Saturday, December 29, 2007

No Easy Answers on Immigration

Julia Preston writes in the NY Times:  

New immigration and the political reaction against it are nearly as old as the United States itself. Yet the immigration surge of the last decade has awakened tensions of unexpected intensity that have pervaded the presidential campaigns of both parties and stirred voter anger across the country.

In 1960, census figures show, the largest national group of immigrants was the Italians, accounting for 13 percent of the foreign-born. Today, Mexicans account for one-third of all immigrants. Spanish-speakers make up nearly half of the 37.5 million foreign-born people in the country. Young Latino immigrants have brought Spanish to states that had had little exposure to it, like Iowa and North Carolina.

In addition, never before have illegal immigrants settled here in such numbers — an estimated 12 million. Almost 70 percent of those immigrants are Spanish-speaking, coming from Mexico and Central America, according to the Migration Policy Institute, a nonpartisan research group.

Coinciding with the mood of apprehension following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the new immigration has provoked more than the traditional suspicion that foreigners are taking jobs from American workers. For many voters in the primary races, immigration has become an urgent national security concern and a challenge to the American identity.

The new immigration also sharpened the rift between the federal government and the states. Across party lines, frustrated voters accuse the Bush administration of failing to secure the southern border against intruders, of being lax on employers hiring illegal immigrants and of preaching assimilation without providing resources for local schools where Spanish-speaking students are enrolled. Click here for the rest of the story.

bh

December 29, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Federal Register Announcement on Jan. 31 Entry Requirements

**Federal Register: December 21, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 245)]
[Notices]               
[Page 72744-72745]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr21de07-99]                        

=======================================================================
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
Bureau of Customs and Border Protection
Oral Declarations No Longer Satisfactory as Evidence of Citizenship and Identity
AGENCIES: U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Department of Homeland Security.

ACTION: Notice.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: U.S., Canadian and Bermudian citizens entering the United States at land or sea ports-of-entry must establish their identity and citizenship to the satisfaction of a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officer. Under current CBP procedures, such individuals may provide any proof of identity and citizenship. While most individuals
provide documentary evidence of citizenship, such as a passport or birth certificate, individuals may, depending on the circumstances, be admitted on an oral declaration. Accordingly, CBP is amending its field guidance procedures to instruct CBP officers that citizenship ordinarily may not be established using only an oral declaration.
This Notice informs the public that, effective January 31, 2008, all travelers will be expected to present documents proving citizenship, such as a birth certificate, and government-issued documents proving identity, such as a driver's license, when entering the United States through land and sea ports of entry.

DATES: This notice is effective January 31, 2008.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Colleen Manaher, WHTI, Office of Field Operations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW., Room 5.4-D, Washington, DC 20229, telephone number (202) 344-3003.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: All travelers entering the United States are inspected by a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officer. To enter the United States in conformance with the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), U.S. citizens, Canadians and Bermudians must satisfy the CBP Officer of their identity and citizenship. See 8 CFR 235.1(b) and 235.1(f)(1).
    In accordance with current CBP operational procedures, a CBP Officer may accept documentary evidence of citizenship from U.S. citizens arriving at land or sea ports of entry from within the Western Hemisphere, such as a passport or birth certificate, or may accept an oral declaration if, depending upon the circumstances presented, such a declaration is deemed sufficient to prove citizenship. When assessing an assertion of citizenship, the CBP Officer may ask for additional
identification and proof of citizenship until the CBP Officer is satisfied that the traveler seeking entry into the United States is a U.S. citizen.
    Similarly, certain nonimmigrant aliens who are citizens of Canada and Bermuda are exempt from presenting a passport when entering the United States as nonimmigrant visitors from countries in the Western Hemisphere at land or sea ports-of-entry. 8 CFR 212.1(a)(1) and (2). Like U.S. citizens, these travelers are required to satisfy the inspecting CBP officer of their identities and citizenship at the time of their applications for admission. 8 CFR 235.1(f)(1). In accordance with current CBP operational procedures, a CBP Officer may accept documentary evidence of citizenship from Canadian and Bermudian citizens arriving from within the Western Hemisphere, such as a passport or birth certificate, or may, depending upon the circumstances presented, accept an oral declaration.
    CBP is now amending its field instructions to direct CBP Officers to no longer generally accept oral declarations as sufficient proof of citizenship and, instead, require documents that evidence identity and citizenship from U.S., Canadian, and Bermudian citizens entering the United States at land and sea ports-of-entry.  Upon implementation, these changes in procedure will reduce the potential vulnerability posed by those who might falsely purport to be U.S., Canadian or Bermudian citizens trying to enter the United States by land or sea in reliance upon a mere oral declaration. Beginning on January 31, 2008, a person claiming U.S., Canadian, or Bermudian
citizenship must establish that fact to the examining CBP Officer's satisfaction by presenting a citizenship document such as a birth certificate as well as a government-issued photo identification document. CBP retains its authority to request additional documentation when warranted and to make appropriate individual exceptions.
    The instruction for CBP Officers to no longer generally accept oral declarations alone as satisfactory evidence of citizenship is a change in DHS and CBP internal operating procedures, and therefore is exempt from notice and comment rulemaking requirements under the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. 553(b).
    On June 26, 2007, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of State (DOS) published a joint notice of proposed rulemaking to implement the final phase of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) and require persons entering the United States from Western Hemisphere countries to present a passport or other travel
document as determined by the Secretary of Homeland Security. See 72 FR 35088. In the NPRM, DHS also explained that, separate from WHTI, beginning January 31, 2008, CBP would no longer accept oral declarations alone as proof of citizenship or identity at land and sea border ports-of-entry.
    DHS received five comments in response to the NRPM discussion on the change of practice concerning oral declarations. Although, as discussed above, the amendment to CBP procedures does not require notice and comment rulemaking, DHS will address those comments in the WHTI final rule. In summary, those comments were concerned about increased traffic and resulting travel delays at land border ports-of-entry stemming from document requirements. CBP will rely on its operational experience in processing travelers entering the United States by land to ensure that these changes are implemented in a manner that will minimize delays while achieving the security benefit underlying WHTI.
    Accordingly, effective January 31, 2008, CBP Officers will no longer generally allow travelers claiming to be U.S., Canadian, or Bermudian citizens to establish citizenship by relying only on an oral declaration. Beginning on that date, all travelers, including those claiming to be U.S., Canadian, or Bermudian citizens arriving by land and sea will generally be expected to present some form of documentation to satisfy the CBP Officer of his or her identity and citizenship. For example, such documentation may include a government-issued photo identification document presented with a citizenship
document, such as a birth certificate.
    Dated: December 14, 2007.
Jayson P. Ahern, Acting Commissioner, Customs and Border Protection.
[FR Doc. E7-24691 Filed 12-20-07; 8:45 am]

