Saturday, February 3, 2007

Immigration Raids in the UK

Police raided 15 premises across the UK on Friday night in a major operation targeting abuses of the immigration system.

Updating figures, Merseyside Police said officers arrested 70 men after executing search warrants on 10 restaurants and five other premises on Friday.

The raids were carried out shortly before 6pm at addresses in Liverpool, Greater Manchester, Cheshire, Sheffield and Kent.

Detective Superintendent Steve Moore of Merseyside Police, which led the arrests, said the developments were "the result of a lengthy investigation into abuse of the immigration system".

"We have been working closely with colleagues in partner agencies and as a result have arrested a large number of people for offences under the Immigration Act," he said.

"These offences include the facilitation of illegal immigration and other offences under the Immigration Act."

The joint agency operation, called Operation Chalice, was carried out by the Force Crime Operations Unit with officers from four other forces, United Kingdom Immigration Service and the Department of Work and Pensions. Click here.


February 3, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

IJ Firing Upheld

From Bender's Immigration Bulletin (here):

An Immigration Judge with the Department of Justice, fired by the Department for repeated use of “sexist and ethnically insensitive generalizations” and profanity, failed to persuade the federal appeals court to overturn the Merit Systems Protection Board decision that upheld his firing. (Levinsky v. Department of Justice, C.A.F.C. No. 06-3046 (non precedent), 12/8/06).

In its decision affirming the firing, the appeals court summarized the facts:

Levinsky was an Immigration Judge with the Executive Office for Immigration Review within the Department of Justice. He presided over deportation proceedings involving aliens who had been convicted of felonies in Fishkill, NY. A trial attorney who worked with Levinsky accused him of misconduct and eventually brought a discrimination complaint (sex, religion, race, and national origin by subjecting her to a hostile and discriminatory work environment) naming Levinsky as the alleged discriminating official. The usual investigations followed and resulted in a report finding that Levinsky had engaged in offensive and inappropriate communications and tagging him with subjecting the complainant to a “discriminatory hostile work environment, in violation of Title VII…”

Click here for the full story from


February 3, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, February 2, 2007

More from South Carolina: Is There Something in the Water?

It has been a bizarre news day.  There is tons of immigration news from South Carolina. Earlier today, I posted about a proposed law that, among other things, would kick undocumented children out of the public schools.  And there is more.

On Thursday, immigration agents arrested dozens of undocumented immigrants in the Charleston area.  Click here for the story.

A bill proposed in the South Carolina legislature (Immigration Compliance Act of 2008 H.B. 3148 State Legislative Website Full Text: would "require[] public employers of the state to register and participate in the federal work authorization program, contractors and subcontractors; provides that a person may not receive or services or benefits provided by the state unless a person verifies that they are lawfully present; requires the parents of a child to verify that the child is legally present."

A second South Carolina county has passed an ordinance targeting the employment of illegal immigrants. Under the Dorchester County ordinance narrowly approved Monday, the county could revoke the license of any business employing illegal immigrants. Beaufort County last month passed a similar ordinance.  Click here for the story.

As this story makes clear, immigration has become a national, not just a regional, issue.


February 2, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

New Immigration Books

Buchanan, Patrick J. State of emergency : the Third World invasion and conquest of America . 2006.

Displacement, asylum, migration : the Oxford Amnesty lectures 2004 / edited by Kate E. Tunstall. 2006

Hing, Bill Ong. Deporting our souls : values, morality, and immigration policy. 2006

Krieger, Tim. Public pensions and immigration : a public choice approach. 2005

Kurzban, Ira J Kurzban's immigration law sourcebook : a comprehensive outline and reference tool / Ira J. Kurzban. 10th ed 2006

Migration and remittances : Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union / Edited by Ali Mansoor, Bryce Qullin. 2007

Migration, culture conflict, crime, and terrorism / edited by Joshua D. Freilich and Rob T. Guerette. 2006

Rubin, Rachel and Jeffrey Melnick. Immigration and American popular culture : an introduction. 2007

Schierup, Carl-Ulrik. Migration, citizenship, and the European welfare state : a European dilemma 2006

