Saturday, November 17, 2007
Genaro Armas writes for the Associated Press:
Immigrants Pedro and Salvacion Servano have been model U.S. residents since arriving from the Philippines in the 1980s.
Pedro Servano, 54, is a prominent family doctor in an underserved area of central Pennsylvania. His 51-year-old wife runs a grocery store and bakery.
But apparent misstatements they made about their marital status 17 years ago have come back to haunt them, and now they are facing possible deportation back to the Philippines.
The couple have been told to report to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement office the day after Thanksgiving for the start of deportation proceedings, agency spokesman Michael Gilhooly said Friday. Click here for full story.
We have cited Ninth Circuit Judge Harry Pregerson's scathing dissents in deportation cases involving the deportation of parents of U.S. citizen children, and the children's de facto deportation.
Julia Preston writes on the issue in the NY Times:
Federal immigration agents were searching a house in Ohio last month when they found a young Honduran woman nursing her baby.
The woman, Saída Umanzor, is an illegal immigrant and was taken to jail to await deportation. Her 9-month-old daughter, Brittney Bejarano, who was born in the United States and is a citizen, was put in the care of social workers.
The decision to separate a mother from her breast-feeding child drew strong denunciations from Hispanic and women’s health groups. Last week, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency rushed to issue new guidelines on the detention of nursing mothers, allowing them to be released unless they pose a national security risk.
The case exposes a recurring quandary for immigration authorities as an increasing number of American-born children of illegal immigrants become caught up in deportation operations. With the Bush administration stepping up enforcement, the immigration agency has been left scrambling to devise procedures to deal with children who, by law, do not fall under its jurisdiction because they are citizens. Click here for the full story.
Pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to identify and assess the potential impacts associated with the proposed construction, maintenance, and operation of tactical infrastructure, to include pedestrian fence, access roads, and patrol roads, along approximately 70 miles of the U.S./Mexico international border within the U.S. Border Patrol Rio Grande Valley Sector, Texas. The Draft EIS is here, c/o Dan Kowalski.
For a story on the new fence, click here.
"For the last 20 years, the U.S. government has accused me of being a terrorist. Along with six other Palestinians and a Kenyan, we were dubbed the "Los Angeles Eight" by the media. Our case even made it to the U.S. Supreme Court. On Oct. 30 - 20 grueling years after the early morning raid in which armed federal agents barged into my apartment, brutally arrested me before my 3-year-old son's eyes, incarcerated me in maximum security cells in San Pedro State Prison for 23 days without bond, and attempted to deport me - the government dropped all charges fabricated against me. The charges involved accusations of aiding a member group of the Palestine Liberation Organization that the government alleged aided terrorism. But Los Angeles immigration Judge Bruce J. Einhorn had ordered an end to the deportation proceedings against us last January because the government failed to comply with his order to disclose evidence that supported our innocence. He called their behavior "an embarrassment to the rule of law." Why did the U.S. government spend 20 years trying to ban us from this country? Because we tried to educate Americans about the situation facing millions of Palestinians living in apartheid-like conditions under Israeli military occupation. Because we organized fundraisers to provide Palestinians with humanitarian support. And because we attended demonstrations to urge a shift in U.S. policy away from unconditional financial and diplomatic support of Israel. The government robbed us and our families of the best and most productive years of our lives. For more than 20 years, they vilified us in public without recourse. We'll never be able to entirely erase the negative words and images they manufactured about us. Our case is a stark example, and is different only in degree, from what routinely befalls those who call for equal rights for Palestinians and press for a fair Middle East U.S. policy consistent with international law. In February of this year, two others who advocated equal rights for Palestinians - Mohammed Salah and Abdelhaleem Ashqar - were found not guilty of terrorism charges based in part on evidence provided by Israel and obtained through the use of torture."
In "Immigration is new affirmative action," Peter A. Brown on Politico.com writes that "[i]mmigration is becoming for the 2008 election what affirmative action/racial preferences was 15 years ago — the kind of emotional wedge issue that offers Republicans a way to split rank-and-file Democrats from their leaders." I hope that Brown is not right but the article provides food for thought.