bh

December 29, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, December 28, 2007

The Presidential Candidates on Immigration

Immigration Daily has an article "Presidential Candidates On Immigration Reform" by Michele Kim.  It compiles links to the various Presidential candidates' positions on immigration.

KJ

December 28, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

A Video on the Humanity of Immigrants

Click here for a thoughtful Washington Post video reminding us of the humanity of "illegal aliens", "anchor babies", and immigrants generally.

2008 hopefully will see a "kinder, gentler" dialogue and discussion of immigration.

KJ

December 28, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Bhutto Assassination

The assassination of Pakistan's former Prime Minister Benazar Bhutto will no doubt lead to  more refugee flight from Pakistan. For a report on Muslim refugees in the United States click here.

In the meantime, consider this thoughtful essay on the assassination from a former student.

A Pakistani requiem for a “daughter of destiny”

Having witnessed the ghost of Hamlet's father, Marcellus, a minor character from Shakespeare's tragedy, remarks, "Something is rotten in the State of Denmark." Sadly, observers of modern day Pakistan echo a similar sentiment.

By Wajahat Ali, December 28, 2007

An uncertain future for Pakistan

An assassin's bullets and suicide bomb ended the life of Pakistan's former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto; tragically, she followed in the footsteps of her father, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Pakistan's Prime Minister [1973–1977], who was brutally hung by political rival and subsequent military dictator General Zia al Haq nearly thirty years ago. The tragic legacy of this family elucidates the political instability and schizophrenic personality of modern-day Pakistan: a complex, volatile and multifaceted nation whose diverse features have increasingly and frequently become accentuated by violence.

Bhutto and nearly 20 civilian supporters were killed while stumping for the upcoming January Pakistan parliamentary elections in the army stronghold of Rawalpindi. As of Friday morning, Bhutto's death catalyzed widespread riots, vandalism, and civilian unrest directly resulting in 15 reported deaths. President Musharraf, who recently lifted November's State of Emergency that temporarily suspended the Constitution and implemented a "mini Martial law," officially declared 3 days of "mourning" and vowed to continue his resolve against extremists and terrorists.

Meanwhile, Nawaz Sharif, the once exiled former Prime Minister of Pakistan and potential rival to Musharraf, promised, "We will avenge [Bhutto's] death," and has boycotted the upcoming elections. World leaders and dignitaries, specifically Republican and Democratic Presidential candidates, quickly issued press releases and television interviews admonishing the assassination, pledging their vow to root out "Islamic terrorism," and supporting Musharraf and Pakistan's "move towards democracy." [Presidential candidate Huckabee had to be reminded, embarrassingly, that Pakistan was no longer under martial law – an auspicious sign of our future leaders' knowledge and understanding of foreign policy and world affairs.]

"Rage Boy"

The vast majority of Pakistani citizens, according to my friends and family who live there, lament the tragic actions of an extremist minority that continues to pollute and threaten the spirit, character, and personal safety of the nation. To the ears of "Westerners," whose only exposure to Pakistan by the US media has been a simplistic, cartoon-like depiction of angry extremism ["Rage Boy"] and enlightened "moderation" of a military dictatorship [Musharaff], this sentiment rings false and hollow. Indeed, "Rage Boy" has become the ubiquitous image of not only Pakistani politics, but also 160 million Pakistani citizens; "Rage Boy" is a bearded, irrationally angry, frothing, anti-American extremist whose occupation consists of three full time jobs: burning American flags, studying at an Islamic fundamentalist madrassas, and engaging in anti-American terrorist activities. Any proper student of history or anthropology with even a modicum of knowledge regarding Pakistan's diverse socio-cultural identity would scoff at that simplistic depiction. Sadly, nuances and complexity are not afforded media air-time amidst Pakistan's continuing and repeated, albeit isolated, acts of sensationalistic violence.

This dualistic and Manichean representation of Pakistan manifests itself with the description of the personality at the center of this recent, contagious conflagration: Bhutto. Mere hours after her assassination, Bhutto was both praised as a "shaheed"[a martyr], "a beacon for democracy," "a model of progress," "a loyal friend to democracy," and condemned as "a traitor," "a US puppet," and everything in between. When extremism, political fervor, and selfish interests marry, the resulting progeny is usually instability, uncertainty and violence; common sense, rationality, and moderation are generally aborted.