Terrorism and the foreigner : a decade of tension around the rule of law in Europe / edited by Elspeth Guild and Anneliese Baldaccini. 2007

The new Americans : a guide to immigration since 1965 / edited by Mary C. Waters & Reed Ueda with Helen B. Marrow. 2007

Women and change at the U.S.-Mexico border : mobility, labor, and activism / Doreen J. Mattingly and Ellen R. Hansen, editors. 2006


February 2, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Charles Stimson Out

The Associated Press (here) reports that Charles "Cully" Stimson, deputy assistant secretary of defense for detainee affairs, resigned today over controversial remarks in which he criticized lawyers who represent terrorism suspects. These remarks, which were discussed previously on this blog (here, here, here) provoked numerous calls for Stimson's resignation.  Stimson reportedly said he was leaving because of the controversy over a radio interview in which he said he found it shocking that lawyers at many of the nation's top law firms represent detainees held at the U.S. military prison in Cuba.


February 2, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Decision of the Day

The "Decision of the Day blog today today (here) highlights an immigration case, Apouviepseakoda v. Gonzales, 05-3752 (7th Cir., Feb. 2, 2007). In that case, the majority (Judges Evans and Easterbrook) deny the petition to review the BIA's denial of an asylum claim based on an alleged Due Process vilation (bias of the Immigration Judge) and the finding that tehg applicant was an incredible witness. A frequent critic of the immigration judges and BIA, Judge Richard Posner dissented.  He picks apart the IJ’s decision. Among other problems was the IJ's encouragement to the petitioner to speak up:

Today passiveness and demureness is not the regiment [sic] of the day. Today aggressiveness and loudness is [sic] the regiment [sic] of the day and you can even scream at the Court. I will not take offense to that, but I want to hear your voice. So, if you force me repeatedly to ask you to raise your voice I will not be pleased. And also might indicate the posture of your case as well. If you’re really strong in your convictions you’ll express it in a strong manner. If your answers are weak the Court may believe that you’re [sic] claim is also weak so conduct yourself accordingly.

Incredulous, Judge Posner notes that "I have never before heard it suggested that truthfulness can be inferred from a witness’s decibel level."

Does this seem surprising?  It shouldn't; remember it is immigration law!


February 2, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Is One Legislator from South Carolina Trying to Start Another Civil War?

The Associated Press reports that a South Carolina lawmaker, declaring that illegal immigrants cost the state too much money, has proposed denying them access to some hospital care and shutting them out of public schools. State Rep. Mike Pitts said his proposal, quickly criticized by immigrant advocates and the state's hospitals, should be passed even if it violates federal laws. Washington, Pitts said, isn't doing "anything to attempt to solve this problem." "We have a big problem in this country," he said. "Illegals are taxing the local tax base and eating up the resources."   Click here for the story.

No, such a measure would probably not start a civil war.  Protests maybe.  But the proposal sounds somewhat similar to the nullification of federal laws endorsed by some of the states that became the Confederacy.  Recall that, before the Civil War, South Carolina passed legislation legalizing its invalidation of objectionable federal laws.


February 2, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Guest Blogger on the Al-Marri Case

Here is a guest post by by my UC Davis colleague Carlton Larson on the case:

Yesterday the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit heard arguments in a case challenging the detention of the only remaining "enemy combatant" detained in the United States. Ali Saleh Kahlah Al-Marri is a citizen of Qatar who lawfully entered the U.S. with his family on September 10, 2001 to pursue graduate studies at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. FBI agents arrested Al-Marri in December 2001, alleging that he was an Al Qaeda sleeper agent. His case proceeded in federal criminal courts until June 2003, when George Bush suddenly declared Al-Marri an "enemy combatant" and ordered his removal to military custody, where he has remained ever since.

The case raises fundamental questions about the scope of military jurisdiction over non-citizens on United States soil. The government has argued, and the lower court agreed, that Al-Marri's lack of United States citizenship gives him significantly fewer constitutional rights than a United States citizen in the same position. If this argument is accepted, the military could detain indefinitely any non-citizen on the simple assertion that the individual is a threat to the United States. Every non-citizen, regardless of entry status, could in effect be "disappeared." Such extraordinary unchecked power over the lives of individuals was denied even to the king of England; it is unfathomable that the United States Constitution would grant such power to the President of the United States.