Friday, November 16, 2007
Legal Services of Eastern Missouri, Inc. is seeking an Attorney to manage its Immigration Unit. The attorney will provide legal representation to low-income people in a wide variety of immigration matters, including relief from removal proceedings, Board of Immigration Appeals motions, and appeals. Some federal court work anticipated. Community education and outreach is an important component of the job. The attorney must be licensed and have good writing and oral advocacy skills. If not licensed in Missouri, the attorney would be expected to sit for the first Missouri bar exam. Minimum of 3-5 years immigration law experience required. Managerial experience preferred. Spanish or other foreign language ability preferred. Salary is $50,000+, depending on experience. Send resumes to: Beth Roper, Legal Services of Eastern Missouri, 4232 Forest Park Ave., St. Louis, MO 63108, no later than December 31, 2007. E.O.E.
WASHINGTON, DC – The Office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in the Department of Homeland Security has released Guidelines for Identifying Humanitarian Concerns among Administrative Arrestees When Conducting Worksite Enforcement Operations. The guidelines are the product of discussions among Senator Kennedy, Congressman Delahunt, and ICE that took place following the arrest last March of 350 workers at the Michael Bianco factory in New Bedford, Massachusetts. The guidelines set forth best practices for quickly identifying persons arrested who are sole caregivers or who should be released from custody for other humanitarian reasons. Senator Edward M. Kennedy and Congressman William D. Delahunt released the following statement:
“Since the New Bedford raids, our offices have been working closely with ICE to develop guidelines on humanitarian screening for workers arrested in immigration raids. We hope these guidelines will ensure that pregnant women, nursing mothers, and sole caregivers will no longer be subject to detention. We commend ICE for agreeing to permit state social service agencies to participate in humanitarian screening of arrestees whenever possible.”
The new guidelines are included below:
Guidelines for Identifying Humanitarian Concerns among Administrative Arrestees
When Conducting Worksite Enforcement Operations
· Prior to conducting a worksite enforcement operation targeting the arrest of more than 150 persons, ICE should develop a comprehensive plan to identify, at the earliest possible point, any individuals arrested on administrative charges who may be sole care givers or who have other humanitarian concerns, including those with serious medical conditions that require special attention, pregnant women, nursing mothers, parents who are the sole caretakers of minor children or disabled or seriously ill relatives, and parents who are needed to support their spouses in caring for sick or special needs children or relatives. Where practical, at the direction of the Assistant Secretary, ICE will continue to implement these guidelines in all smaller worksite enforcement operations.
· In support of ICE efforts to identify arrestees who should be considered for humanitarian release after processing, ICE should coordinate with the Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Immigration Health Services (DIHS), to provide a sufficient number of personnel to assess the humanitarian needs of arrestees at the ICE processing site.
· DIHS personnel should be given prompt access to all arrestees under safe and humane conditions on the day of the action. To the extent possible, DIHS should be provided access on a rolling basis right after processing of each arrestee. DIHS personnel should be given the time necessary to assess each arrestee’s individual circumstances. The purpose of the assessment should be to determine whether the arrestee, the arrestee’s children, or other people, including sick or disabled relatives, have been placed at risk as a result of the arrest, based on the illegal activity of the arrestee. To the greatest extent possible, the information provided in the course of such assessments should be used exclusively for humanitarian purposes. DIHS should also inform ICE of any medical issues that might necessitate humanitarian release or additional care. If, during the course of the arrest operation or processing, an emergency medical condition is identified, ICE will ensure that arrestees receive appropriate emergency medical care.
· If DIHS is unable to support an ICE request for a planned worksite enforcement action, ICE should consider coordinating with an appropriate state or local social service agency (SSSA) or utilizing contracted personnel to provide humanitarian screening. If DIHS support for ICE worksite enforcement operations is found not to meet the needs or standards of ICE and such issues cannot be resolved through consultation between ICE and DIHS, then ICE should consider coordinating with an alternative social service agency or utilize contracted personnel.