Prime Minister Bhutto

Before outlining the possible motives and culprits of this dreadful assassination, a cursory look at Bhutto and her political career should be examined. Following in the footsteps of her father's political dynasty, the Harvard and Oxford educated Bhutto became the head of the PPP [Pakistan's People Party] and was elected as the country's first female Prime Minister in 1988. In a stunning twist of fate, irony, or cunning, depending on whom you ask, she succeeded the assassinated General Zia al Haq: the same man responsible for hanging her father in 1977. Although plaudits and adulations have been heaped on the recently deceased Bhutto, her political tenure in Pakistan was marred by ineffectuality and widespread charges of corruption, which effectively ended both of her terms as Prime Minister. [It should be noted that Nawaz Sharif's first term was dismissed for corruption charges as well.]

Specifically, Bhutto was accused of stealing more than $1 billion from Pakistan's treasury, and Switzlerand convicted Bhutto of laundering nearly $11 million. Furthermore, Bhutto's husband, Asif Zardari, is affectionately known in Pakistan as "Mr. Ten Percent:" an honorable title he earnestly earned for receiving a "10%" commission from all government contracts.

Also, it is worth noting that Bhutto, who in the past few hours has been hailed as "Pakistan's last hope for democracy and reform," financially and militarily supported and strengthened Afghanistan's repressive, extremist and misogynist Taliban government that came to power in 1996. The Taliban's disastrous and archaic human rights policy, hardly democratic or progressive, was conveniently swept under the rug in lieu of pacifying the Afghan region to ensure beneficial and lucrative trade routes to Central Asia. Like a scene from King Lear or Godfather 2 - if Bhutto's own niece and political critics are to be believed - Bhutto engineered the still unsolved assassination of her estranged brother, Murtaza, in 1996 to consolidate political leadership of the PPP. Bhutto's political history, thus, is marred by several questionable controversies, rank corruption and abuse. Why, then, was she promoted by the United States as a harbinger of peace and democracy?

The fateful triangle: the US, Musharraf, and Bhutto

Reports indicate that the United States, Musharraf and Bhutto recently agreed to a brokered power sharing deal, whereby Musharraf would retain his Presidency, Bhutto would be named Prime Minster and her numerous corruption charges would bypass the courts and be "dropped" due the creation of the "National Reconciliation Ordinance." The deal was suspect from the beginning and only further deteriorated with Bhutto's return from exile to Pakistan in October: thereafter, triggering a devastating assassination attempt on her life, still unsolved, leaving nearly 140 people dead. The nail in the coffin was hammered by Musharraf, who unilaterally implemented a State of Emergency in November. Experts state his action was motivated by the Supreme Court's adverse ruling regarding his eligibility to lead Pakistan, thereby denying him a right to lead as both President and Chief of Army Staff, a title he relinquished only recently. As a result, The United State's democratic ally, Musharraf, undemocratically suspended the Constitution, ousted and jailed Supreme Court judges and lawyers critical of his policies and leadership, detained nearly 2,000 human rights activists, and silenced independent media and news stations. Although publicly reprimanding Musharraf's "questionable," or one could say "undemocratic," actions, the White House remained loyal to their dictator-of- choice, because the US has provided Pakistan with nearly $10 billion in aid as "good will currency" in its support to hunt al-Qaeda and extremists within Pakistan's borders. Specifically, President Bush said he wants democracy in Pakistan, but "at the same time, we want to continue working with [Musharraf] to fight these terrorists and extremists."

Two weeks before the State of Emergency prompted his unlawful arrest, incarceration and subsequent kidney failure, Muneer Malik, Pakistan's former President of the Supreme Court Bar Association and prominent critic of Musharraf, gave me an exclusive interview, in which he proclaimed a statement shared by many in Pakistan: "The US supports dictatorships that suit its interests. It is never interested in the masses of Pakistan. The power sharing between Benzair and Musharraf will only perpetuate military hegemony. The mindset of the politicians is that the road to Islamabad [Pakistan's capital] leads from Washington and not from the streets of Pakistan."

A grand irony results from observing this alliance: the United States wants to support democracy in Pakistan by allowing Musharraf to implement undemocratic measures and dictatorial practices to ensure Pakistan's future democracy. That is akin to endorsing an avowed pacifist who feels forced to purge his enemies through murder and violence in order to bring peace.

Precisely due to Musharraf's recent array of dictatorial and undemocratic suppressions of dissent, specifically the sacking and arrests of Supreme Court justices and attorneys, and furthermore his extreme unpopularity amongst his own people, the US hoped Bhutto would serve as an ameliorative and reliable presence for their interests. Her political presence, it was argued, could act as a counterbalance to Musharraf, thus ensuring some semblance of stability in Pakistan. Specifically, before returning to Pakistan in October, Bhutto had publicly stated she would allow the United States within Pakistan's borders to assist in hunting Al-Qaeda operatives and terror cells. Bhutto said,
"I would hope that I would be able to take Osama bin Laden myself without depending on the Americans. But if I couldn't do it, of course we [Pakistan and US] are fighting this war together and [I] would seek their co-operation in eliminating him."
Her critics questioned her sincerity and motives in potentially allowing Pakistan's sovereignty to be threatened by inviting America to strike within Pakistani soil. The critics responded by calling her America's "stooge" and "puppet": a woman willing to appease Western nations by any means to ensure her political power.

