Saturday, October 20, 2007
HUMAN RIGHTS LAW
Owens, Alexandra. Using legislation to protect against unethical conversions in Sri Lanka. 22 J.L. & Relig. 323-351 (2006-07).
Posner, Eric A. Climate change and international human rights litigation: a critical appraisal. 155 U. Pa. L. Rev. 1925-1945 (2007).
Tulin, Leah J. Note. Can international human rights law countenance federal funding of abstinence-only education? 95 Geo. L.J. 1979-2015 (2007).
Conference. Reparations in the Inter-American System: A Comparative Approach. Introduction by Dean Claudio Grossman; articles by Ignacio Alvarez, Carlos Ayala, David Baluarte, Agustina Del Campo, Santiago A. Canton, Darren Hutchinson, Pablo Jacoby, Viviana Krsticevic, Elizabeth Abi- Mershed, Fernanda Nicola, Diego Rodriguez-Pinzon, Francisco quintana, Sergio Garcia Ramirez, Alice Riener, Frank La Rue, Dinah Shelton, Ingrid Nifosi Sutton and Armstrong Wiggins. 56 Am. U. L. Rev. 1375-1468 (2007).
Campbell, Sarah Lynne. Note. Give me your poor, your tired, and your country shoppers: reevaluating the firm resettlement requirement in U.S. asylum law after ... (Maharaj v. Gonzales, 450 F.3d 961, 9th Cir. 2006.) 21 BYU J. Pub. L. 377-397 (2007).
Cuellar, Mariano-Florentino. The limits of the limits of idealism: rethinking American refugee policy in an insecure world. 1 Harv. L. & Pol'y Rev. 401-432 (2007).
Fung, Jeffrey. Comment. Pushing the envelope on higher education: how states have coped with federal legislation limiting postsecondary education benefits to undocumented students. 6 Whittier J. Child & Fam. Advoc. 415-435 (2007).
The N.Y. Times reports that U.S. border agents have stepped up scrutiny of U.S. citizens returning from Mexico, creating delays at border crossings not seen since the months after Sept. 11, 2001. According to the report, "The increased enforcement is in part a dress rehearsal for new rules, scheduled to take effect in January, that will require Americans to show a passport or other proof of citizenship to enter the United States."
Note that the European Union has no border delays with the EU member nations. Labor and commerce are generally permitted to flow freely within the EU. Not so in North America under NAFTA.
Please send your organizational sign-ons to [email protected]
Dear DREAM Act allies,
As we reported earlier, Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid (D-NV) pledged in September that the DREAM Act will be brought to the Senate floor for a vote sometime before November 16th. A VOTE IS EXPECTED IN THE SENATE VERY SOON, EVEN AS EARLY AS NEXT WEEK.
We are circulating this organizational sign-on letter prepared by our friends from First Focus to demonstrate that there is strong support for enacting the DREAM Act. Unfortunately, at this time only national organizations can sign on to this letter but we encourage state and local organizations to write individual letters of support. Please contact Melissa Lazarin, Director of Education Policy, First Focus at [email protected] to sign your national organization to this important letter. THE DEADLINE FOR SIGN-ONS IS THIS MONDAY, OCTOBER 22, COB.
The content of the letter is also pasted below for your perusal. We are also including some useful materials to assist your advocacy efforts, including a summary of the DREAM ACT and responses to common myths about this proposal.
Thanks everyone for your hard work and please keep the phone calls and letters pouring in! We need to urge all Senators to pass the DREAM Act now!
October XX, 2007
Representing a broad spectrum of national organizations, including education, civil rights, immigrant rights, children's advocacy, faith-based, and labor groups, we urge you to support the debate and passage of the "Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act."
The Senate has a tremendous opportunity to pass a modest and common-sense approach to addressing the tragic circumstances that 65,000 U.S.-raised immigrant students face each year upon graduating from high school. The "DREAM Act" is legislation we have long supported that would allow individuals brought to the U.S. as children more than five years ago to earn a path to legal status starting after high school graduation. To qualify for a green card they would have to demonstrate good moral character and graduate from community college, attend two years towards a four-year degree, or serve at least two years in the U.S. military.
