December 15, 2007
National Network Human Rights Report
Immigrant Rights Network Will Issue Scathing Report on Human Rights Violations in U.S. December 18, International Migrants Day
When: December 18th, 2007, International Migrants Day.
What: The National Network for Immigrant & Refugee Rights (NNIRR) Will Release A Summary Report on Human Rights Abuses Against Immigrant and Refugee Communities: "Over-Raided, Under Siege: U.S. Immigration Laws and Enforcement Destroy the Rights of Immigrants"
Why: On December 18, 2007, to commemorate International Migrants Day,the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (NNIRR) will release a summary of its first annual report on human rights abuses committed against immigrant and refugee members of our communities. Titled Over-Raided, Under Siege: U.S. Immigration Laws and Enforcement Destroy the Rights of Immigrants, the report is produced by the NNIRR’s new initiative, the Human Rights Immigrant Community Action Network (HURRICANE), analyzing over 100 stories of human rights abuses, interviews with community leaders and numerous reports and data and exposes the patterns of human rights violations perpetrated against immigrants in the U.S.
Over-Raided, Under Seige will report how the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is leading a new type of assault on the lives, rights and well-being of immigrant families, workers and communities in the U.S. The summary report will also offer recommendations to prevent further human rights violations against these communities.
International Migrants Day, December 18
The summary release of this report is timed to coincide with the commemoration and observance of the United Nations’ International Migrants Day, which honors the day in 1990 when the U.N. General Assembly passed the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families, in recognition of enormous contributions migrants make to countries around the world, and yet continue to face persecution and intolerances.
The National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights is a national alliance of local coalitions and immigrant, refugee, community, religious, civil rights and labor organizations and activists. The National Network advocates for a just immigration and refugee policy in the United States and works to defend and expand the rights of all immigrants and refugees, regardless of immigration status.
NNIRR * 310 8th Street, Suite 303, Oakland, CA 94607 * Tel (510) 465-1984; Fax (510) 465-1885; www.nnirr.org
Alberto Gonzales as Lawyer of the Year?
The ABA Journal recently sent rumblings through the legal world by naming former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales as the Lawyer of the Year. Raha Jorjani of the Immigration Law Clinic at the UC Davis School of Law thoughtfully guest blogged on this "honor" and writes, in part, on Racewire.com: The ColorLines blog:
"The editor of the ABA Journal stated in an interview: “Think about Time magazine’s Person of the Year” which he noted had recognized such figures as Hitler and Stalin. Is Mr. Adams suggesting that the American Bar Association owes no greater duty to its constituents and communities than does a popular magazine? The title “Lawyer of the Year” connotes a perception that the legal community is rewarding the conduct of that title’s recipient. As a member of the ABA, it is my expectation that the selection of Lawyer of the Year reflect, on behalf of its over 400,000 members, the Association’s commitment to maintaining the integrity of the legal profession. Sadly, the Journal’s selection reflects just the opposite. "
N.Y. Times Cited for "Worst Immigration Reporting" by VDARE
Peter Brimelow's (author of the polemic Alien Nation) VDare blog yesterday singled out the New York Times (and Nina Bernstein, in particular) for the "worst" immigration reporting of 2007. Unfortunately, VDare's definition of "good" immigration reporting is anti-immigrant reporting, not real news reporting.
December 14, 2007
Rudy Guiliani's Immigrant Grandparents
Today, we will begin of an occasional series of entries about the family immigrant histories of various presidential candidates. Here is what we found out about Rudy Guiliani from JoinRudy2008.com:
"Rudolph W. Giuliani was born in 1944 to a working class family in Brooklyn, New York. As the grandson of Italian immigrants, Rudy was taught the value of a strong work ethic and a deep respect for America’s ideal of equal opportunity." (emphasis added).
As we have previously reported, Guiliani is in a duel with Mitt Romney to be the toughest Republican presidential candidate on immigration.
December 17 International Migrants Day-Oakland
Our Community in the Streets!
