these 4 swing Southwestern states, or Florida, they will have to win a state they have not won since the 1980s. While possible, of course, it is not something they can count on. Simply put there is no reasonable GOP roadmap to victory in 2008 that does not require them to win these 5 heavily Hispanic states, something that will now be much more difficult given the degradation of the GOP brand in the Hispanic community in the aftermath of the immigration debate."

For a thoughtful analysis of the report, see Yave Begnet's blog.


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

Immigrant of the Day: Mario Renato Capecchi (Italy)

Capecchi2 Mario Renato Capecchi (born 1937) is a molecular geneticist and a co-winner of the 2007 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. He is currently Distinguished Professor of Human Genetics and Biology at the University of Utah School of Medicine.

Born in Italy, Mario Capecchi's mother was sent to the Dachau concentration camp during WW II for pamphleteering and belonging to an anti-Fascist group. As a four-and-a-half year old, Capecchi was left to fend for himself on the streets of northern Italy for four years, living in orphanages and roving through towns with other groups of homeless children. He almost died of malnutrition. When freed from Dachau by the U.S. military, his mother began a year-long search for her son. She finally found him in a hospital bed in Bologna, ill with a fever and subsisting on a daily bowl of chicory coffee and bread crust. She took him to Rome, where he had his first bath in six years.

In 1946, Capecchi and his mother moved to Pennsylvania. He graduated from a Quaker boarding school in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, in 1956. He received his B.S. in chemistry and physics in 1961 from Antioch College in Ohio. He received his Ph.D. in biophysics in 1967 from Harvard University with a doctoral thesis under the tutelage of James D. Watson. Capecchi was a Junior Fellow of the Society of Fellows at Harvard University from 1967 to 1969. In 1969, he became an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biochemistry at Harvard School of Medicine. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 1971. In 1973 he joined the faculty at the University of Utah.

Since 1988, Capecchi has also been an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Mario Capecchi is particularly well known for his pioneering work in gene targeting of the mouse embryo-derived stem cells which enabled other transgenic technologies including cloning and genetic modification. This work earned Capecchi the 2007 Nobel prize for medicine or physiology. He has been honored with many other awards for his research.


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

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

2008-2010 Clinical Teaching Fellowship at the Center for Applied Legal Studies, Georgetown University Law Center

Georgetown University's Center for Applied Legal Studies will offer one lawyer a two-year teaching fellowship (July 2008 - June 2010). The fellowship provides a unique opportunity to learn how to teach law in a clinical setting. Fellows and faculty members at the Center work as colleagues, sharing responsibilities for designing and teaching classes, selecting students for the Clinic, supervising law students in their representation of clients, grading, and all other matters. To complete the degree, the Fellow must write a law review article of publishable quality. Fellows are encouraged to set aside time to work on scholarship. This Fellowship is particularly suitable for lawyers who want to embark on careers in law teaching. Most of its previous holders are now teaching law. Since 1995, the Center has specialized in asylum cases, and currently focuses on asylum claims in Immigration Court. Therefore, applicants with experience in immigration law will be given preference. The Fellow must be a member of a bar at the start of the Fellowship period. The fellow will receive full tuition and fees in the LL.M. program at Georgetown University, and a stipend in excess of $48,000 in each of the two years. On successful completion of the requirements, the Fellow will be granted the degree of Master of Laws (Advocacy) with distinction. Recent holders of this fellowship include Mary Brittingham (1995-97), Andrea Goodman (1996-98), Michele Pistone (1997-99), Rebecca Story (1998-2000), Virgil Wiebe (1999-2001), Anna Marie Gallagher (2000-02), Regina Germain (2001-2003), Dina Francesca Haynes (2002-2004), Diane Uchimiya (2003-2005), Jaya Ramji-Nogales (2004-2006) and Denise Gilman (2005-2007). The current Fellows are Kate Aschenbrenner and Susan Benesch. To apply, send a resume, an official or unofficial law school transcript, a writing sample, and a detailed statement of interest (approximately 5 pages) by December 3, 2007. The statement should address a) why you are interested in this fellowship; b) what you can contribute to the Clinic; c) your experience with asylum and other immigration cases; d) your professional or career goals for the next five or ten years; e) your reactions to the Clinic's goals and teaching methods as described on its website,; and e) anything else that you consider pertinent. Address your application to Philip G. Schrag and David A. Koplow, Directors, Center for Applied Legal Studies, Georgetown University Law Center, 111 F Street, NW, Suite 332, Washington, D.C. 20001, or electronically to


