November 3, 2007
ICE Raids in Connecticut
Mark Spencer reports for Courant.com:
Pastor Silvio Almeida's phone starting ringing early Friday with calls from panicked parishioners asking what he knew about raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in the Parkville section of Hartford.
"All the people called me this morning and said, `Pastor, can you help?'" said Almeida, who ministers to a predominantly Brazilian congregation at Emmanuel Assembly of God church on South Whitney Street.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesperson Paula Grenier said Friday that nine people were detained in Hartford, although she said the names, nationality and addresses of those arrested were not available. She said an ICE fugitive operation team arrested one person on an outstanding deportation order.
The others were apparently swept up in the raid, suspected of being illegal immigrants. Grenier declined to say how many warrants agents were trying to serve Friday. Click here for the full story.
Delays in Processing Times
Good afternoon, in the interest of keep you all informed about "increased processing times" due to the heavy volume of applications that have come in over the last few months, I am sending you 3 items which can be found on our website. The agency has taken steps to correct the situation, and has proactively realigned resources to make sure that the applicants will not be inconvenienced by the delays. I want to let you know that California Service Center has worked very hard to keep up with the influx, and is actually further along than the other Service Centers which are also slowly getting through the enormous workload. Please continue to help us in keeping your community members informed of the latest developments and to alleviate any of their concerns.
Item #1 a link to the most recent web posting on the issue, and I pasted the actual language beneath the link for your convenience, in case the link does not function properly, or in case you prefer to read it in the text of this message.
Advisory on Processing Times
In the past few months, USCIS has received a significant increase in the number of applications filed. As a result, processing times will likely become longer for applications filed after June 1, 2007.
USCIS is working hard to address the increased volume and will continue to provide additional information on application processing times as it becomes available. For more information, please see our Frequently Asked Questions on receipt delays.
Item #2 Link to receipting dates, I pasted today's posting beneath the link for your convenience.
USCIS Application and Receipting Update
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) advises customers that processing of fee payments and entry of cases into our tracking system remains behind schedule due to the tremendous increase in the number of applications filed. As a result, applicants are experiencing delays in receiving notices of receipt. USCIS is working hard to deal with the increased volume.
Date Received in Mailroom - USCIS will honor the actual date that an application was received in our mailroom; this date will be indicated on the receipt (in the Received Date box) when Form I-797, Notice of Action, is mailed. You can see a sample Form I-797 under "Related Links" on this page. If your case is affected by the receipt delay, arrival of your receipt may take up to 12 weeks for adjustment-of-status
applications and 15 weeks for naturalization and other applications. Weekly updates on Receipting - Until this situation is resolved, USCIS will provide these weekly updates on progress in issuing receipt notices to our customers. Additional information is available in Frequently Asked Questions, located under "Related Links" on this page. Applications Received Prior to Posted Receipting Dates - If your
application was received by USCIS before the posted dates below and you still have no receipt, please contact USCIS Customer Service toll-free at 1-800-375-5283.
We appreciate your understanding.
Contact Customer Service toll-free at 1-800-375-5283 for:
Change of Address - If you have submitted your application and are changing your address, but have not yet received your receipt. (If you have a receipt, you can report your change of address from our website, using USCIS' Change of Address Online.)
Unusual Delay - If you have not received a receipt within the timeframe indicated below for the Service Center where you filed your application.
As of October 26, 2007, USCIS has completed initial data entry and issued receipt notices for applications and petitions received on or before the dates indicated:
California Service Center
Form Number Date Received
All Other Forms 10/09/2007
Nebraska Service Center
Form Number Date Received
I-485 Refugee 8/05/2007
All Other Forms 10/18/2007
Texas Service Center
Form Number Date Received
All Other Forms 10/22/2007
Vermont Service Center
Form Number Date Received
All Other Forms 10/10/2007
Form Number Date Received
Item #3 PDF file of Receipting delay document (all 14 Qs and As) in a single document. (Please see attachment) If you cannot download the document please let me know.
Lucee Rosemarie Fan
Community Relations Officer
Office of Communications
U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services
Department of Homeland Security
630 Sansome Street
San Francisco, CA 94111
November 2, 2007
ICE Raid Near Fort Benning
Mary Lou Pickel reports in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
The site of a new Army infantry museum near Fort Benning became the scene of an immigration raid when federal agents arrested 30 workers earlier this week.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested 27 Mexicans and three Guatemalans on charges of immigration violations, and they will be processed for deportation, ICE spokesman Richard Rocha said.