The "DREAM Act" is unique in that the young people who would benefit from its passage had no say in the decision to come to this country, and current law provides no mechanism for them to adjust to legal status. Nonetheless, these individuals have grown up in this country as Americans. They include high school valedictorians, honors students, class presidents, and student athletes. They also include future teachers, nurses, engineers, and community leaders.
The DREAM Act eligible students who graduated from high school in 2001—when the "DREAM Act" was first proposed in Congress—are now in their mid-20's. Another 65,000 DREAM eligible students will graduate this Spring. Passage of the "DREAM Act" is needed this year.
The fundamental question posed by the "DREAM Act" is whether our country is on the right path by allowing these home-grown talented individuals to remain here illegally and uneducated, or legally, educated, and free to fully contribute to our common future. We urge you to consider the unique circumstances of these individuals, prioritize the future of this nation, and support the "DREAM Act."
To subscribe to the DREAM listserv, please email Katherine Vargas at [email protected] with "subscribe to DREAM listserv" in the subject line and include your contact information in the text of the email.
Prince William County has entered the national debate about local involvement in immigration enforcement. Within months, traffic stops in Prince William County may carry serious consequences for thousands of residents, as police officers begin checking the immigration status of anyone who breaks the law, whether for speeding or shoplifting, if they believe that person is in the country illegally. Who do you think the police will ask about their immigration status?
With their unanimous vote earlier this week, the county supervisors also cut off certain services to illegal immigrants who are homeless, elderly or addicted to drugs. The supervisors have yet to determine how they will pay for enforcement of the policies.
More than 1,200 people showed up at the county's government complex in Woodbridge for the vote, the majority of them Latinos opposed to the measures. Many were stunned that their impassioned pleas failed to stir a single dissenting vote.
The resolution approved contains two provisions addressing concerns raised by residents who say the new measures will lead to racial profiling and discrimination. It calls for a public education campaign to ease fears and directs the county to partner with a university or consulting group to review the measures' fairness after two years.
Police Chief Charlie T. Deane has appeared on Spanish-language radio stations to explain the policies and has allocated $25,000 for informational purposes. Under the new rules, officers will cooperate more closely with federal immigration authorities and check the status of anyone who breaks a law or local ordinance if there is probable cause to believe the person is an illegal immigrant. Officials say routine traffic stops may last several hours, as patrol officers sort through foreign identification cards and visa categories and consult with Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. But Deane said county police will not enforce the measures until all of his 537 officers are trained in determining legal status, which will take months. A seven-officer Criminal Alien Unit created by the board's vote yesterday won't materialize overnight, either. First, the officers will need to be trained by federal agents, and the county is waiting in line along with dozens of other localities targeting illegal immigrants.
A group of 22 plaintiffs has filed a lawsuit against the county and its top officials in federal court seeking to block the measures, claiming that they violate equal protection laws and that immigration enforcement is a federal concern.
The supervisors committed just $325,000 yesterday toward the police measures, which are projected to cost $14.2 million over five years.
Programs that are now off-limits for illegal immigrants include bus tours for senior citizens, leadership training programs for adults, and rental and mortgage assistance. The measures also prohibit illegal immigrants from getting business licenses.
The board of supervisor's chairman, Corey A. Stewart (R), is campaigning for reelection as an illegal-immigration "fighter."
For the Washington Post story on the new law, click here.
Former Counterterrorism Czar Supports NY Proposal to Allow Undocumented Immigrants to Be Eligible for Driver's Licenses
The N.Y. Times reports today that New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, whose plan to grant undocumented immigrants driver’s licenses has encountered widespread opposition, announced yesterday that Richard A. Clarke, the former White House counterterrorism czar, had endorsed the proposal. In a news conference at New York University, Governor Spitzer highlighted Mr. Clarke’s support as he sought to allay concerns that the proposal would make it easier for criminals or even prospective terrorists to obtain government identification. Mr. Clarke, who did not appear at NYU, issued a statement, which stated in part, that "From a law enforcement and security perspective, it is far preferable for the state to know who is living in it and driving on its roads, and to have their photograph and their address on file, than to have large numbers of people living in our cities whose identity is totally unknown to the government.”