Photographs by David Bacon
Celebrating International Migrants Day
and the solidarity of working people in our community
(December 7, 2007 - January 31, 2008)
Asian Resource Gallery
310 Eighth St.
Oakland, CA 94607
(Close to the 12th Street and Lake Merritt BART Stations)
Opening Reception &
International Migrants Day Celebration
At the Asian Resource Center Gallery
Monday, December 17, 2007
6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Participating organizations (partial list):
National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights
East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy
Filipinos for Affirmative Action
Service Employees Union Locals 1877 and 24/7
Association of Workers and Immigrants
Oakland Sin Fronteras
Sponsored by East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation
With support from City of Oakland Arts & Culture, Alameda Co. Arts, & East Bay Community Foundation
FOR MORE INFO: email@example.com or call Greg Morozumi @ (510) 532-9692
Immigrant of the Day: Guillermo Linares (Dominican Republic)
Dr. Guillermo Linares serves as commissioner of the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs for New York City. As commissioner, he works to ensure immigrants know how to access city services and meets with civic, religious, and business leaders to discuss the needs of immigrant communities. His advocacy on behalf of workers, immigrants, and families started 30 years ago when he was a school teacher.
Dr. Linares immigrated to the United States in 1966. He earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from City College and a professional diploma in administration and supervision from Fordham University. He achieved his doctorate in education from Teachers College at Columbia University.
In 1991, Dr. Linares made history by becoming the first Dominican-American elected to public office in the United States when he won a New York City Council race. As a member of the Council, he advocated for education, health services, and affordable housing. Dr. Linares also served in a national capacity as a member of the White House Initiative for Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans. President William J. Clinton appointed him in 1999 as chair of this initiative.
Unsuccessful Asylum Case Alleging Religious Persecution in Iran
The Ninth Circuit has decided an interesting asylum case involving alleged persecution for a conversion to Christianity in Iran. Click here to see the opinion, with Judge Berzon dissenting.
Pew Hispanic Center -- 2007 National Survey of Latinos: As Illegal Immigration Issue Heats Up, Hispanics Feel a Chill
According to a report issued by the Pew Hispanic Center, "Nearly two-thirds say the failure of Congress to enact an immigration reform bill has made life more difficult for all Latinos." According to the report, Latinos -- citizens, lawful immigrants, and undocumented immigarnst -- feel the impacts of the failure of immigration reform:
"Hispanics in the United States are feeling a range of negative effects from the increased public attention and stepped up enforcement measures that have accompanied the growing national debate over illegal immigration. Just over half of all Hispanic adults in the U.S. worry that they, a family member or a close friend could be deported, a new nationwide survey of Latinos by the Pew Hispanic Center has found. Nearly two-thirds say the failure of Congress to enact an immigration reform bill has made life more difficult for all Latinos. Smaller numbers (ranging from about one-in-eight to one-in-four) say the heightened attention to immigration issues has had a specific negative effect on them personally. These effects include more difficulty finding work or housing; less likelihood of using government services or traveling abroad; and more likelihood of being asked to produce documents to prove their immigration status. "
State Action: Challenge to Oklahoma Law Dismissed Again and New Lawsuit Challenging Arizona Law Filed
Litigation continues over state efforts to enter the immigration regulation scene.
Here is news from Oklahoma. A federal district court has again dismissed a challenge to the Oklahoma immigration statute. As previously reported here, Judge Payne dismissed the suit in October because the plaintiffs could not show that the law had damaged them before it took effect. This time, he granted the state's motion to dismiss because the plaintiffs named in the lawsuit lacked standing to challenge the law.
The Oklahoma law requires state and local agencies to verify the citizenship and immigration status of applicants for state or local benefits. It also requires public agencies and private companies to use a program to screen Social Security numbers to make sure they are real and match up with the job applicant's name.