Agents entered the work site of the new National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center at Patriot Park in Columbus on Tuesday morning and checked the IDs of all workers, Rocha said. Those considered to be illegally in the country were transported to the ICE detention center in Stewart County, he said. Click herefor the full story.
New Immigration Books
Defending immigrants in the ninth circuit : impact of crimes under California and other state laws / Katherine Brady, Norton Tooby, Michael K. Mehr, Angie Junck. 9th ed 2007
Gómez, Laura E., Manifest destinies : the making of the Mexican American race New York University, 2007
Hao, Lingxin, Color lines, country lines : race, immigration, and wealth stratification in America Russell Sage Foundation, 2007
Holbrook, Ames, The deporter : one agent's race against the U.S. government's campaign to unleash dangerous aliens on our soil Sentinel, 2007
International migration law : developing paradigms and key challenges / edited by Ryszard Cholewinski, Richard Perruchoud, Euan MacDonald. The Hague : T.M.C. Asser Press, c2007
International migration, economic development & policy / Çāglar Özden and Maurice Schiff, editors.
Palgrave Macmillan, 2007
Vail, Joseph A, Essentials of removal and relief: representing individuals in immigration proceedings edited by Stephanie L. Browning. American Immigration Lawyers Association, 2006
New SSRN Immigration Articles
"European Union Citizenship: Writing the Future" DORA KOSTAKOPOULOU Affiliation Unknown Full Text: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1005503
"Caminante, No Hay Camino, Se Hace Camino Al Andar : EU Citizenship, Direct Democracy and Treaty Ratification" FRANCIS ANDRE CHENEVAL Affiliation Unknown Full Text: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1005504
"The Moment of Perception Triggers the Plea for Purposes of the St. Cyr Analysis or the INA § 212(C) Waiver ... Not the Plea of Guilty" MAURICE Y. HEW Thurgood Marshall School of Law Abstract: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1024319
"Hey, Hey Paulus, Make the Government Carry the Burden of Proof; A Conviction for Drug Paraphernalia Does Not Relate to a Controlled Substance" MAURICE Y. HEW Thurgood Marshall School of Law Abstract: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1024523
"Citizenship and the Courts" NANCY MORAWETZ New York University School of Law Full Text: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1024573
"Law and Popular Culture: Inter-American Explorations into Colombian Slang and Spanish-Language Radio in the U.S." ERNESTO HERNANDEZ LOPEZ Chapman University School of Law Full Text: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1014722
Undocumented Students and Public Universities
The recent failure of the latest version of the DREAM Act will leave it almost completely to the states to deal with undocumented students in the puvlic colleges and universities. We can probably expect more state laws and more litigation over undocumented students in higher education. The Chronicle of Higher Education has an interesting article discussing the challenges facing public colleges and universities with respect to undocumented students in light of new state laws and greater public scrutiny of the treatment of undocumented stuidents. Sara Hebel "Arizona's Colleges Are in the Crosshairs of Efforts to Curb Illegal Immigration," Chronicle of Higher Education (Nov. 2) specifically looks at Arizona's strict new limits on educational benefits for undocumented immigrants that took effect at the beginning of this year. According to the article, the new law has "brought new scrutiny to the state's colleges and their students and forced educators to assume an awkward role as enforcers."
Immigrant of the Day: Anne M. O'Callaghan (Ireland)
Our Immigrant of the Day is Anne M. O'Callaghan, Executive Director for the Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She has been heavily involved in assisting immigrants in the United States for more than three decades. Trained as a physical therapist in Ireland, O'Callaghan came to the United States in 1970 and worked in the field for 20 years as a practitioner, college-level instructor, and service director. She brought her entrepreneurial skills to the founding and building of a software development company that serves the home health care industry and is active in the Alliance for the Mentally Ill, the Visiting Nurses Association of Greater Philadelphia, and the Southwest Community Enrichment Center.
Under O'Callaghan's leadership, the Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians has provided the greater Philadelphia area with a significant resource and support center for immigrants as they begin life in the United States.