This charge and allegation of "servitude to the United States" arguably ensured her assassination, or at the very least, cemented her unpopularity amongst an extremist political segment of Pakistan. However, with the January parliamentary elections around the corner and the power sharing deal all but quashed by Musharraf, Bhutto changed her tune. In her final speech on the day of her assassination, she passionately declared, "Why should foreign troops come in? We can take care of this [referring to resurgent Al Qaeda extremists in Pakistan], I can take care of this, you [Pakistani citizens] can take care of this." Did this duplicitous, flip flop statement make Bhutto a Janus, a two headed Roman God, or was this a sincere change of conviction? Sadly, Pakistan will never know the answer.

Who holds the smoking gun?

What is known, however, is that Bhutto foreshadowed her death, or at the very least was extremely cognizant of potential attempts on her life. In October, she informed her spokesman, Mark Siegel, via email to make public the following statement if she was to be killed in Pakistan: "I [Bhutto] would hold Musharraf responsible." Bhutto's aides told CNN that she accused Musharraf of "deliberately failing to provide adequate security measures" in Rawalpindi, which included failing to provide her a four-car police escort and jamming devices against bombs. After the devastating October assassination attempt on her life, Bhutto accused Pakistan's intelligence services [ISI] in having a hand in the suicide attack on her convoy. Although it is premature to conclusively determine who masterminded the assassination attempt, Bhutto's supporters place the blame firmly on Musharraf's shoulders, whom they believe either engineered the attack or acted negligently in failing to deter it.

From one angle, Musharraf's recent actions portray a consistent pattern of unilateral power grabs by stymieing opposition and criticism. His state of emergency and declaration of temporary "martial law" serve as prime evidence of that argument. This recent tragedy has further destabilized the country prompting mass protests and vandalism thereby giving Musharraf a rationalization and excuse, according to his critics, to impose martial law yet again if he so chooses and curb the democratic process. Since the United States has no political allies in Pakistan that it feels it can remotely trust, one can argue they will be forced, out of necessity and desperation, to tacitly endorse Musharraf and promote him as an "ally against terrorism" and "hope for democracy." The West fears that the nuclear weapons and technology of Pakistan will fall in the hands of an extremist minority that will align itself with Taliban and Al-Qaeda forces, thus endangering US presence not only in the Middle East but South Asia as well. However, it is imperative to note that the extremist element of Pakistan, aka "Rage Boy," is but a despised minority that doesn't even have enough legitimacy to secure a political majority in even the most fundamentalist regions of the North Western Frontier Province and Punjab.

Yet, this miniscule fraction of the population when united with ideologically like-minded sympathizers within Pakistan's intelligence services, the ISI, could have orchestrated this latest round of violence according to Pakistani intellectuals and pundits. As of today, December 27th, no group has claimed responsibility, however many believe rogue elements of Pakistan's highly secretive and powerful ISI in association with al-Qaeda sympathizers bear scrutiny. When asked who engineered the October assassination attempt on Bhutto, Muneer Malik simply stated, "the intelligence agencies." When I asked him about the July "Red Mosque" tragedy, and specifically who armed the radical students [In July, the military raided the Red Mosque that was besieged by heavily armed radical Muslim students resulting in nearly 173 deaths], Malik replied, "It was a scam of the intelligence agencies. How could arms have been smuggled in the Masjid [Mosque] that is located less than a kilometer from the ISI headquarters?" In fact, Bhutto's husband, Asif Zardari, pointed his finger at the ISI for the October assassination attempt as well: "I blame the government for these blasts," he said. "It is the work of the intelligence agencies." Many share this belief.

A Pakistani requiem

Perhaps the identity of the real culprits may never be known; one can hope that, before the publication of this article, the conspirators are found. Regardless, in just a few hours, Benazir Bhutto will be buried next to her father in their family ancestral village on the day of juma (Friday), a holy day for Muslims. As her mourners ascribe to the rituals of the Islamic funeral procession, thousands will take turns supporting her casket on their shoulders, eventually guiding the deceased to her burial grounds. For some, they will literally carry their last vestige of hope for a democratic Pakistan. Others will carry the last of a dynamic and volatile political dynasty. Most will carry a tragic but common reminder of violence that has claimed too many of Pakistan's icons and leaders. The Namaaze-I-Janaza, the Islamic requiem as it is known in Urdu, requires Muslims attending the funeral to supplicate Allah asking His forgiveness and blessings for the recently deceased. Perhaps they can pray for Pakistan as well.

Wajahat Ali is Pakistani Muslim American who is neither a terrorist nor a saint. He is a playwright, essayist, humorist, and recent J.D. whose work, "The Domestic Crusaders," is the first major play about Muslim Pakistani Americans living in a post 9-11 America. He can be reached at wajahatmali@gmail.com

What is known, however, is that Bhutto foreshadowed her death, or at the very least was extremely cognizant of potential attempts on her life. In October, she informed her spokesman, Mark Siegel, via email to make public the following statement if she was to be killed in Pakistan: "I [Bhutto] would hold Musharraf responsible." Bhutto's aides told CNN that she accused Musharraf of "deliberately failing to provide adequate security measures" in Rawalpindi, which included failing to provide her a four-car police escort and jamming devices against bombs. After the devastating October assassination attempt on her life, Bhutto accused Pakistan's intelligence services [ISI] in having a hand in the suicide attack on her convoy. Although it is premature to conclusively determine who masterminded the assassination attempt, Bhutto's supporters place the blame firmly on Musharraf's shoulders, whom they believe either engineered the attack or acted negligently in failing to deter it.