· In the event DIHS is unable to provide the requested support, ICE should provide advance notice of a planned worksite enforcement operation to the SSSA in the appropriate jurisdiction. In worksite enforcement operations, ICE will consider whether such coordination is appropriate, without regard to whether DIHS is able to provide the requested support, and will make such coordination whenever possible. While advanced notification to a large number of state social service officials may not be prudent or feasible for every operation, when practicable, ICE should attempt to inform the cabinet-level state official responsible for social services of an impending worksite enforcement action. The notification should be given with sufficient advanced notice to allow the SSSA to identify resources that can support the operation.
· Once the SSSA has been notified, ICE should work with the SSSA to define its role on the day of the enforcement operation, to include proactively screening arrestees for humanitarian concerns. Humanitarian screening should occur at a time and place determined by ICE that minimizes its impact on the law enforcement operation, provided that such screening occur within 12 hours of the enforcement action, or as soon as practical.
· DIHS representatives and any SSSA representatives who have screened arrestees should make recommendations to ICE about individuals who should be released on humanitarian grounds. ICE should promptly take these recommendations into consideration when making determinations about whether arrestees will be released on their own recognizance or through some other alternative to detention. While ICE should take humanitarian issues raised by DIHS or an SSSA into consideration, these concerns will be weighed against other factors, including the arrestee’s criminal record, an existing removal order and other factors that would normally mandate detention. It is also understood that aliens who are ordered detained by ICE can seek relief before an Immigration Judge, who can change ICE’s detention decision.
· Detainees should not be transferred out of the general area until the above assessments have been completed.
· In addition to coordination with DIHS and the relevant SSSA, when conducting large worksite enforcement operations ICE should provide notification to key area nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) once an operation is underway. ICE should provide the NGOs with the name and contact information of an ICE representative with knowledge of the operation. This notification should be to request that the NGOs assist ICE with identifying any humanitarian issues that are not brought to the attention of ICE.
· As in all ICE law enforcement operations, ICE should provide arrestees with adequate food and water and allow reasonable restroom access. Arrestees will be restrained when operationally necessary in accordance with ICE policy.
· All ICE law enforcement officers receive training and guidance to ensure that individuals are provided access to legal counsel, consistent with principles of due process and fundamental fairness.
· As in all ICE law enforcement operations, ICE should ensure that all personnel assigned to the operation receive detailed instructions on what steps to take if they encounter individuals with humanitarian concerns.
· In accordance with existing law and procedure, during processing ICE should provide arrestees with oral notice, and written where practical, in their first language of their right to legal counsel and communication with consular officers, along with a list of pro bono legal services in the area. As soon as practical after processing, ICE should grant arrestees an opportunity to meet or speak by phone with legal counsel and consular officers. ICE should facilitate all such communication, as well as communication with family members, by providing free and reasonable telephone service.
· As in all ICE law enforcement operations, once ICE determines that an arrestee will be removed, ICE should give the arrestee adequate notice and access (by phone at a minimum) to relatives so that s/he may make plans for dependents. If the family requires assistance from an SSSA, ICE should facilitate contact by providing the arrestee with contact information for the SSSA. ICE should provide the arrestee access via telephone and, where possible, direct visits with the agency at the detention facility.
· As appropriate, if ICE is contacted by an SSSA or an NGO and provided with new information regarding a humanitarian condition after an arrestee has been processed and detained, ICE should facilitate contact between the reporting entity and the arrestee. In compelling cases, ICE may consider the possibility of release on humanitarian grounds based on such newly obtained information.
· In furtherance of efforts to ensure that humanitarian issues are raised with ICE, the agency should staff a dedicated toll free hotline so that relatives seeking information about the location of a family member will have reliable up-to-date information. ICE should publicize the hotline information to the community.
P.S. For a N.Y. Times story about the guidelines, click here.
Randall Palmer and Lynne Olver report for Reuters:
Two Americans who deserted the U.S. Army to protest against the war in Iraq lost their bid for refugee status in Canada on Thursday, and the Canadian government made it clear they were no longer welcome.
The Supreme Court of Canada declined to hear appeals from the two men, Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey, over decisions by immigration authorities -- backed in two subsequent court rulings -- that they were not refugees in need of protection.