November 1, 2007
From the Cruel, Yet Delicious, Ironies Department: ICE detention center employed undocumented workers, criminals
The Austin Chronicle (Nov. 2, 2007) reports that "The dirty little secret is out: The T. Don Hutto Family Residential Center, a detention facility for immigrant families in Taylor, has employed undocumented workers, as well as contractors with criminal records. The revelation has put Williamson County, which administers the center for owner-operator Corrections Corporation of America, in an embarrassing legal bind."
Tell me it ain't so, Joe!?
Pelosi Criticizes GOP on DREAM Act Failure
Pelosi Statement on Republicans Blocking Consideration of DREAM Act
Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi released the following statement today after Senate Republicans voted to block consideration of the DREAM Act:
“By blocking action on the Dream Act, Senate Republicans prevented a critical first step to address our nation’s broken immigration system.
“Our immigration system needs to honor the promise of America and recognize the enormous contributions that immigrants make to our nation. But it must do so in a way that makes our nation safer, protects all workers, and respects the rule of law.”
Driver's Licenses a Presidential Campaign Issue?
At least before September 11, 2001, it would have been hard to believe that driver's licenses could be a national political issue. However, the politics of immigration combined with the 2008 Presidential elections, have thrust the issue of driver's license eligibility of undocumented immigrants, into the national presidential spotlight.
We reported yesterday on the how the issue of driver's licenses came up in the Ddemocratic Presidential debate on Tuesday night. It seems fair to say that many observers questioned Senator Hillary Clinton's response to the question about the NY licensing plan as well as her overall performance in the debate. On Wednesday, she issued a statement yesterday seeking to clarify her position on New York Governor Spitzer's compromise on licenses with the Department of Homeland Security. According to the Washington Post, the statement said that "Senator Clinton supports governors like Governor Spitzer who believe they need such a measure to deal with the crisis caused by this administration's failure to pass comprehensive immigration reform. As President, her goal will be to pass comprehensive immigration reform that would make this unnecessary." Talk radio -- I listened myself to a radio show in Houston last night -- is lambasting Clinton on the issue.
We will see where driver's licenses take us. To this point, the candidates are divided on the issue. I fear, however, where driver's licenses will lead.
New Human Rights and Immigration Articles
HUMAN RIGHTS LAW
Byron, Christine. A blurring of boundaries: the application of international humanitarian law by human rights bodies. 47 Va. J. Int'l L. 839-896 (2007).
O'Rawe, Mary. Human rights, transitional societies and police training: legitimating strategies and delegitimating legacies. 22 St. John's J. Legal Comment. 199-259 (2007).
Bloomekatz, Rachel. Comment. Rethinking immigration status discrimination and exploitation in the low-wage workplace. 54 UCLA L. Rev. 1963-2010 (2007).
King, David H. Note. Expanding the residency rights of non-nationals in the European community. (Case C-200/02, Zhu and Chen v. Sec'y of State for the Home Dep't, 2005 E.C.R. I-9923.) 29 Loy. L.A. Int'l & Comp. L. Rev. 291-307 (2007).
Rubenstein, David S. Putting the immigration rule of lenity in its proper place: a tool of last resort after Chevron. 59 Admin. L. Rev. 479-519 (2007).
Symposium. Holes in the Fence: Immigration Reform and Border Security in the United States. Foreword by Michael L. Culotta and Aimee J. Frederickson; keynote address by Asa Hutchinson; articles by Elizabeth Cronin, Susan Benesch and Kristen M. Jarvis Johnson; panel remarks by Sara Ibrahim, Lee Bargerhuff, Mark Krikorian and Rachel Canty; closing remarks by Jeffrey S. Lubbers. 59 Admin. L. Rev. 521-628 (2007).
Immigrant of the Day: Caitriona Lyons (Ireland)
Caitriona Lyons is the Refugee Program Coordinator for the state of Texas. Lyons, a native of Ireland, began her work in the field of immigration many years ago. Her career in government began as an immigration specialist with the State of Texas and she is currently the coordinator of the Refugee Program within the Department of Human Services. Before the state realigned its offices and programs a few years ago, Ms. Lyons was the coordinator for all immigration matters for Texas. Lyons remains the state's most prominent expert on immigration matters.
Previously, Lyons was the director of the Refugee Resettlement Program in Austin for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. She has a graduate degree in Human Services Administration from St. Edward's University and is a licensed social work associate.
Lyons currently serves on the State Bar of Texas Immigration Affairs Committee and holds the office of President for the State Coordinator's of Refugee Resettlement Association.