And, from Arizona, on December 8, we reported that a federal court had dismissed a challenge to the Arizona immigration statute for failure to sue the correct defendants. Now, a coalition of civil rights groups has filed a new lawsuit claiming that the "Legal Arizona Workers Act" unlawfully requires businesses to participate in a flawed work authorization verification database, lacks due process protections, improperly threatens businesses with penalties that interferes with federal law, and would lead to discrimination against workers who are perceived as "foreign." For the ACLU press release, click here. Lawyers on the case include Jonathan Weissglass, Stephen Berzon and Rebecca Smullin of Altshuler Berzon LLP; Kristina Campbell and Cynthia Valenzuela of MALDEF; Linton Joaquin, Monica T. Guizar and Karen C. Tumlin of NILC; Daniel Pochoda of the ACLU of Arizona; Jadwat, Lucas Guttentag and Jennifer C. Chang of the ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project.
December 13, 2007
Pro Bono Training on ICE Raids
Niraj Chokshi reports in the San Francisco Recorder:
Undocumented Bay Area immigrants are receiving an early holiday gift this season: potential representation from nearly 60 attorneys from 15 firms in challenging the constitutionality of Immigration and Customs Enforcement practices.
"We felt that there was a lack of resources available for undocumented ICE raid victims," said Candice Greenberg, executive director of East Palo Alto-based Community Legal Services, which is spearheading the effort with San Francisco's Immigrant Legal Resource Center. Both organizations provide legal assistance to disadvantaged populations.
The problem, Greenberg said, is that ICE officers have been known to violate the constitutional rights of immigrants. Specifically, ICE used intimidation, threats and unlawful searches, she asserted. No attorneys have been involved in cases yet, and the intent of the project is merely to have lawyers be on-call should the need arise, Greenberg added.
"This is not about ICE's ability to enforce the law," she said. "It's about forcing ICE to adhere to the U.S. Constitution and to their own procedures."
The need for representation among undocumented immigrants is especially strong now, said Renee Glover Chantler, DLA Piper's West Coast pro bono manager and a member of the CLS board.
"With all of the political upheaval that took place starting two years ago over the question of undocumented persons and enforcement, there became a very real concern â€¦ that people would be unfairly targeted for enforcement based on impermissible criteria," she said.
The project is attractive regardless of one's views on immigration, said Michael Standlee, a Silicon Valley-based partner in DLA Piper's finance group who was one of the attorneys to receive training.
"It's not necessarily giving safe harbor to immigrants or people who are here illegally," he said. "It's just making sure that there's a check and balance for the immigration authorities who are conducting these raids."
Standlee is one of nine DLA Piper attorneys who attended a 90-minute lecture and received a 125-page packet detailing how to file and argue a motion to suppress. Attorneys who choose to continue representing their clients would receive additional mentorship from the ILRC, Greenberg said.
School Cop Helps Deport Pregnant Teen in NM
Rene Romo of the Alberquerque Journal reports:
A Roswell school resource officer has been barred from local campuses after he pulled a pregnant 18-year-old high school senior out of class and referred her to immigration authorities for deportation to Mexico.
The student was determined to be an illegal immigrant, and Roswell Police Chief John Balderston defended the officer's actions.
But the police chief said Roswell Independent School District Superintendent Michael Gottlieb requested the officer's removal from schools "because he (Gottlieb) didn't want the officer checking on the immigration status of the students."
The student's removal from the school Dec. 5 has prompted an outcry from Hispanic residents in a city where more than half of the roughly 9,000 public school students are Hispanic.
What has happened with the student since her deportation could not be determined Wednesday. A church pastor who knows the family said her mother and two siblings continue to live in Roswell, but he did not want to provide details of the family's circumstances.
Dozens of Roswell residents met with Balderston and Gottlieb last week to voice their concerns and met again Monday with Gottlieb.
Under Roswell's school district policy, school officials do not try to ascertain the legal status of students, school board member George Peterson said Wednesday. Click here for the full story.