As I have written previously, I believe that Spitzer and Clarke are right. From a public safety standpoint, how could it make any sense to deny undocumented immigrants eligibility for a driver's license? Don't we want a record of who is living here and where they live? Don't we want to ensure that all drivers on the road are safety-tested and have insurance? Allowing undocumented immigrants to be eligible for driver's licenses is in the interests of U.S. citizens as well as immigrants.
As previously announced on this blog, SMU Dedman School of Law held a symposium on "Immigration Law Immigrants, Vigilantes, and Immigration Reform: Civil Rights in the 21st Century" yesterday. The conference included first rate presentations by George A. Martínez (SMU) (conference organizer), Michael Olivas (Houston), Howard Chang (Penn; visting, Chicago), Karen Engle (Texas), James Hollifield (SMU), Rose Villazor (SMU), and Nathan Cortez (SMU). I also discussed my new book, Opening the Floodgates: Why America Needs to Rethink Its Borders and Immigration Laws. The papers will be published in the SMU Law Review.
It was clear from the conference that there is much serious thought about immigration in the heart of Texas; recall that Dallas is not that far from Irving and Farmer's Branch, two localities that entered the immigration fray - and stirred considerable controversy -- this year.
SMU this year initiated a Colloquium on Law & Citizenship, which includes a great group of speakers. Rose Villazor is the organizer. In just the past few weeks, Linda Bosniak (Rutgers-Camden) and Teemu Ruskola (Emory) spoke as part of the series. Among others, Keith Aoki (UC Davis) will speak in the series in the spring.
It seems to me that there is a lot of intellectual activity going on at SMU under the leadership of Dean John Attanasio.
The immigration conference was quite impressive. SMU attracted a full house, including members from the community. There was one question -- the first question of the day from the audience -- that reminded me that it is difficult to have a reasoned discussion on immigration reform. After presenting a reform proposal for more liberal admissions (about which many, perhaps most, people disagree), I was asked from the audience "what part of illegal don't you understand?" Later, it was suggested that I was guilty of treason because I would cede U.S. sovereignty by opening the borders. A local city council person asked me if I think that we should enforce the DUI laws (yes, I definitely do). (None of the questioners were affiliated with SMU.)
Immigration is an issue that this nation must discuss. I wish that we could discuss it thoughtfully, sensitively, and constructively. Sound-bites may work for Lou Dobbs but will not work in bringing about immigration reform.
Late last week, U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Harry Pregerson submitted dissents in a series of unpublished dispositions (60 according to his dissent but all of the dispositions do not appear to have been filed yet). Judge Pregerson contends that, in those cases, ordering the deportation of a noncitizen parent in effect will result in the deportation of a U.S. child. Judge Pregerson, a veteran, notes that many immigrants are dying in war and states the hope that Congress will intervene. Click here to see one of the dissents.
Judge Pregerson has raised a critically important issue in these 60 cases. The effective deportation of citizen children through the deportation of citizen parents has long been an issue. Recently, workplace immigration raids, such as the one in New Bedford, Massachusetts earlier this year, resulted in immigrant parents being arrested and not coming home to theor citizen children. Elvira Arrellano's U.S. citizen son was effectively removed when he followed her to Mexico after she was deported.
Thanks to Cappy White for spotting this development.
Friday, October 19, 2007
Jeff Thomas of the San Jose Mercury News reports:
For now, Lucio Caciano is just relieved to be out of the Yuba City jail and back home in Sunnyvale. He's trying not to think too much about what could happen in the coming weeks, when his life could change as dramatically as it did 15 years ago when he walked across the border at Tijuana and entered the United States illegally.
Caciano, 37, a much-loved youth program coordinator at St. Athanasius Catholic Church in Mountain View, was arrested by immigration agents last week when they knocked on his door. They were looking for someone who used to live at the house. They found Caciano instead.
Now, out on a $5,000 bond raised by friends and supporters, Caciano faces a Nov. 1 hearing that could result in his deportation to Mexico.
"I feel very happy right now," Caciano said Thursday, "because I am back home already. But I am worried about what could happen."
Caciano's case has magnified the already divisive arguments about immigration reform. Those who know Caciano are outraged that such a hardworking, compassionate person, someone who mentors young adults and teens, and ministers to gang members, could be plucked from their midst. Click here for the rest of the story.