From one angle, Musharraf's recent actions portray a consistent pattern of unilateral power grabs by stymieing opposition and criticism. His state of emergency and declaration of temporary "martial law" serve as prime evidence of that argument. This recent tragedy has further destabilized the country prompting mass protests and vandalism thereby giving Musharraf a rationalization and excuse, according to his critics, to impose martial law yet again if he so chooses and curb the democratic process. Since the United States has no political allies in Pakistan that it feels it can remotely trust, one can argue they will be forced, out of necessity and desperation, to tacitly endorse Musharraf and promote him as an "ally against terrorism" and "hope for democracy." The West fears that the nuclear weapons and technology of Pakistan will fall in the hands of an extremist minority that will align itself with Taliban and Al-Qaeda forces, thus endangering US presence not only in the Middle East but South Asia as well. However, it is imperative to note that the extremist element of Pakistan, aka "Rage Boy," is but a despised minority that doesn't even have enough legitimacy to secure a political majority in even the most fundamentalist regions of the North Western Frontier Province and Punjab.

Yet, this miniscule fraction of the population when united with ideologically like-minded sympathizers within Pakistan's intelligence services, the ISI, could have orchestrated this latest round of violence according to Pakistani intellectuals and pundits. As of today, December 27th, no group has claimed responsibility, however many believe rogue elements of Pakistan's highly secretive and powerful ISI in association with al-Qaeda sympathizers bear scrutiny. When asked who engineered the October assassination attempt on Bhutto, Muneer Malik simply stated, "the intelligence agencies." When I asked him about the July "Red Mosque" tragedy, and specifically who armed the radical students [In July, the military raided the Red Mosque that was besieged by heavily armed radical Muslim students resulting in nearly 173 deaths], Malik replied, "It was a scam of the intelligence agencies. How could arms have been smuggled in the Masjid [Mosque] that is located less than a kilometer from the ISI headquarters?" In fact, Bhutto's husband, Asif Zardari, pointed his finger at the ISI for the October assassination attempt as well: "I blame the government for these blasts," he said. "It is the work of the intelligence agencies." Many share this belief.

A Pakistani requiem

Perhaps the identity of the real culprits may never be known; one can hope that, before the publication of this article, the conspirators are found. Regardless, in just a few hours, Benazir Bhutto will be buried next to her father in their family ancestral village on the day of juma (Friday), a holy day for Muslims. As her mourners ascribe to the rituals of the Islamic funeral procession, thousands will take turns supporting her casket on their shoulders, eventually guiding the deceased to her burial grounds. For some, they will literally carry their last vestige of hope for a democratic Pakistan. Others will carry the last of a dynamic and volatile political dynasty. Most will carry a tragic but common reminder of violence that has claimed too many of Pakistan's icons and leaders. The Namaaze-I-Janaza, the Islamic requiem as it is known in Urdu, requires Muslims attending the funeral to supplicate Allah asking His forgiveness and blessings for the recently deceased. Perhaps they can pray for Pakistan as well.
--------
Wajahat Ali is Pakistani Muslim American who is neither a terrorist nor a saint. He is a playwright, essayist, humorist, and recent J.D. whose work, "The Domestic Crusaders," is the first major play about Muslim Pakistani Americans living in a post 9-11 America. He can be reached at wajahatmali@gmail.com
bh

December 28, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Top Ten Immigration Stories of 2007

Here are the top 10 immigration stories of 2007.  It has been a very "interesting" year and limiting this list to 10 was very difficult:

1.  The Failure of "Comprehensive" Immigration Reform

This summer, a group of Senators cobbled together an immigration "reform" package that had something for everybody as well as something to anger everybody.  Even supporters held their noses when it came to some of the provisions.  Well, in the end, it did not really matter.  During the summer, “comprehensive” immigration reform failed on a procedural vote in the U.S. Senate.

There are a 1001 explanations for the failure of immigration reform.  In the end, a desire for more enforcement approach carried the day.  The focus on immigration enforcement continues to be a central focus of immigration policy in the presidential campaign.  See below.  Besides the ramping up of raids and immigration enforcement generally, the U.S. continues to extend the fence along the U.S./Mexico border.  And the failure of immigration reform has deeply affected the immigration debate at the state and local level.

2.  The Proliferation of State and Local Immigration Laws

Before and after the failure of immigration reform in Congress, the nation saw a spate of state and local laws designed to address the “problem” of immigration. Arizona, Oklahoma, and other states have gotten into the act.  Arizona, for example, passed its own employer sanctions law.  Cities and counties, including Hazleton, Pennsylvania, which saw its ordinance struck down after a lengthy trial, Farmer’s Branch, Texas, and Prince William County, Virginia, passed ordinances designed to drive undocumented immigrants out of town (such as, for example, by barring landlords from renting to undocumented immigrants).  Anti-immigrant animus could be seen in the debates over many of the measures.

Despite the fact that such measures face stiff tests in the court, “they keep coming,”as they say.

3.  The Increase in Immigration Raids

This year, the Bush administration commenced a series of highly publicized workplace immigration raids, including in New Bedford, Massachusetts, at Swift meat and poultry plants across the country, and in many other states.  Many immigrants and others were deeply affected.  For example, children -- including U.S. citizen children -- returned from school in New Bedford to find their parents in immigration custody.

Bottom line -- Even with record levels of deportations, 10.5-12 million undocumented immigrants continue to live and work in the United States.