The distinction between citizen and non-citizen with respect to military jurisdiction is also unfounded as an historical matter. In my University of Pennsylvania Law Review article "The Forgotten Constitutional Law of Treason and the Enemy Combatant Problem" (available at and at, I argue that the historic dividing line between military and civilian jurisdiction has never been citizen and non-citizen, but between those persons who owe allegiance to the United States and those who do not. Significantly, almost every non-citizen present on United States soil is deemed to owe temporary allegiance to the United States while he or she is here and can be subject to prosecution for treason. I argue that persons subject to the law of treason in civilian court cannot also be subject to military jurisdiction without undermining the Constitution's Treason Clause.

The case also has implications for the Military Commissions Act of 2006, which withdraws certain habeas corpus rights only from non-citizens. Nothing in the Constitution suggests that non-citizens present in the United States can be stripped of habeas corpus in this fashion, and the primary effect will be to ensure that the detainee is "disappeared" completely without even a whisper in court.

The Fourth Circuit may resolve this issue correctly, rather than sanction the government's assault on America's immigrants and visitors. Either way, it is quite likely that this matter will eventually be taken to the U.S. Supreme Court.


February 2, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Swift Official Complains About ICE

The head of meatpacker Swift & Co. said ICE federal officials wanted a high-profile example of an immigration crackdown when they staged massive raids on Swift plants in six states.
    President and CEO Sam Rovit said the government rejected the company's offer to help investigate alleged identity theft.  "They were looking for a marquee to show the administration it was tough on immigration," he said.
    ICE arrested 1,282 workers in the Dec. 12 raids. Of those, 246 now face state or federal identity theft charges and the rest face immigration charges. The raids were in Greeley, the privately held company's headquarters town, and in Grand Island, Neb.; Cactus, Texas; Hyrum, Utah; Marshalltown, Iowa; and Worthington, Minn.  Click here.


February 2, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Slate on the Al-Marri Case in the Fourth Circuit

Slate (here) has a fascinating article entitled "The Third Man:  The 4th Circuit does one more round on enemy combatants," by Dahlia Lithwick on the Al-Marri case.  Classified as an "enemy combatant" by the Bush administration, he has been in federal custody for more than five years, 17 months of which he served without any legal contact.  The case is currently before the Fourth Circuit.


February 2, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)


Migration Information Source (here) has released a Special Issue on Migration and Development. It offers a fresh look at a hot topic, from Mexico's experience to remittances in India to the link between temporary worker programs and development. The report also examines hometown associations, health-care workers in the United States, and migration issues in Ecuador.


February 2, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Detention, Detention, Detention in Texas

There is lots of news on the detention of immigrants in Texas.

Click here and here for news on one developing story.  Attorneys for members of a Palestinian family held for three months at immigrant detention centers in Haskell and Taylor, Texas on Thursday petitioned federal district courts to order their immediate release, saying that there is no legal basis for the government to hold them and that continued detention is unconstitutional. The lawyers filed petitions for writs of habeas corpus in Dallas on behalf of Salaheddin Ibrahim, and in Austin for his wife, Hanan, who is five months' pregnant, and four of their children. According to attorneys Joshua Bardavid and Theodore Cox of New York, the Ibrahims entered the United States legally on or about Sept. 30, 2001, with visas and temporary Jordanian-issued passports. Shortly afterward, they filed applications for asylum, alleging long histories of deaths, beatings and violence in their Palestinian villages by Israeli forces. On Jan. 15, 2003, an immigration judge denied the requests and ordered the Ibrahims deported. But Bardavid said the government never issued a letter ordering the family to report for removal. Federal immigration agents apprehended them at their Richardson home in a midnight raid Nov. 3. Bardavid said federal statutes prohibit the government from detaining someone six months after the date they were ordered removed unless it can be proved that the person is exceptionally dangerous — "and that is certainly not the case here" — or that removal is imminent.

POSTCRIPT  On Feb. 2, the BIA granted the Ibrahims a motion to repen theeproceedinsg on their asylum claim because of changed conditions on the West Bank.  For a number of links to information about the case, click here.