Opposing the war on the belief that it was illegal and immoral, the two deserted when they learned their units would be deployed to Iraq, and came to Canada.
If deported to the United States, they say they face a court martial and up to five years in prison.
During the Vietnam War, Canada was a haven for tens of thousands of draft dodgers and deserters. But Hinzman and Hughey were volunteers rather than conscripts. Click herefor the full story.
Immigration, and driver's license eligibilty, came up in the Democratic Presidential debate at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas last night. For a video and transcript to the debate, with a link to the immigration line of questions, click here.
Several things struck about the give-and-take on immigration. The use of the term "illegal aliens" or "illegal immigrants" in much of the questioning, and answers (including by Senator Barack Obama), surely stuck out. Representative Kucinich was the only candidate to object to the use of "illegal" in referring to undocumented immigrants.
Also, the opening question on immigration referred to a driver's license and charging in-state fees to resident undocumented students, as "benefits" and questioned why undocumented immigrants should be eligible for these benefits. Why isn't it a benefit for citizens, as well as immigrants, for all drivers to be subject to safety-testing and to be able to secure liability insurance? And how is it a benefit to charge in-state fees applicable to all residents of the state to undocumented residents of the state?
It was noteworthy that Senator Clinton backed down from her support for driver's license eligibility for undocumented immigrants. She joined Senators Biden and Dodd in that position. Gov. Bill Richardson emphasized that he had ensure undocumented immigrant eligibility for licenses in New Mexico. John Edwards would allow all undocumented immigrants on the path to legalization, obtain a license.
Mary O'Connell (also known as Sister Anthony) (1814-1897) was a Roman Catholic nun. Her work with the wounded during the American Civil War and health care in general caused her to be known as "the angel of the battlefield" and "the Florence Nightingale of America."
O’Connell was born in Limerick, Ireland in 1814. She immigrated to the United States, and joined the American Sisters of Charity in St. Joseph's Valley, and took the name of Sister Anthony. She was an active nurse during the Civil War, serving at Camp Dennison, and the battlefields of Winchester, Virginia, the Cumberland Gap, Tennessee, Richmond, Virginia, Nashville, Tennessee, Gallipolis, Ohio, Culpeper Court House, Virginia, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee, Lynchburg, Virginia, and Stone River, Tennessee.
In recogntion of her service during the Civil War, in 1873, two citizens of Cincinnati purchased the U.S. Marine Hospital for Sister Anthony. She also received recognition for her work in the yellow fever epidemic of 1877. Sister Anthony retired from active live in 1880, and died in 1897.
MSNBC reports that Mexican president lashes out at U.S. candidates Mexican President Felipe Calderón denounced the U.S. presidential candidates for demonizing Mexican immigrants and said the government would finance a public relations campaign aimed at reversing Americans' negative perceptions.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
I hope this finds you well and active.
I recently finished a 10 minute film based on interviews with immigrants who were arrested during the ICE Fugitive Operations Teams raids on immigrants' homes in New Haven on June 6 of this year. The people in the film describe what happend on that morning, how they were treated, and how it affected their lives. They also encourage others to know their rights should they be caught up in such operations themselves. The film is called The New Haven Raids / Las Redadas de New Haven, and is bi-lingual, with subtitles and voice over so that it is equally accessible to English and Spanish speaking viewers. www.newhavenraidsvideo.com
Thanks and best regards,
David R. Koff
Filmmaker & Writer
Susan Carroll reports in the Houston Chronicle:
U.S. immigration officials have granted the father of a U.S.-born soldier killed in Iraq a reprieve from deportation while Congress considers a private bill that would give him a green card.
Enrique Soriano, an illegal immigrant and the father of Pfc. Armando Soriano, was facing deportation from Houston until U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officials recently decided to grant him "deferred action," which will allow him to live and work legally in the U.S. for one year, said Maria Elena Garcia-Upson, a spokeswoman for USCIS.