A coalition of human rights and labor groups have begun a campaign to counter what they call the "vile and vicious" rhetoric of the anti-illegal immigration movement and "recapture the civility of discussion and debate" on the issue of comprehensive immigration reform. The campaign, called Campaign for a United America, launched Wednesday with the release of its Web site, http: www.campaignforaunitedamerica.org/
For a news story about the new website, click here.
Below is a link to a new report, which will be formally released in Washington next week: Wasted Talent and Broken Dreams: The Lost Potential of Undocumented Students, by Roberto Gonzales. It is a policy report on the DREAM Act for the Immigration Policy Center. The report will be featured in DREAM Act related press conferences in Washington next week. For the announcement and the report, see http://www.ailf.org/ipc/infocus/ipc_infocus_07dream.shtml
Civil rights groups filed suit earlier this week against the Otero County Sheriff’s Department for civil rights violations committed during immigration sweeps last September in the southern New Mexico town of Chaparral. On behalf of five Latino families, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Mexico charged sheriff’s deputies with raiding homes without search warrants, interrogating families without evidence of criminal activity, and targeting households on the basis of race and ethnicity. The groups seek monetary damages and guarantees that the sheriff’s department will refrain from such raids in the future.
“Otero County Sheriffs broke a basic bond of trust with the community of Chaparral,” said ACLU Executive Director Peter Simonson. “When the police treat you like a criminal because of the language you speak and the color of your skin, they cease being a source of help when you are a victim of or witness to a crime. We need to restore policing to its proper mission in Chaparral so citizens and immigrants alike can trust that someone is watching out for their safety.”
Legal papers filed by the two groups describe an incident in which sheriff’s deputies ousted a family from its home by banging loudly on the home’s walls in the pre-dawn hours of September 10, 2007. Without a warrant, one sheriff’s deputy attempted to enter through an open bedroom window where the mother had been asleep, while another shouted from the front door, “Delivery! Mia’s Pizza.”
Five of the family members are named plaintiffs in the lawsuit, two of whom are U.S citizens. MALDEF Staff Attorney David Urias said, “The enforcement of immigration laws is strictly a responsibility of the federal government. Sheriff’s deputies are not immigration officers and do not have the authority or the training to investigate or arrest people because they suspect them of being undocumented. In Otero County, Sheriff’s deputies are taking federal law into their own hands and violating the rights of Latinos, including citizens and legal permanent residents. These raids are simply illegal and un-American.” Download the legal complaint at http://aclu-nm.org/News_Events/news_10_17_07.html
Dr. Nina L. Khrushcheva is a professor of media and culture in the graduate program of international affairs at The New School, a senior fellow of the World Policy Institute, and from 2002 to 2004 was adjunct assistant professor at the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. She is the great-granddaughter of former Soviet Premier Nikita Krushchev. Dr. Khrushcheva earned a degree from Moscow State University with a major in Russian and minors in English and Italian in 1987 and a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Princeton University in 1998. She write regularly about world affairs.
Khrushcheva is a naturalized U.S. citizen and lives in New York City.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
News from : Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus
Congressman Michael M. Honda, 110th Congress, Chair
For Immediate Release Contact: Gloria Chan – 202.226.9707
October 16, 2007 [email protected]
TSA Changes Airport Screening Policy After Talks with CAPAC
Addressing Sikh Americans’ Racial Profiling and Religious Sensitivity Concerns
Washington, DC – After two months of discussions with Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA), the Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific Caucus (CAPAC), the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced today new screening procedures for bulky items, which they hope will be more sensitive to different ethnic and religious groups.
TSA will not single out turbans as an object of suspicion, will now include screening procedures for headwear within the overall category of bulky clothing, and will not make headwear a separate category. That was the case when TSA changed its standard operating procedures (SOP) for screening headwear in August. That led to a rash of incidents across the country in which members of the Sikh American community complained they felt harassed because of their turbans.
“To me, the August policy raised concerns about racial profiling and religious sensitivity,” said Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA), Chair of CAPAC. “We have been working with TSA Administrator Kip Hawley to find a balance between securing our airports and protecting people’s civil liberties. We hope the implementation of this revised SOP will do that.”
“We are encouraged that the TSA has found a solution that does not single out turbans for additional screening. Indeed, it is possible to secure America’s safety and be true to its principles of religious freedom,” said Amardeep Singh, Executive Director of the Sikh Coalition. “Still, we call on the TSA to implement safeguards that make good on its no profiling pledge.”