Dan Kowalski writes (here) about one group protesting the Ibrahims' detention -- Texans United for Families.  TUFF is "an umbrella organization made up of advocacy groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union, Grassroots Leadership Initiative, League of United Latin American Citizens, and Texas Civil Rights Project."Families

The Washington Post (here) has a story on a new detention policy in Texas.  Ringed by barbed wire, a futuristic tent city rises from the Rio Grande Valley in the remote southern tip of Texas, the largest camp in the federal detention system. About 2,000 undocumentedl immigrants, part of a record 26,500 held across the United States by federal authorities, will call the 10 giant tents home for weeks, months and perhaps years before they are removed from the United States and sent back to their home countries. The $65 million tent city, built hastily last summer between a federal prison and a county jail, marks both the success and the limits of the government's new policy of holding captured non-Mexicans until they are sent home. Previously, most such detainees were released into the United States before hearings, and a majority simply disappeared. The new policy has led to a dramatic decline in border crossings by non-Mexicans, according to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

It is well-known that, since 1996, detention has increased dramatically as a part of U.S. immigration policy.  Among others, Law Professor Margaret Taylor has written some excellent articles on detention.


February 2, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, February 1, 2007

ICE Concentrating on Local Jails

U.S. jails and prisons have become strategic chokepoints in the search for undocumented immigrants.

More federal agents are more closely watching local jails for potentially tens of thousands of immigrants subject to deportation. Federal officials also are enlisting local authorities to do background checks on people under arrest.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials say more jail checks are crucial to preventing serious crimes by undocumented immigrants. In December, for example, an undocumented immigrant with a history of arrests for assaults and drug offenses shot two Long Beach police officers before he was killed in a gun battle. Click here.


February 1, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Immigrants and Affirmative Action

At a reunion of black alumni of Harvard University in 2003, Lani Guinier set off a discussion on a sensitive subject: whether black immigrants are the beneficiaries, perhaps undeserving, of affirmative action. has a story about a study by Douglas S. Massey, Margarita Mooney and Kimberly C. Torres of Princeton University, and Camille Z. Charles of the University of Pennsylvania that looks at immigrants and affirmative action, including Asian, Latino, and Black immigrants.  Click here to see the story.  Thanks to Keith A for this news tip!

Note that the study may well be relevant to the discussion whether Barack Obama, whose father was an immigrant from Africa, is an "authentic" African American candidate for President.  For an idea of the kind of talk on this issue, see the Time article "Is Obama Black Enough?" (Feb. 1) by clicking here and "Black Like Me" by Peter Beinart in the New Republic Online (here).


February 1, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Sentencing of Border Agents

Doug Berman's Sentencing Law and Policy blog has commentary (here), with related links, about the buzz over the border agent case. CNN has a new segment about the case, entitled Border outrage, in which there are accusations that federal prosecutor Johnny Sutton has not been fully truthful about granting immunity to the Mexican drug smuggler shot by the border agents. The CNN piece also had various lawmakers suggesting that the government is covering up facts that might exonerate Agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean.

Thanks to Cappy White for the tip!

For a National Review online commentary by Andrew McCarthy that is sympathetic to the prosecution in the case, click here.


February 1, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Crime of "Driving While Illegal" Found Unconstitutional

A Louisiana judge ruled that a state statute prohibiting driving without lawful presence in the United States constitutes "an impermissible attempt to regulate immigration and conflicts with federal immigration law." The National Immigration Law Center, together with the Advancement Project, ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project, ACLU of Louisiana, Friends and Families of Louisiana's Incarcerated Children, New Orleans Worker Center for Racial Justice, and Safe Streets-Strong Communities, submitted an amicus brief explaining why the statute unlawfully infringes on the federal government's plenary power over immigration, violating the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution. The full decision can be viewed by clicking here.