Officials with the agency formally notified Soriano's attorney, Isaias Torres, of the reprieve by fax on Wednesday. It is effective for one year from the date of its request by the USCIS district director in Houston, meaning it will expire Sept. 10, 2008.
"It's a step forward, but it's not a long-term solution," Torres said. "At least he's not under the threat of being detained and removed anymore."
Enrique has lived with the fear that immigration agents would appear any day at his front door, decorated with a faded yellow ribbon in remembrance of his son. On Wednesday, the 47-year-old Pasadena resident said his worries have been eased.
"I can breathe a little now," Enrique said. "It gives me hope that my case is progressing."
The Soriano story has drawn widespread attention since the Houston Chronicle first reported on it in August. The family's plight highlighted the complicated issue of service members whose family members are illegal immigrants.
U.S. Rep. Gene Green, D-Houston, has introduced a private bill that would grant Enrique and Armando's younger sister, Areli, legal permanent resident status. The bill, HR 3772, remains in committee. Jesse Christopherson, spokesman for Green, said they are optimistic about the bill's chances.
A private bill provides benefits to specified individuals. Immigration is one of the most common subjects of such legislation. Rep. Louie Gohmert, a Republican in East Texas, has a private bill pending to stop the deportation of an Albanian immigrant who fears his life could be in danger if he's deported.
Armando was killed in Iraq in February 2004 when a military vehicle he was riding in rolled off a road, according to the Army's account of his death. The South Houston High School graduate was 20 years old. He was buried with military honors and awarded the Bronze Star posthumously.
After his death, the Soriano family benefited from an unofficial policy that gives the immediate relatives of service members who die in war the chance to become legal residents, even if they came to the U.S. illegally.
Armando's mother, Cleotilde, was approved for lawful permanent resident status. But Enrique's petition for a green card was denied.
In 1999, Enrique was formally deported after falsely claiming to be a U.S. citizen, but he sneaked back across the Rio Grande to rejoin his family in Houston. Immigration officials apparently didn't know he was back in the U.S. until his green card application was filed. Click herefor the full story.
From Ana Maria Patino, Esq.:
"Yesterday a coalition of Christian leaders from across the country declared “the way illegal immigrants are treated is inhumane and at clear odds with Christian values”. The group criticized the hateful language directed against immigrants in the country and throughout all levels of government stating this was contrary to Leviticus 19:18 that tells Christians to “Love thy Neighbor”. The coalition also came out against the rise of ICE raids of work and home of undocumented immigrants because they cause the fragmentation of the family in violation of another well-known Christian tenet. The coalition, Christians for Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CCIR) issued a paper focusing on these three points and citing Biblical verses where the Bible tells Christians to NOT conduct themselves in this manner. The coalition represents a number of religions ranging from Catholicism to Evangelism. (See article from the Orange County Register) CCIR’S paper states:
1. The inhumane treatment of immigrant and hateful anti-immigrant rhetoric is at odds with Leviticus 19:18 which calls for Christians to “Love Thy Neighbor;
2. The paper argues this hateful language is being “…play[ed] out on all levels of government down to the local level;
3. The recent rise in ICE “,,,raids at work and home of undocumented immigrants is un-Christian because it causes fragmentation of families.
While political candidates and other elected officials give into political pressure of people and groups taking positions based on hate, fear and discrimination, it is members of the clergy like this one who are courageous and are the true leaders of our country bringing to the attention the error of our ways. Hilary? Romney? Thompson? Tancredo? Other Presidential candidates? Are you listening?"
Here is more good news on immigration from a city in Virginia, parts of which have seen some mean-spirited anti-immigrant activism in recent months. The Washington Post reports that
"When nearby counties began trying to drive out illegal immigrants this summer, Arlington said it would treat everyone with "dignity and respect, regardless of immigration status." Other counties felt overwhelmed by immigrants, but Arlington officials said they would happily provide them with every service allowed by law. After three decades of working to make foreigners feel welcome, Arlington has good reason to pointedly reaffirm this philosophical embrace. More than one in four residents is a first- or second-generation immigrant, yet the county boasts low crime and unemployment rates. School test scores are high, and newcomers interact peaceably with fifth-generation residents. That success results in part from the county's history of attracting a gradual, diverse stream of foreigners and in part from its strong efforts to help integrate them in the community."