Law Professors Research Immigration Stories
As you all know, immigration is a hot topic. Media on both sides of the United States-Mexico border have provided stories, editorials, position papers and narratives about the trials, tribulations, successes and heartbreaks of people who have entered the United States. Those stories, and their impact on the people of the United States and Mexico, have been under the legal microscope of University of New Mexico law professors Antoinette Sedillo Lopez and Gloria Valencia-Weber. last summer, the pair went to London to present their research at the Once Upon a Legal Time: Developing the Skills of Storytelling in Law Conference. Their upcoming paper, entitled "Immigration Stories and Narratives in Mexico and the United States: Framing Rhetoric and Realities," will draw upon research done since this presentation, focusing on additional stories to come out of the United States and Mexico. This project began when Professor Sedillo Lopez noticed the different tone of immigration stories during her two summers teaching at UNM’s Guanajuato Summer Law Institute in Guanajuato, Mexico. “I was listening to stories in the media during the 2006 Mexican Presidential Election,” Sedillo Lopez said. “The rhetoric used in Mexico about immigration, or more appropriately called migración (migration), was so different and I began collecting those stories.” After collecting these stories, Sedillo Lopez and Valencia-Weber began studying the use of language and mental images to provide the immigration narratives used on both sides of the border. Among their findings were stories about immigration in the United States have been inconsistent – on one hand immigrants were seen as taking jobs from Americans, but on the other hand they were doing jobs that Americans did not want to do. Another aspect of the immigration and border issues that Prof’s Sedillo Lopez and Valencia-Weber studied was the oft-missed issue of transnational tribes – those Native Americans whose land crosses the U.S.-Mexico border. One example of this was the story of Pablo Lewis of the Tohono O’odham tribe. Lewis, a former U.S. marine who served in World War II, could not prove his U.S. citizenship because he was born on Tohona O’odham land in Mexico. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security requires members of these tribes to get passports and provide additional documentation of their legal status – previously only tribal documentation was necessary. This tightening of the border has put additional stress on their lives. “We’re not talking about once-a-year trips,” Valencia-Weber said. “This impacts people going to school, visits to health facilities, to perform cultural ceremonies on sacred sites. This is everyday life for them.”
We will post the paper when we can track it down.
Iowa to Crack Down on Undocumented Immigration?
All the Presidendtial candidate talk on immigration evidently has had an impact on state politics in Iowa. The Globe Gazette reports that Iowa Gov. Chet Culver and legislative leaders announced that they will look at ways to crack down on illegal immigration by targeting employers. Top Democratic leaders rolled out the idea at a seminar for journalists at the State Capitol in January. “Anything we can do to hold anyone accountable related to illegal immigration, I support,” Culver told reporters. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, D-Des Moines, said state lawmakers will take a strong, aggressive focus on dealing with illegal immigration because federal authorities have not enforced the laws.
Immigrant of the Day: Sylvia Nasar (Germany)
Sylvia Nasar (born 17 August 1947 in Rosenheim, Germany) is an German economist and author, best known for her biography of John Forbes Nash, A Beautiful Mind.
Nasar was born in Germany to a German mother and Uzbek father. Her family immigrated to the United States in 1951 and moved to Turkey in 1960. She graduated from Antioch College, and earned a masters' degree in economics at New York University in 1976.
For four years, Nasar did research with Nobel Laureate Wassily Leontief. She is currently the Knight Chair in Business Journalism at Columbia University.
In the August 28, 2006 The New Yorker, Nasar's article "Manifold Destiny" contained the only interview with Grigori Perelman, who solved the Poincaré conjecture, but rejected the 2006 Fields Medal.