February 1, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Migrant Political Membership in U.S. and Mexico

EMBEDDED CITIZENSHIPS: Contexts and Practices of Migrant Political Membership in the U.S. and Mexico

Associate Professor of Sociology, Immigration Studies, and Public Affairs Baruch College and Graduate Center, City University of New York   

Tuesday, February 6, 3:00-5:00 p.m.
Eleanor Roosevelt College Administration Building
Conference Room 115, First Floor
Reception to follow

Drawing on more than fifteen years of ethnographic research, Robert Smith will discuss how Mexican immigrants move back and forth between New York and their hometown in the state of Puebla, borrowing from and contributing to both communities as they forge new transnational identities and gender roles, new strategies of social mobility, and new brands of politics and egalitarianism.

Robert Courtney Smith is an Associate Professor of Sociology, Immigration Studies and Public Affairs at Baruch College and the Graduate Center, CUNY. He is the author of Mexican New York: Transnational Worlds of New Immigrants (University of California Press, 2006), which won the 2006 W.I.Thomas and Florian Zaniecki Prize for the best book on migration from the International Migration  Section of the American Sociological Association. He is also the author of more than 30 articles and chapters on migration, education and immigration, and state-diaspora relations. His current research project explores the school, work and social lives of children of immigrants as they enter early adulthood.  He is also working as a consultant to the U.S. Department of Justice on a Voting Rights Act case involving Latinos in New York. He is the Vice President and Co-Founder of the Mexican Educational Foundation of New York, a 501(c)(3) organization that promotes educational achievement and community development among Mexicans in the New York area.   ______________________________________________________________________________

These seminars are open to all members of the UCSD community, as well as faculty and students from other universities and the general public.  For directions to CCIS, visit our website   Parking permits can be purchased at the information booth on North Point Drive (north end of campus).  Visitors may also use metered parking spaces (max. 2 hours) in the North side parking lot.  Papers previously presented at CCIS seminars can also be downloaded from our website under “Working Papers.”  For further information, please contact Tatis Cervantes (E-mail:, Tel#: 858-822-4447).


January 31, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Travel Industry Weighs in on "War on Terror" Measures

CNN (here) reports that travel industry leaders meeting in Washington Wednesday said they want the U.S. government to stop treating tourists like terrorists, and to take steps to reverse a steep decline in overseas travel to the United States that followed the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Overseas travel to the United States has plummeted 17 percent in the past five years, travel industry officials say. And while a recent surge in travelers from Mexico and Canada has helped the industry rebound, it masks a precipitous and painful drop in travel originating in other countries. The U.S. share of international travel has dropped from 9 percent to 6 percent, the group says.


January 31, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (1)

New Law Review Immigration Scholarship

Bhargava, Shalini. Detaining due process: the need for procedural reform in "Joseph" hearings after Demore v. Kim. 31 N.Y.U. Rev. L. & Soc. Change 51-95 (2006).

Dempsey, Megan C. Note. A misplaced bright-line rule: coercive population control in China and asylum for unmarried partners. 92 Iowa L. Rev. 213-243 (2006).

Grant, Helen P. The floodgates are not going to open, but will the U.S. border? 29 Hous. J. Int'l L. 1-54 (2006).

Pettit, Katherine. Comment. Addressing the call for the elimination ofbirthright citizenship in the United States: constitutional and pragmatic reasons to keep birthright citizenship intact. 15 Tul. J. Int'l & Comp. L. 265-289 (2006).

Sage, Michael V. Note. The exploitation of legal loopholes in the name of national security: a case study on extraordinary rendition. (Arar v. Ashcroft, 414 F. Supp. 2d 250, E.D.N.Y. 2006.) 37 Cal. W. Int'l L.J. 121-142 (2006).


January 31, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

New "Particular Social Group" Decision from the BIA

The BIA today issued an interim decision in In re A-M-E & J-G-U-, 24 I&N Dec. 69 (BIA 2007).  According to the syllabus, the Board ruled as follows:

(1) Factors to be considered in determining whether a particular social group exists include whether the group’s shared characteristic gives the members the requisite social visibility to make them readily identifiable in society and whether the group can be defined with sufficient particularity to delimit its membership.

(2) The respondents failed to establish that their status as affluent Guatemalans gave them sufficient social visibility to be perceived as a group by society or that the group was defined with adequate particularity to constitute a particular social group.

Click here for the decision.


January 31, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)