CAPAC and the Sikh American community also had religious sensitivity concerns about TSA’s August policy, as removing a turban is akin to stripping for those of the Sikh faith. Sikh American activists also said the August change was made without consultation with the community, which TSA had done in the past.
Since August, Honda has had several conversations with TSA Administrator Kip Hawley regarding the agency’s headwear screening policy. Honda, who spent his early childhood with his family in an internment camp during World War II, has been very concerned that TSA’s August procedures could have led to profiling. Rep. Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-VA), Chair of CAPAC’s Civil Rights Task Force, has joined Honda in this effort.
The announcement of the new SOP comes one day after the latest conversation between Honda and Hawley. Removal of all headwear is recommended to passengers but the rules accommodate those with religious, medical, or other reasons for whom removing items is not comfortable. Transportation security officers have several options for screening passengers who choose not to remove bulky clothing, including trace portals, trace detection, and pat downs and private rooms where the screening can take place.
“After my conversations with Mr. Hawley, I am thankful for the leadership that TSA has demonstrated to address this issue in a timely manner,” said Honda. “The policy is a neutral one that may decrease the risk of profiling against Sikh Americans. I look forward to working with TSA to ensure that the policy is implemented in a non-discriminatory and religiously and culturally sensitive manner, and will revisit the policy in a few months to continue monitoring implementation.”
The Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) is comprised of Members of Congress of Asian and Pacific Islander descent and members who have a strong dedication to promoting the well-being of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. Since 1994, CAPAC has been addressing the needs of the AAPI community in all areas of American life. For more information on CAPAC, please call (202) 225-2631 or visit http://www.honda.house.gov/capac.
Khaled Hosseini (born March 4, 1965) is a novelist and physician born in Afghanistan. His debut novel, The Kite Runner, was a bestseller. His second, A Thousand Splendid Suns, was released in May 2007.
Hosseini was born on March 4, 1965, in Kabul, Afghanistan. His father was involved with the Afghan Foreign Ministry and his mother was a teacher at a girls high school. In 1973, a coup ousted the former King of Afghanistan from power. In 1976, Hosseini's family moved to Paris. In 1980, the family sought political asylum in the United States and made their residence in San Jose, California. They had left Afghanistan with only the clothes on their back.
Hosseini graduated from Independence High School in San Jose in 1984 and enrolled at Santa Clara University, where he earned a bachelor's degree in biology in 1988. The following year, he entered the UC San Diego, School of Medicine, where he earned his M.D. in 1993. Hosseini completed his residency in internal medicine at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles in 1996.
The Kite Runner is the story of a young boy seeking to establish a closer rapport with his father and coping with memories of a haunting childhood event. The novel is set in Afghanistan, from the fall of the monarchy until the collapse of the Taliban regime, and in the San Francisco Bay Area. Its many themes include ethnic tensions between the Hazara and the Pashtun in Afghanistan, and the immigrant experiences of Amir and his father in the United States.
The Kite Runner has been adapted into a film of the same name. Its release this year has been delayed because of controversy over some of the scenes depicting Afghanistan.
Hosseini is a naturalized U.S. citizen. For his official website, click here.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Washington, D.C. – Senate Democrats today highlighted the importance of civic engagement among young Hispanics as part of the First Senate Democratic Latino Youth Summit. The event gave close to 150 young Latinos from across the country the opportunity to interact with senators and discuss issues of importance, such as: immigration, civil rights, and education. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Ken Salazar (D-CO), and Robert Menéndez (D-NJ), addressed the young Hispanic leaders and commended their involvement and impact on public policy and society.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) emphasized the importance of education for the attendees. “What leveled the field for me and allowed me to reach my goals in life was my education. Education is not always accessible to all members of American society. But you are here today because you are the fruit of generations of hard work and sacrifice. It is your duty to continue the fight to give Latinos their rightful place in our nation’s fabric. It is your duty to empower yourselves through education and, in turn, make wiser use of the political and civic process. As Latino student leaders, the future of this country is in your hands. Each one of you can be a catalyst for social change.”