December 12, 2007
Mininutemen Founder Jim Gilchrist Endorses Mike Huckabee
At one time, Arkansas Govenor Mike Huckabee was lauded by pro-immigration folks. Then,as reported earlier in the day, the tide turned and Huck moved toward the more enforcement end of the sprectrum. AP now reports that the transformation is complete:
"The founder of the Minuteman Project, the anti-illegal immigrant group, endorsed Republican Mike Huckabee . . . At a news conference . . . , Huckabee brought out Minuteman head Jim Gilchrist, whose private group patrols the Mexican border on its own to keep out illegal immigrants. `For months now, I've been searching for a candidate to support for president of the United States,' said Gilchrist. He said he settled on Huckabee as the candidate whose plans were most likely to halt `this illegal immigrant invasion problem.'"
Another Slavery Report: Yawn?
We have reported so much on slavery lately (here and here)that we may have to give up on such reports as newsworthy. However, here is the latest from the Naples Daily News: "Members of an Immokalee [Florida] family were in federal court Friday to deny charges that they harbored and helped 15 illegal aliens stay in Immokalee on their property, including some who were kept in a box truck. During the investigation, at least one of the illegal aliens told authorities the suspects charged the men fees for what they needed, such as $5 to take a shower with a garden hose.'
DHS Accepts First Installment of Electronic Border Fence
GovernmentExcutive.com reports that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Department has conditionally accepted delivery of the first phase of a controversial electronic border fence from contractor Boeing Co., and awarded the company a $64 million contract to build the next phase. DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff accepted the delivery of the first phase of the Secure Border Initiative Network, a high-tech surveillance system consisting of radars, cameras and ground sensors connected by a wireless satellite network along a 28-mile section in southern Arizona. Before delivery, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, sent Chertoff a letter asking him to defer final payment and acceptance of Project 28 until Chertoff was satisfied it would meet the requirements in awarding the $2.5 billion contract to Boeing last year. Thompson has been concerned about Boeing's efforts to fix technical problems with the fence, including systems integration, rain-activating radars and a lag time in displaying video images from field cameras. As a result, Boeing missed the June deadline to turn the first phase of the fence over to the Border Patrol. As of last week, Thompson was not convinced Boeing had fixed the bugs or if the fence was worth the investment.
Congressional Budget Office Report: The Impact of Unauthorized Immigrants on the Budgets of State and Local Governments
A CBO report (Dec. 2007) concludes that: "Most available studies conclude that the unauthorized population pays less in state and local taxes than it costs state and local governments to provide services to that population. However, those estimates have significant limitations; they are not a suitable basis for developing an aggregate national effect across all states." For the report, click Download 12-6-Immigration.pdf.
For a nice blog entry on "Tancredoism" and the Republican candidates' race for the bottom on immigration (with links to some good stories), click here. Maybe Tommy T's gun should be aimed at his foot?
Critique of Huckabee
Frank James writes in the Baltimore Sun:
Gov. Mike Huckabee's increasingly hawkish view on immigration is drawing the ire of immigration advocates who criticize the Republican presidential candidate for going from a relatively humane position on dealing with illegal immigrants to a get-tough approach that would give the undocumented four months to exit the U.S., period.
Huckabee recently introduced his "Secure America" plan which includes a proposal that, if enacted, would require the estimated 12 million to 20 million illegal immigrants in the country to immediately register with the Customs and Immigration Enforcement agency, then give them 120 days to voluntarily leave the country. His plan suggests this approach is the only way to prevent an amnesty.
Those who failed to leave would be face deportation if arrested and would be barred from re-entering the U.S. for 10 years. The dislocation the sudden "voluntary' exit of 12 million to 20 million people would cause to communities across the U.S. isn't dealt with in Huckabee's proposal.
The position is clearly an attempt by Huckabee to accomplish two things. The mood is such in much of the nation, particularly among many Republicans who will vote in the Iowa caucuses and early primaries, to crack down on illegal immigration, and Huckabee is trying to synchronize his view with those voters.
But Huckabee is also trying to neutralize his past. As Arkansas's governor, Huckabee supported in-state college tuition for young illegal immigrants. This has left him vulnerable to attacks from his Republican opponents, particularly former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney to whom Huckabee poses the largest threat in Iowa. Click herefor the full piece.