Kim, Jane C. Note. Nonrefoulement under the Convention Against Torture: how U.S. allowances for diplomatic assurances contravene treaty obligations and federal law. 32 Brook. J. Int'l L. 1227-1261 (2007).
Segerblom, Eva. Note. Temporary Protected Status: an immigration statute that redefines traditional notions of status and temporariness. 7 Nev. L.J. 664-684 (2007).
Soderlund, Monica. Student article. The role of news media in shaping and transforming the public perception of Mexican immigration and the laws involved. 31 Law & Psychol. Rev. 167-177 (2007).
Immigration--Practice and Policy Fall 2006 Symposium: George Mason University School of Law Civil Rights Law Journal October 18, 2006. DebiSanders and Willaim S. Consovoy, moderators; Ofelia L. Calderon, Karen T. Grisez, Steven Lang, Nancy Jane Shestack, Hon. Rachel L. Brand, Michael M. Hethmon, Juria Jones, Phil Kiko and Max Sevillia, panelists; Steven J. Law, Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of Labor, keynote address. 17 Geo. Mason U. Civ. Rts. L.J. 545-581 (2007).
Symposium: Reforming U.S. Immigration Policy. Articles by Timothy A. Canova, Anthony Ciolli, Walter A. Ewing, David C. Koelsch, Doris Meissner, Deborah W. Meyers, Demetrios G. Papademetriou, Michael Fix, Michele R. Pistone, John J. Hoeffner and Brian G. Slocum. 5 Geo. J.L. & Pub. Pol'y 341-529 (2007).
Maria Lopez is a former Massachusetts state court judge and currently a television jurist on the syndicated television show "Judge Maria Lopez."
Born in Cuba, Lopez came to the United States at age 8. In 1988, she was the first Latina appointed to the bench in Massachusetts when selected by Governor Michael Dukakis. Judge Lopez was the first Latina to be appointed to the Massachusetts Superior Court in 1993. Lopez previously (1980-87) served as an assistant attorney general in civil rights division of the office of the Massachusetts Attorney General. Before that, she was a legal services attorney.
A controversial judge in some quarters, Judge Lopez stepped down from the bench when an ethics panel recommended suspension because of her conduct in sentencing a criminal defendant.
Lopez holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government from Smith College and a Juris Doctor from Boston University. On September 11, 2006, Judge Maria Lopez debuted, a half-hour show where real life disputants come to settle a case.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
A federal jury federal on Tuesday awarded a successful political asylum seeker, who had fled tribal warfare in Somalia, $100,001 after finding that her rights were violated while in custody at a detention center operated for U.S. immigration authorities by a private contractor known as Esmor Corp.
Penny Venetis, a law professor at Rutgers School of Law-Newark and co-director of its constitutional litigation clinic, represented the plaintiff in the case.
The jury found that Esmor executives, should pay $100,000 to Somali immigrant Hawa Jama for negligent hiring and training, and $1 for violating the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Venetis claimed "corporate greed" created miserable conditions at the Esmor detention center. Guards routinely beat and cursed detainees, with Jama being called "an African monkey," Venetis said. "She was denied sanitary napkins, so she just bled all over herself once a month," Venetis said.
Huckabee Responds to Romney on Immigration: "I think Mitt Romney would rather keep people out of college so they can keep working on his lawn."
Republican Presidential Candidate Mike Huckabee responded to a swipe from Mitt Romney on immigration, which we reported earlier today. Romney in the past allegedly used a lawn service firm that employed undocumented immigrants.
"I think Mitt Romney would rather keep people out of college so they can keep working on his lawn," said Huckabee while appearing on the Fox News Channel. Huckabee's shot at Romney came when the former Arkansas governor was asked about criticism he has received from Romney for backing an unsuccessful proposal in Arkansas that would have made it easier for undocumented immigrant students to attend college.
As they say, people in glass houses should not throw stones!
Thanks to my colleague Diane Amann for this tidbit.