4.  Immigration as an Issue in the Presidential Race

Tancredogun1 Somewhat surprisingly, immigration emerged as a big time issue in the national race for the Presidency.  Candidates rushed to be as tough as possible on immigration in the primary states of Iowa and new Hampshire.

Tom Tancredo carried the anti-immigrant banner for the Republicans and moved the immigration debate toward the enforcement end of the spectrum.

Oddly enough, the issue of immigrant eligibility for driver’s licenses -- primarily an issue for the states -- became a campaign issue.  With few exceptions (including candidate Barack Obama), Democrats as well as Republicans ran – not walked – away from extending licenses to undocumented immigrants.

5.  The Immigration Prof Blog Exclusive Interview with Barrack Obama

160pxobamabarack In August, the ImmigrationProf Blog ran an exclusive interview on immigration with Presidential candidate Barrack Obama.  Senator Obama responded to each of our questions on immigration.  None of the other candidates took us up on our invitation for a similar interview.

6.  Lou Dobbs

Dobbs Lou Dobbs continued his anti-immigrant rants on a near-nightly basis on his CNN show during 2007 and often made the news on his own accord.  He certainly provoked much comment on to this blog!  A “60 Minutes” interview with Lesley Stahl seemed to catch him in an “exaggeration” or two.

7.  The Case of Border Patrol officers Ignacio "Nacho" Ramos and Jose Compean

The case of Border Patrol officers Ignacio "Nacho" Ramos and Jose Compean became a cause celeb among restrictionists and several members of Congress.  Lou Dobbs talked about the case regularly on his CNN show.  Ramos and Compean are serving sentences of 11 and 12 years in prison. The two Border Patrol officers were found guilty by a federal jury after a 2½-week trial on charges of assault, violation of civil rights, use of a firearm during a crime of violence, and obstruction of justice. The person shot was driving a van that was found to hold 743 pounds of marijuana.  He tried to flee on foot back to Mexico across the Rio Grande when he was shot.

8. Elvia Arrellano Deported to Mexico

In August, Elvia Arellano, an undocumented immigrant who took refuge in a Chicago church for a year to avoid being separated from her U.S.-born citizen son, was deported to Mexico. Arellano had just spoken at a rally in Los Angeles when she was arrested outside a church. Her 8-year-old son, Saul, lived with a U.S. family before moving to Mexico to be with his mother.

Arrellano became a symbol of the harsh impacts of U.S. immigration enforcement and an advocate for the fair treatment of immigrants.

9.  LA 8 Case Dropped

After 20 Years, the infamous LA 8 case, which made its way all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court, finally ended. 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).  The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) terminated the "L.A. 8" case. This came following the U.S. government’s most recent court defeat in January when Immigration Judge Einhorn terminated the proceedings, finding that the U.S. government violated of the noncitizens' constitutional, statutory, and regulatory rights. 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, who had claimed that they were targeted for their political views, have agreed not to apply for citizenship for three years, and to have several judicial orders in the case vacated as moot.

Marc Van Der Houdt, 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.

10.  ICE Chief in Hot Water After Halloween Gaffe

Julie_myers_lg With limited administrative and immigration experience, Julie Myers was a controversial choice to be Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). ICE, of course, is regularly in the news and its immigration enforcement efforts often provoke controversy.  Myers herself sparked controversy in 2007 at a Halloween party.

The Department of Homeland Security said at the time that it would investigate a Halloween costume party hosted by Myers and attended by a man dressed in a striped prison outfit, dreadlocks and darkened skin make-up, "a costume some say is offensive, the department's secretary said." Myers, host of the fundraising party, was on a three-judge panel that originally praised the prisoner costume for "originality." Myers later apologized for "a few of the costumes," calling them "inappropriate and offensive." She said she and other senior managers "deeply regret that this happened." A department photographer photographed Myers with the man, but the images were deleted after the costume were deemed offensive, ICE spokeswoman Kelly Nantel said.

Between 50 and 75 people attended the party, which was a fundraiser for the Combined Federal Campaign, a federal government collection of charities. DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff directed Myers to take an "administrative leave" while the department conducted an inquiry.

Despite the Halloween incident, Congress confirmed Myers' ICE nomination.  Myers was initially a recess appointment and later re-nominated by President Bush. After the Halloween incident, she was confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

KJ

December 28, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Immigrant of the Year (2007): Jesus Manuel Cordova (Mexico)

Our Immigrant of the Year is a previous Immigrant of the Day -- Jesus Manuel Cordova, the hero who saved a young boy in the desert whose mother died in an auto accident on Thanksgiving Day 2007.  Cordova cared for a 9-year-old boy found wandering alone after his mother died in a crash near the U.S./Mexico border in southern Arizona. The boy was looking for help after his mother crashed her van off a cliff. Unable to pull the mother out of the car, Cordova comforted the boy while they waited for help. The woman unfortunately died a short time later. "[Cordova] stayed with [the boy], told him that everything was going to be all right," the local sherriff said. As temperatures dropped, he gave him a jacket, built a bonfire and stayed with him until about 8 a.m. Friday morning, when a group of hunters passed by and called authorities.

Cordova was taken into custody by Border Patrol agents. He had been trying to walk into the U.S. when he came across the boy. Cordova was returned to Mexico.  When interviewed there, he mentioned that he watched over the boy in the desert because he was thinking about his own four children in Mexico and could not leave him alone while he completed his journey to Tucson.

Cordova was honored on December 4 by U.S. and Mexican officials at a border crossing. He stood by shyly with his mother and stepfather as officials talked about his heroism.