October 31, 2007
LA 8 Case Dropped After 20 Years
Long before September 11 and the "war on terror," the U.S. governmemnt zealously pursured so-called terrorists. One of the most egregious cases, The infamous LA 8 case, which made its way all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court, is finally over. Here are some of the published opinions in this long-running case. See Reno v. American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Comm., 525 U.S. 471 (1999), vacating and remanding 119 F.3d 1367 (9th Cir. 1997); American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Comm. v. Reno, 70 F.3d 1045 (9th Cir. 1995); American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Comm. v. Meese, 714 F. Supp. 1060 (C.D. Cal. 1989), aff'd in part, rev'd in part, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Comm. v. Thornburgh, 970 F.2d 501 (9th Cir. 1991). Volume 31 of the Columbia Human Rights Law Review published a symposium of papers presnted at the Association of American Law Schools Annual Meeting about the case.
The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) announced that after a 20-year legal battle, the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) has completely terminated the "L.A. 8" case (See order). This comes following the U.S. Government’s most recent court defeat this past January when Immigration Judge Einhorn terminated the proceedings against the two men, finding that the U.S. Government was in violation of the men's constitutional, statutory, and regulatory rights. As the court stated in its eleven-page opinion, "The Court finds that the Government has failed to carry its burden of proving respondents deportable based on clear, unequivocal, and convincing evidence. Therefore, the proceedings against Hamide and Shehadeh are TERMINATED [sic]." The BIA dismissed the case at the request of the Government, which agreed in a settlement to drop all charges and not to seek removal of either of the men in the future based on any of the political activities or associations at issue in this case. Khader Hamide and Michel Shehadeh have agreed not to apply for citizenship for three years, and to have several judicial orders in the case vacated as moot. To read the immigration court's most recent opinion in its entirety, click here: http://www.adc.org/PDF/LA8.pdf
Over the past 20-years, ADC has been advocating for the dismissal of the government's longest running deportation case. In January 2007, following the Government’s most recent defeat in court when Judge Einhorn issued the decision, ADC called on the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to drop the case. In a letter to DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff this past February, ADC requested that DHS no longer pursue this 20-year attempt that has repeatedly proved a failure when challenged in court. That same month, ADC also met with DHS officials in Washington on two occasions to advocate against continuing with this case. Previously, ADC President Hon. Mary Rose Oakar worked with House Judiciary Committee Chairman Congressman John Conyers (D-MI) who also sent letters advocating against continuation of the case. And for years before that, ADC had been engaged on the case, repeatedly asking for the case to be dismissed. To see ADC's February 2007 letter to Secretary Chertoff see: http://www.adc.org/uploads/media/LA_8_Chertoff_Letter_2007.pdf
ADC National Executive Director Kareem Shora said, "After 20-years of trials and tribulations, Michel Shehadeh, Khader Hamide, and their families can finally live their lives without fear of deportation." Shora continued, "ADC is delighted of the Government's decision to drop this case and calls upon government officials to take note of this 20-year example of shame on the part of government prosecutors to unfairly target a group of individuals based on political ideology. This is not what our country should stand for and we know, as this case has demonstrated, that our system will not allow for such persecution." Hamide and Shehadeh are two of the eight people arrested in January 1987, by immigration officials on charges of being affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). At the time, the government charged that any association with the PFLP was grounds for deportation under the McCarran-Walter Act, legislation written during the McCarthy era that allowed deportation for association with any organization that "advocated the doctrines of world Communism." Specifically, the government alleged that Hamide and Shehadeh had given talks and handed out magazines in support of the creation of a Palestinian state. In 1989, a Federal Judge declared the charges under the McCarran-Walter Act unconstitutional; the Government chose to pursue deportation by other means, some of which were retroactive applications of new laws, which throughout the years were successfully challenged in many different courts. Then the Government alleged that Hamide and Shehadeh had provided material support to a terrorist organization. The substance of these charges was that the two men had made donations in the 1980s as students to social services centers (such as hospitals and day care centers) associated with the PFLP. After bringing the constitutionality of the charges to the Supreme Court of the United States in 1999, the Court ruled that the cases could indeed be tried under these charges. The Government would later bring similar charges against the two men under provisions of the USA Patriot Act of 2001, for the material support of a terrorist organization. All these attempts proved a failure in court.