October 10, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Ninth Circuit Spanks DOJ Lawyers

In Singh v. Gonzales, No. 04-70300 (9th Cir. Sept. 7, 2007), the court issued an order stating

"It is the responsibility of the Department of Justice and its lawyers to be aware when its positions have been rejected by the court. While it is acceptable to make a rejected argument for purposes of preserving it for en banc or Supreme Court consideration while acknowledging that it has been rejected by the court, it is not acceptable to repeat an argument already rejected without acknowledging the case that rejected it, particularly where it is the Department of Justice itself that was involved in earlier case. Another such repetition of this same argument in this court will be considered sanctionable behavior."  To read the decision, click here.


October 10, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

New SSRN Articles

Modern-Day Slavery and Cultural Bias: Proposals for Reforming the U.S. Visa System for Victims of International Human Trafficking" Nevada Law Review, Forthcoming Contact: MARISA SILENZI CIANCIARULO Chapman University-School of Law Full Text:

"Counterproductive and Counterintuitive Counterterrorism: The Post-September 11 Treatment of Refugees and Asylum Seekers" Denver University Law Review, Vol. 84, No. 4, 2007 Contact: MARISA SILENZI CIANCIARULO Chapman University-School of Law Full Text:

"The Shifting Border of Immigration Regulation" Stanford Journal of Civil Rights & Civil Liberties, Vol. 3, p. 165, 2007 AYELET SHACHAR University of Toronto Faculty of Law, Harvard Law School  Full Text:

"Bias on the Bench: Raising the Bar for U.S. Immigration Judges to Ensure Equality for Asylum Seekers" William & Mary Law Review, Vol. 49, No. 3, 2007 LINDSEY R. VAALA Abstract:

"Unsafe in America: A Review of the U.S.-Canada Safe Third Country Agreement" Santa Clara Law Review, Vol. 47, No. 2, 2007 ANDREW F. MOORE University of Detroit Mercy-School of Law Full Text:


October 10, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Breaking News: Court Enjoins "No Match" Regulation from Going Into Effect

AP reports that a federal judge today granted a request by labor and civil liberties organizations to temporarily block the U.S. government from proceeding with a plan to crack down on businesses who may be employing illegal immigrants. U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer said the Social Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security could not go ahead with a plan to send joint letters warning businesses they'll face penalties if they keep workers whose Social Security numbers don't match their names. ``The plaintiff's have demonstrated they will be irreparably harmed if DHS is permitted to enforce the new rule,'' Breyer wrote. The so-called ``No Match'' letters were supposed to start going out in September, but labor groups and immigrant activists filed a lawsuit claiming the plan would put a heavy burden on employers, and could cause many authorized immigrants and U.S. citizens to lose their jobs over innocent paperwork snafus.

Bender's Immigration Bulletin has posted a copy of the district court's order.  Here is the punch-line:

"On August 15, 2007, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) promulgated a final rule entitled "Safe-Harbor Procedures for Employers Who Receive a No-Match Letter." See 72 Fed. Reg. 45611 (Aug. 15, 2007). Plaintiffs, a consortium of unions and business groups, filed a motion for preliminary injunction, arguing that injunctive relief is appropriate because they have demonstrated a high probability of success on four theories: that the rule (1) contravenes the governing statute; (2) is arbitrary and capricious under the Administrative Procedure Act; (3) is an exercise of ultra vires authority by DHS and the Social Security Administration (SSA); and (4) was promulgated in violation of the Regulatory Flexibility Act. The balance of hardships tips sharply in plaintiffs' favor and plaintiffs have raised serious questions going to the merits. Accordingly, the motion for a preliminary injunction is GRANTED."

AFL-CIO v. Chertoff, Oct. 10, 2007.


October 10, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

No-Match Letters Could Affect 1.5 Million Workers

Press Release from Migration Policy Institute:

WASHINGTON  -- A U.S. District Court Judge is expected to rule this week on whether a new Department of Homeland Security regulation regarding Social Security Administration “no match” letters can be implemented.  DHS wants SSA to include guidance on new procedures for employers who receive “no match” letters because they have submitted worker records that do not match the SSA database. The DHS guidance letters detail new actions employers should take that demonstrate they have complied with requirements to hire only persons authorized to work in the United States.