Even though Jesus Manuel Vordova was only an undocumented immigrant in the United States for a brief time, his actions make him our Immigrant of the Year.  I don't know about you but I would be honored to have him as a neighbor.

KJ

December 28, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, December 27, 2007

New Immigration Articles

Dewhurst, Elaine. Agencies of slavery: the exploitation of migrant workers by recruitment agencies. 13 Tex. Wesleyan L. Rev. 377-410 (2007).

English, Michael. Comment. Distinguishing true persecution from legitimate prosecution in American asylum law. 60 Okla. L. Rev. 109-190 (2007).

Immigration Reform: Balancing Enforcement and Integration. Introduction by Aziz Huq; articles by Muzaffar A. Chishti, Kris W. Kobach, David A. Martin, Rebecca Smith and Catherine Ruckelshaus. 10 N.Y.U. J. Legis. & Pub. Pol'y 445-602 (2006-2007).

KJ

December 27, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Will So. Cal Detention Turn Over to Private Company?

Anna Gorman reports in the LA Times:

More than two months after the immigration detention center on Terminal Island temporarily closed for preventive maintenance and 408 detainees were transferred to other facilities, immigration officials said they have no date set for its reopening and are still assessing the repairs necessary.

Meanwhile, immigration judges have approved the government's requests to move the vast majority of the 299 pending cases from San Pedro to other courts around the nation. The changes of venue have frustrated many immigrants and their attorneys, who said the transfers have delayed cases and affected their outcomes.

When the San Pedro Processing Center closed Oct. 22, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said the repair work -- including to a hot water boiler and a fire-suppression system -- would take at least a month.

ICE said at the time that there were no plans to close the center but that they were considering transferring control to a private company because of the high cost of upkeep. Click here for the full story.

bh

December 27, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

NY Driver's License Law Held Unconstitutional

This year has seen much controversy over the issue of the  driver's license eligibility of undocumented immigrants.  It even became an issue in the race for the Presiency of teh United States.  here is the latest on driver's licenses.  In a ruling handed down the night before Christmas (actually Dec. 20), the Honorable THOMAS F. LIOTTI, Village Justice in Nassau County, New York, dismissed charges against a noncitizen accused of driving without a license and ruled that the N.Y. driver's license law denying eligibility to undocumented immigrants was unconstitutional.  Whether or not the ruling stands on appeal, the well-crafted, clearly reasoned opinion is worth reading. Download quirogapuma_122007.pdf

KJ

December 27, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Immigrant of the Day: Albert Pujols (Dominican Republic)

Pujols_facing José Alberto Pujols Alcántara (born January 16, 1980, in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic) is the first baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals. Widely regarded as one of the best players in Major League Baseball game today, with Golden Glove and MVP awards, and a World Series victory, to his credit, Pujols and his family immigrated to the United States in the early 1990s.  They first settled in New York City and later moved to Independence, Missouri.

Pujols gained his love for baseball in the United States.  He batted over .500 in his first season of baseball at Fort Osage High School. He went on to attend Maple Woods Community College in the Kansas City area. Pujols hit a grand slam and turning an unassisted triple play in his first game. He batted .461 for the year.

Few big league teams were interested in Pujols. The St. Louis Cardinals drafted Pujols in the 13th round of the 1999 draft, the 402nd overall pick. In 1999, Pujols played for the Peoria Chiefs of the single-A Midwest League and he was voted league MVP. Pujols quickly progressed through the ranks of the St. Louis farm clubs, first at the Potomac Cannons in the high-A Carolina League and then with the Memphis Redbirds in the Class AAA Pacific Coast League. In just seven games with the Redbirds in 2000, Pujols batted .367 with two home runs.

Pujols is a naturalized U.S. citizen.

For the Albert Pujols fansite, click here.

KJ

December 27, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Huckabee Scrutinized by the Right

Fox News and the Washington Times are looking closely at Mike Huckabee's 2005 gubernatorial order for state police to cooperate with DHS.

Mike Huckabee’s immigration record in Arkansas is undergoing deeper scrutiny, with some opponents raising questions over whether he followed through on a policy decision he’s touting on the campaign trail.

Huckabee, the former governor, signed a bill in 2005 ordering his state police agency to begin working with the Department of Homeland Security to find ways for the state police to arrest illegal immigrants and enforce federal immigration law — a job generally left to federal agencies.

But apparently no follow-through on the law came, a former Arkansas assemblyman told The Washington Times in a story published Wednesday.

“Under Governor Huckabee’s administration, there was never even any effort to begin negotiating with Homeland Security,” said former state Rep. Jeremy Hutchinson, the sponsor of the bill Huckabee signed. Hutchinson is now supporting Huckabee rival Fred Thompson in the Republican primary races.

The Fox story is here.
bh

December 26, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Immigrant of the Day: Alanis Nadine Morissette (Canada)

Morissette Alanis Nadine Morissette (born in Ottawa, Canada, June 1, 1974) is a dual U.S./Canadian citizen and singer-songwriter. She has won seven Grammy Awards, and has sold more than sixty million albums worldwide.  For a video of one one of her songs (Precious Illusions), click here.

Morissette began her career in Canada. Her international debut album was the rock-influenced "Jagged Little Pill," which became the best-selling debut album by a female artist in the U.S., and the biggest selling debut album worldwide in music history. She is one of the top 20 best selling female artists in music and is the best selling female rock artist ever.

Morissette was born in Ottawa, Ontario.  In 2005, she became a U.S. citizen but maintains her Canadian citizenship as well.  The singer was among some 4,500 people who took the citizenship oath during a ceremony at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Morissette has said:  “I consider myself a Canadian-American."