Senator Stabenow, Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee Chairwoman, added: “Today’s first ever Hispanic Youth Summit provides a valuable opportunity to address the important issues facing Hispanic youth and students throughout the nation. We’re proud to be joined by 150 student leaders from over 20 states and look forward to the opportunity to work together in the future.”
Said Senator Ken Salazar, Senate Democratic Hispanic Task Force Co-chair: “It is a privilege to have so many young, aspiring Latino leaders attend the first Senate Democratic Latino Youth Summit. Today, we are recognizing the important contributions of Latino youth to our community and our Nation. The future of the Latino community resides with our young people. Over half of Latinos in the United States are under the age of 26 and will continue to be the fastest growing sector in our Nation’s population. As this important summit begins, we must remember that investing in our young people will pay off in the future as we enable them to reach their potential and become catalysts of change in their communities.”
Senator Menéndez, Co-chair of the Senate Democratic Hispanic Task Force, said: “It is an honor to celebrate the first Latino Youth Summit in Senate history during a time when a great deal is at stake for our Latino youth and for our families. It gives me great hope and inspiration to see our bright minds debating issues that directly impact our communities, like civil rights, civic engagement, immigration and juvenile justice reform. Not only are they young Latinos that are going to be successful leaders in a competitive global economy, but they are also young people who are engaged politically. They will be ready to fight for what is right for our Latino community and our nation. My Democratic colleagues in the Senate and I are guided by the belief that we must invest in the new generation of leaders that will follow where we leave off.”
N. Cal. residents report excessive searches, questioning at airports when returning to the United States
(San Francisco, Oct. 16) – Responding to growing complaints of harassment at U.S. airports, the San Francisco-based Asian Law Caucus is issuing advice for U.S. citizens and immigrants repeatedly searched and questioned when returning to the United States. The new multi-lingual advisories will be distributed at cultural centers, places of worship, and other community institutions and are available at the group’s website, www.asianlawcaucus.org.
Since January, the Asian Law Caucus has received regular complaints from Muslim, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Middle Eastern individuals – including U.S. citizens – who say they are singled out by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials each time they fly back to the country. Customs officials question travelers, sometimes for several hours, about their families, travels, religious practices, and political beliefs. In addition, agents examine reading material and other highly personal items travelers are carrying, including books, notes, cell phone directories, and files on laptop computers. When individuals complain, they have been told, “This is the border, and you have no rights.”
Complaints received by the Asian Law Caucus include the following:
* A Santa Clara resident and high-tech marketing rep originally from Sudan was detained for five hours at San Francisco International Airport and quizzed about the books he was carrying, his volunteer activities at the mosque, his travels, and other issues. On three separate return trips, Customs agents have searched his laptop computer; once, they questioned him about articles he had read online. Despite using a government procedure set up for individuals mistakenly flagged on watchlists, he has seen no improvement in his situation and fears the same treatment each time he returns home.
* A U.S. citizen who teaches ethnic studies at a local college and writes for national magazines was questioned extensively about his trip to Lebanon. Border agents at San Francisco International Airport questioned him on the reporter’s notes he took at political demonstrations, even asking him about scrawlings on “post-it” notes in his luggage. Agents removed his laptop computer to another room for 45 minutes and told him they were downloading all the files from his computer. When he protested his treatment, he was told, “This is the border, and you have no rights.”
* In the last two years, a San Jose imam who is a U.S. citizen has been taken aside seven times for questioning and extensive luggage searches when returning to the United States. On one occasion, when returning from a U.S.-government sponsored conference in Europe, agents removed all the business cards he had collected from individuals he met at the conference, presumably to photocopy them. A leader who promotes interfaith work and civic engagement within his community, he has repeatedly complained to federal officials about his treatment, but with no resolution.
“The government’s intrusive questioning and searches has a chilling effect on free speech, freedom of religion, and political association. No one should have to undergo such an interrogation into their thoughts and lawful activities as a condition for returning home,” said Shirin Sinnar, staff attorney at the Asian Law Caucus. “The fact that so many Americans are repeatedly subject to this treatment, not knowing why and unable to clear their names, violates basic notions of fairness and due process.”