A new MPI Backgrounder shows that there is a strong correlation between the states that receive the most no-match letters and those that have the largest numbers of unauthorized immigrants.  Based on 2006 information, more than 1.5 million workers would be affected by the new DHS procedures, with approximately 1 million concentrated in ten states. The estimates are based on the fact that no-match letters are sent to employers with more than 10 and up to 500 workers with no-match records. 

Top Ten States with Employers Receiving No Match Social Security Letters in 2006



Total Number of EDCOR Letters, 2006

Percent of Total  EDCOR Letters, 2006

Minimum Number of Employees Affected*

Total Unauthorized Population (Estimate)

Percent of Total US Unauthorized Population

























New York


















North Carolina






New Jersey












All other states






Other areas






United States






* The minimum number of employees per state referenced in 2006 EDCOR “no-match” letters was calculated by multiplying the total number of EDCOR letters sent out to the state by the minimum number of names in each EDCOR letter (11 names).

Source: Social Security Administration 2006, Bureau of Labor Statistics 2006.

”If the judge decides the new DHS procedures are legal and if employers implement them, substantial numbers of unauthorized workers could be terminated,” said MPI Senior Fellow Doris Meissner. “At the same time, SSA is prohibited from releasing no-match information to DHS for enforcement purposes. So the regulation would not make it any more likely that an employer who receives a no-match letter would be the target of a DHS investigation.  Instead, the initiative attempts to lead employers to take actions themselves that could reduce the overall numbers of unauthorized immigrants working in the country.”

The Backgrounder includes data on the number of “no match” letters to employers in each state. It also includes an overview of the SSA no-match system and the legal arguments in the case. It is available online at


October 10, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)


Obama U.S. Senator Barack Obama, who played an integral role in passing the Illinois version of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM Act) while serving in the Illinois State Senate and is a cosponsor of the legislation in the U.S. Senate, today released the following statement urging Governor Schwarzenegger to sign the California DREAM Act into law:

"You know our immigration system is truly broken when we punish children who have learned English and worked hard to succeed in school so that they can become American citizens. Enforcement alone will not solve the immigration crisis we face. If Governor Schwarzenegger vetoes the DREAM Act a second time, he will compound the immigration crisis by driving thousands of children who were on the right path into the shadows. We teach our children that in America, you will thrive if you work hard and dream big. Governor Schwarzenegger now has the chance to demonstrate that instead of blaming one group for the challenges America faces, he can unite Californians and give children who play by the rules the opportunity to succeed."


October 10, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

New Human Rights and Immigration Articles

Abate, Randall S. Climate change, the United States, and the impacts of Arctic melting: a case study in the need for enforceable international environmental human rights. 26A Stan. Envtl. L.J. 3-76 (2007).

Abate, Randall S. Climate change, the United States, and the impacts of Arctic melting: a case study in the need for enforceable international environmental human rights. 43A Stan. J. Int'l L. 3-76 (2007).

Albrecht, Lawrence G. et al. International human rights. 41 Int'l Law. 643-669 (2007).

Carter, Kevin R. Note. Amending the Alien Tort Claims Act: protecting human rights or closing off corporate accountability? 38 Case W. Res. J. Int'l L. 629-652 (2006-2007).

Cassimatis, Anthony E. International humanitarian law, international human rights law, and fragmentation of international law. 56 Int'l & Comp. L.Q. 623-639 (2007).

Khouri, Nina. Human rights and Islam: lessons from Amina Lawal and Mukhtar Mai. 8 Geo. J. Gender & L. 93-109 (2007).

Polulyakh, Diana and Sue Young Ra. Student article. Comments on the Spring Symposium: Invisible Chains: Human Trafficking and Forced Labor in the United States. 8 J.L. & Soc. Challenges 165-174 (2006).

Rabkin, Kyle R. Comment. The zero-child policy: how the Board of Immigration Appeals discriminates against unmarried asylum-seekers fleeing coercive family planning measures. 101 Nw. U. L. Rev. 965-995 (2007).

Symposium Issue: Immigration Reform: A Civil Rights Issue. Introduction by Lucas Guttentag; articles by Ayelet Shachar, Daniel Kanstroom, Bill Ong Hing, Rebecca Smith, Grace Chang, Kathleen Kim and Adam Francoeur; note by Ray Ybarra. 3 Stan. J. C.R. & C.L. 157-424 (2007).

Sen, Amit. Policing the border: regulating race, gender, and sexuality. 8 Geo. J. Gender & L. 67-91 (2007).

Stock, Margaret D. Immigration and naturalization law. 41 Int'l Law. 555- 567 (2007).


October 10, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)