Marc Van Der Hout, National Lawyers Guild, and David Cole, Georgetown University Law Professor and volunteer attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights, have represented the immigrants since the case began in 1987.
For more information about ADC’s efforts on the L.A. 8 case, see
ADC Renews Calls to Drop L.A. 8 Case: http://www.adc.org/index.php?id=2101
ADC Urges Government to Drop L.A. 8 Case: http://www.adc.org/index.php?id=1847
The Impact of Immigration Raids on America's Children
The increase in immigration raids in recent months has had a devastating impact on children -- including U.S. citizen children. For a report by the Urban Institute and National Council for La Raza entitled "Paying the Price: The Impact of Immigration Raids on America’s Children", which documents the many negative impacts (psycological and otherwise) on children, click here.
Deaths at the Border: Commemoration
Wednesday October 31st, 2007
Border Network for Human Rights: Fernando Garcia (915) 204-0337
Border Residents Remember the Hundreds of Migrants that have died during 2007 Due to Border Policy while Crossing the US/Mexico Border
The Border Network for Human Rights will hang 400 Crosses at the Border Fence and Hold a Candlelight Vigil to Ask for Policy Change
El Paso/Southern NM, October 31, 2007-. Border operations such as Hold the Line (El Paso, TX), Gatekeeper (San Diego), Safeguard (Arizona), and Rio Grande (Texas Valley) have created a crisis situation where more than one migrant dies per day, simply by crossing the US/Mexico border looking for a better life.
During the FY 2006-2007 more than 371 migrant deaths were reported along the border. Of those deaths, 25 occurred in the El Paso Sector which includes the County of El Paso and Southern New Mexico. More specific data and statistics will be provided at the Press Conference (see below).
Evidently this is a HUMAN RIGHTS CRISIS at the US/Mexico border, and more specifically is of grave concern to our region. Border enforcement policies are directly responsible for these deaths. The Border Network for Human Rights believes that the number of migrant deaths occurring at the border represents a crime committed against migrant workers and their families.
The Border Network for Human Rights is, instead, seeking alternative and comprehensive solutions to the complex issues of border security and immigration, that will not result in hundred of migrant deaths along a militarized border.
On November 1st 2007, the Border Network for Human Rights and community members from the El Paso/Southern New Mexico area will hang 400 crosses in a one-mile stretch along the border fence starting near the Cordova International Bridge, carry out a Press Conference providing testimonies and data on migrant deaths and hold a community vigil remembering migrant deaths at the Chamizal National Park.
BORDER NETWORK FOR HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVITIES
ON NOVEMBER 1, 2007.
The Setting Up of 400 Crosses at the Border Fence
Starting at 10 AM at the Fence in front of the Chamizal Park
near the Cordova International Bridge
BNHR Press Conference
At 1 pm at the Chamizal Park
Entrance on Delta St, at Rear Parking Lot
A Full Report on Death at the Border will be presented
Community Candlelight Vigil
At 6 PM dozens of Community Members will gather
At the First Amendment Area of the Chamizal Park
Moroccans and Ecuadorians in Spain
RESEARCH SEMINAR SERIES
Fall Quarter 2007
The Roles of Migratory Policies, Family Networks, and Labor Markets in the Emigration of Moroccans and Ecuadorians to Spain
ANTÍA PÉREZ CARAMÉS AND BELÉN SUÁREZ FERNÁNDEZ
Ph.D. Candidates in Sociology at the University of A Coruña, Spain, and Visiting Research Fellows, Center for Comparative Immigration Studies, UCSD
Tuesday, November 6, 3:00-5:00 p.m. (not previously announced)
Presentation in Spanish
Eleanor Roosevelt College Administration Building
Conference Room 115, First Floor
Reception to follow
We will present preliminary results from a cross-national research project that seeks to explain the outcomes of immigration control policies in Spain and the United States. We will deal with the results of the survey taken within the Ecuadorian and Moroccan migrant communities in Spain regarding the role that migratory policies, family networks, and the labor market exert on the migratory patterns of migrants from Ecuador and Morocco.
Senate to Vote on AgJobs
Immigration reform keeps coming back, in part because business needs labor. After the recent failure of a limited DREAM Act, the U.S. Senate is expected to vote on the Agricultural Job Opportunities, Benefits, and Security Act (AgJOBS) as an amendment to the Senate Farm Bill. AgJOBS provides a path to legal status and citizenship for farmworkers and guarantees a steady flow of labor for our nation's agricultural industry. There are many voices out there trying to block this legislation and the outcome on the vote is far from certain.