U.S. Customs and Border Protection uses a federal Terrorist Screening Database to pre-screen all air travelers seeking entry into the United States, including U.S. citizens. Tens of thousands of people are reportedly flagged as security risks by this secret database, and misidentifications based on similar names are frequent. CBP also employs an “Automated Targeting System” that stores and analyzes travel records in order to assign secret risk scores to millions of U.S. travelers. Recent news reports indicate that the ATS may store such information as one’s race, traveling partners, and reading material, raising privacy and First Amendment concerns.
The Asian Law Caucus advisory provides guidance for travelers on preparing for one’s return, responding to inordinate scrutiny at the airport, and filing complaints after returning. The information is available in English, Urdu, Arabic, Hindi, and Dari. The Asian Law Caucus is a 35-year-old nonprofit organization in San Francisco that advocates for the legal and civil rights of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
* To view the travel advisories, please see “Advice for International Travelers Returning to the United States” at www.asianlawcaucus.org.
* To interview an individual flagged by repeated screening or Asian Law Caucus staff attorney Shirin Sinnar, please call 415-848-7714 or email [email protected]
* To reprint the advisory in any of the languages available, please call 415-848-7711 or email [email protected]
National faith, civil rights and labor leaders today unveiled a campaign to counter the growing anti-immigrant movement in the U.S. by uplifting the voices of everyday Americans who have grown weary of the division created by anti-immigrant politics. The campaign presents one of the few organized alternatives for those Americans who may find themselves conflicted on immigration and immigration reform, but are thoroughly at odds with the tenor and ideological background of the anti-immigrant movement. “Communities throughout the U.S. were left divided in the wake of the battles initiated by the anti-immigrant movement,” said Rev. David Ostendorf, Executive Director of the Center for New Community. “The Campaign for a United America will offer a platform for Americans across the land to stand up for the country they believe in, and to stand against the forces of intolerance.” Some of the components of the campaign include: · A new web site that will bring people across the nation together as part of the campaign. The site will feature profiles of everyday people decided to take a stand against intolerance and in favor of our nation’s historic commitment to unity, equality and opportunity. The web site will also a feature a Voices of Intolerance section that will profile some of the members of the anti-immigrant movement and their supporters in the media, who are sowing division throughout our nation. The web site can be found on: www.campaignforaunitedamerica.org
Earl Ofari Hutchinson is a nationally acclaimed author and political analyst. His columns have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Newsday, Philadelphia Inquirer, and San Francisco Chronicle. He is the associate editor at New American Media and the author of many books, including The Assassination of the Black Male Image, Betrayed, Beyond O.J., Blacks and Reds, The Crisis in Black and Black, and The Disappearance of Black Leadership. Read his news and opinion blog at his blog.
In his new book, The Latino Challenge to Black America (2007), Hutchinson thoughtfully analyzes hot-button political issues and burning social problems such as immigration, criminal justice and corrections, bilingual education, employment, political jockeying, changing ethnic dynamics, and racial stereotypes that both divide and unite blacks and Latinos. His analysis considers how Latino and African Americans frame and interpret these issues through the prism of their own experiences. Skillfully blending the personal with the analytical, the book provides a guide that will help the nation navigate race relations through 21st-century America.
Hutchinson agreed to an interview on the ImmigrationProf blog. Here is our questions and his responses:
ImmigrationProf Blog: Your book suggests that African Americans and Latinos should build political coalitions to seek to address common problems, such as ending racial discrimination and ensuring wage and condition protection for all workers. What, as a practical matter, must be done for such coalitions to be built? Is a charismatic set of leaders, such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Cesar Chavez, a necessary prerequisite? In your view, is there anybody of that potential stature on the horizon?
Hutchinson: There are no name leaders that are readily recognizable as in the past. But there are local leaders in every community capable of stepping up to the plate and building cohesive black and Latino unity.
ImmigrationProf Blog: The Latino Challenge to Black America discusses Latino racism toward African Americans and African American racism directed at Latinos. Trust between these communities must be built if there is any hope for the building of multiracial coalitions. How can racism be tempered and addressed so that Latinos and African Americans can develop the trust necessary to build productive coalitions?
Hutchinson: It takes strong, proactive, leadership on both sides that are willing to reach out and build bridges on common problems from discrimination to failing public schools. Where black and Latino leaders join together the problems are minimized and unity is possible.
ImmigrationProf Blog: Much of the book analyzes the division between African Americans and Latinos on the issue of immigration. Here is the million dollar question. What is the common position on immigration that both Latinos and African Americans can support?