AgJOBS provides two paths to legal status for farmworkers. First, AgJOBS offers currently undocumented farmworkers the earn temporary legal status by meeting a past-work requirement in American agriculture. These farmworkers may later earn permanent immigration status and citizenship by meeting a future-work requirement of 3 to 5 additional years in the U.S. agriculture industry. Second, AgJOBS revises the H-2A visa program and would make it easier for seasonal laborers to work legally in the U.S.
It has been estimated that more than 50% of farmworkers are undocumented. These workers, like other undocumented immigrants, live in constant fear of being deported and separated from their families. AgJOBS, the product of years of careful negotiation, is supported by farmers, farmworker organizations and members of Congress from both parties.
Driver's Licenses an Issue in Democratic Presidential Debate
The Democratic candidates debated in the historic city of Phiadelphia last night. Driver's license eligibility came up. Here is the MSNC report:
"[Sen. Christopher] Dodd . . . was the only candidate who raised his hand when Brian Williams, managing editor and anchor of `NBC Nightly News,' asked whether anyone believed illegal immigrants should not have driver’s licenses. “This is a privilege, not a right,” he said. Clinton may have given her opponents an opening to bear down on their “doubletalk” attack. In a convoluted answer to the same question, Clinton first said she thought New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s plan to let illegal immigrants have driver’s licenses “makes a lot of sense.” Then she said she did not endorse Spitzer’s plan even though she repeated that he had the right idea. Then she accused Russert of asking a “gotcha” question. Edwards leaped, noting that Clinton appeared to have given two different answers in less than two minutes. “I think this is a real issue for the country,” he said. “I mean, America is looking for a president who will say the same thing, who will be consistent, who will be straight with them.”"
For more on the debate, including a link to a video of the entire debate, click here. According to Frank Luntz's Democratic Focus Group, Senator Obama was the "overwhelming" winner of last night's debate. See Video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L8ocKiHEzvM
Postscript Some readers may want to look at Lou Dobbs' latest -- a critique of NY Governor Spitzer's position on driver's license eligibilty for undocumented immigrants. Dobbs has been conducting war on Gov. Spitzer, calling him an "idiot," among other things. As I said before, the national safety/public safety argument for denial of driver's licenses to certain groups of drivers makes no sense to me. I want all driver's on the road to be safety tested and to have liabilty insurance.
Immigrant of the Day: Oliver Smithies (UK)
Oliver Smithies (born July 23, 1925) is a geneticist and Nobel laureate, credited with the invention of gel electrophoresis in 1950, and the simultaneous discovery with Mario Capecchi of the technique of homologous recombination of transgenic DNA with genomic DNA.
Smithies was born in Halifax, West Yorkshire, England. He studied Physiology for a BA First class and earned a second bachelor's degree in chemistry; he also received a MA and a DPhil in Biochemistry at Balliol College, Oxford. Smithies dropped out of medical school to study chemistry.
From 1953 to 1960, Smithies worked in the Connaught Medical Research Laboratory, University of Toronto, Canada, due to visa problems, before he could return to his originally planned post at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he worked from 1960 to 1988.
Since 1988, Smithies has been designated an Excellence Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Smithies also works at the Duke University Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy.
Smithies' work has advanced research in cystic fibrosis and could possibly have applications in other human diseases. Along with gel electrophoresis, he developed gene targeting, a method of creating mice with more human-like characteristics for use in research. Smithies and Mario Capecchi both came to the same discoveries regarding gene targeting independently. Smithies developed the technique while at the University of Wisconsin. In 2002, Smithies worked along with his wife, Dr. Nobuyo Maeda, studying high blood pressure using genetically altered mice. As of 1995, he still worked in his lab seven days a week.
On October 8, 2007, Smithies was announced as co-winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Mario Capecchi of the University of Utah (previously honored as Immigrant of the Day ) and Martin Evans of Cardiff University "for their discoveries of principles for introducing specific gene modifications in mice by the use of embryonic stem cells." Smithies is the first full professor at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill to receive a Nobel Prize.
For a news story about how the success of Capecchi and Smithies shows why the United States must get its immigration policy right, click here.