Hutchinson: Jobs, jobs, and more jobs. If black and Latinos feel there are jobs for all, the rancor and tensions dissipate. The fight must be for more and better jobs, and the demand must be made for job creation on government and corporations.
ImmigrationProf Blog: Over the last few years, immigration reform has provoked a national controversy, with a compromise reform bill ultimately self-destructing in the U.S. Senate this past summer. During that time, immigrants and their supporters –- with, as the book mentions, few African American faces -- took to the streets by the thousands in cities across the United States and demanded, among other things, simple justice for undocumented immigrants. How should the United States reform its immigration laws? How should the nation address the 12+ million undocumented immigrants who live in the United States today? Can African Americans and Latinos agree on immigration reform?
Hutchinson: Yes, if immigrant reform groups are willing to reach out to local black leadership and the civil rights groups and make their fight against discrimination and job bias their fight too. And black groups and leaders reach back and embrace them in that fight.
ImmigrationProf Blog: In recent months, the Bush administration has ramped up the number of immigration raids of workplaces, homes, and public places. In many parts of the country, undocumented immigrants, as well as many lawful immigrants and U.S. citizens, have been terrified by the raids. Should raids be a priority in immigration enforcement? Can African Americans, who often have been victimized by law enforcement excesses (such as racial profiling, police brutality, the “war on drugs”, etc.), be expected to support Latinos in fighting the excesses of immigration enforcement?
Hutchinson: It will be tough. Many won’t no matter what, but many will. Again, the crucial factor is do blacks feel that immigration reform groups take a more visible and aggressive stance in the fight against these problems. In the absence of that little chance.
Integration of Immigrants into U.S. Society
ImmigrationProf Blog: Many proponents of restrictionist immigration policies, including some African Americans, argue that immigrants pose a threat to national unity because they are not learning English or adapting to the “American way” of life. Yet studies show that the demand for English language instruction far outstrips supply. Moreover, our public schools are failing many immigrants (as well as many African Americans): the increasing segregation of Latino/as in public schools threatens the ability of our school systems to provide a means for integrating immigrant youth into U.S. society. What should be done to assist immigrants to overcome the obstacles that currently hinder their efforts to more successfully adapt to life in U.S. society and become truly a part of America? Do African Americans and Latinos have common concerns on the issue of integration of immigrants into U.S. society?
Hutchinson: The fight against discrimination, better job and education opportunities are everyone’s fight. These are issues that affect all working class, and poor folk—black and Latino. So a concentrated effort to build coalitions on these issues will speed the integration of immigrants in American society as well as break down stereotypes and racial fears.
Asian Immigration and Immigrants
ImmigrationProf Blog: Given the fact that Asian immigrants and refugees have made up a sizeable group of newcomers to the United States since 1965 and 10 percent of the undocumented immigrants in the country are of Asian descent, what role if any do you see Asian Americans playing in addressing the social issues addressed in your book? Might Asian Americans be part of a larger multiracial coalition?
Hutchinson: The same role that Latino immigrant reform groups must play—promoted dialogue, build brides of understanding,form action coalitions to fight against discrimination, education neglect and for more and better jobs.
Asian Americans and Blacks Black/Asian Tensions
ImmigrationProf Blog: The book focuses on tensions between African Americans and Latinos. There also have been much-publicized tensions between the Asian American and African American community, including the Korean/Black conflict in Los Angeles in connection with the May 1992 Rodney King violence. Does your analysis about Black/Latino coalitions apply to Asian Americans and African Americans? What are the similarities and differences in the relationships between the groups?
Hutchinson: I have deliberately and solely focused on black and Latino relations. This is the single greatest and troubling ethnic hot button potentially explosive issue in America. The numbers and concentration of Latinos in urban areas makes it even more of a volatile issue. Thus the intense and exclusive focus on it in my book. Black and Asian relations may be my next book.
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The N.Y. Times reports that about 4 in 10 immigrants are moving directly from abroad to the nation’s suburbs, which are growing increasingly diverse, according to census figures released yesterday.
We already know that immigrants are moving to places across the nation, including the South and Midwest as well as the two coasts. The Census shows that, unlike the early twentieth century, immigrants are no longer concentrating in urban centers.