KJ

December 26, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

About Face on Immigration by Chris Simcox?

Five years ago, Chris Simcox began his rise from an obscure newspaper publisher in Tombstone, Arizona -- yes, there really is a town called Tombstone -- to a national figure in the debate over migration across the U.S.-Mexican border.  He called for citizens to bear arms and patrol the border, which eventually led to the creation of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps.  Now, the Arizona Daily Star reports that Simcox is being criticized by his former restrictionist allies for some more generous -- most immigration law scholars would characterize some of them as mainstream -- statements on the issue of immigration.  "The children of illegal immigrants who are born in this country are citizens. Period," Simcox said. "It's crazy to think we shouldn't educate them. They want to go door-to-door and remove every person in this country that's here illegally. And I just think that's not a logical plan in how to address the situation."

KJ

December 26, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

John McCain Not Born in the Real United States!

Mccain_left_1 We have been doing an occasional series on the immigration histories of the various presidential candidates.  And we have uncovered some troubling news -- that explains a lot -- about one candidate who has been accused of being soft on immigration.

Senator and Presidential Candidate John McCain was born on August 29, 1936 in Panama at the Coco Solo Air Base in the then American-controlled Panama Canal Zone to Admiral John S. "Jack" McCain, Jr. and Roberta (Wright) McCain.

Although McCain was not born within a state of the United States, his U.S. citizenship (and future eligibility to be elected President) as a technical legal matter was assured at birth both by jus sanguinis, since both of his parents were U.S. citizens, and jus soli, as the Canal Zone was at that time a United States possession.

Besides being born outside the 50 states, McCain has immigrant ancestors!!!!!  The McCain family origins are Scotch-Irish. His great-aunt was a descendant of Robert the Bruce, an early Scottish king. John Young, an early McCain ancestor, served on Gen. George Washington's staff.  After the family moved to Mississippi, a number of McCain's ancestors fought in the Civil War on the side of the Confederacy. Source (for this paragraph):  Arizona Republic.

We will let you know if these immigration relevations will compel John McCain to withdraw from the Presidential race.  But do not hold your breath.  :)

KJ

December 26, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Family Reunited on Christmas Day

IMMIGRANT LEGAL RESOURCE CENTER

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: CONTACTS:

                        For info on access to Tanya the mother    Tanya Cruz:   415 670 0451

                        For legal background on the case:  family’s attorney: Jason Marachi:  415 566-3526; jmarachi@aol.com  or Mark Silverman (415) 305-8217 from the ILRC

FAMILY TO BE REUNITED ON CHRISTMAS DAY – HUSBAND WHO HAD TO LEAVE FOR MEXICO BEFORE HIS FIRST CHILD WAS BORN TO RETURN AND JOIN HIS WIFE AND SEE HIS CHILD FOR THE FIRST TIME.

Broken immigration system forced young huHANKS.sband to leave the country weeks before his wife gives birth to their United States citizen child

When: December 25th at 9:30 p.m. at the arrival area for Continental Airlines flight #361, where …

What: his wife, and family will be waiting for Juan in the arrival area.

Summary:    Juan Cruz was forced to leave for Mexico with “voluntary departure”  on about August 11, 2007 leaving his U.S. citizen wife here.

                In September,  Tanya gave birth to their first son while Juan was forced to remain in Mexico.

   In December, the US Consulate in Ciudad Juarez  approved Juan’s permanent residence visa (green card)

ON CHRISTMAS DAY, DECEMBER 25, AT 9:30 PM JUAN WILL BE ARRIVING AT SFO (San Francisco International Airport) WHERE HIS FAMILY WILL MEET HIM.

December 25th will be an especially joyful Christmas Day fpr Tanya and her husband, Juan..  It will be the first time Juan sees his recently born child. Unfortunately, Tanya and Juan were not be together for this birth –  separated, each in a different country, divided by a broken immigration system that allows families like this one to be torn apart.   On December 25th at 9:30 p.m. at the arrival area for Continental Airlines flight #361, Tanya , and family will be waiting for Juan in the arrival area. Juan will be flying back from Mexico where the U.S. Consulate approved his green card earlier this month.  Press can reach Tanya Cruz between now and the 25th, and while the family is at the airport.

Although Tanya is a U.S. citizen, Juan is not. He was brought to the United States from Mexico by his parents when he was four years old. The couple applied to obtain permission for Juan to immigrate legally as the spouse of a U.S. citizen. However, Juan’s parents had previously filed an application for themselves and Juan based on bad legal advice from an attorney who has since resigned from the State Bar. When all the appeals failed, Juan and his parents were given until August 13 to voluntarily leave the country. Juan left the United States on August 11 by plane to Mexico, just about one month before his wife will give birth to their child.  During his baby’s first months of life, Juan was be in Mexico, waiting to get an interview at the U.S. Consulate in Ciudad Juarez so that he could return to the U.S. The family has been told that the process can take longer than six months. 

This terrible example of the flaws in our immigration system prompted Tanya Cruz, el Comité de Padres Unidos, the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, and other supporters of this young family to bring this issue to the attention of the public. These supporters also requested that the immigration and consular authorities hold Juan’s interview as soon as possible.

bh

December 25, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Lou Dobbs Makes "Fibs of 2007" List

Michael Dobbs of Fact Checker lists this doozy -- which was the subject of a number of stories on this blog -- among the "Best of the Rest" "Fibs of 2007":

"If we reported it, it's a fact."

--  Lou Dobbs of CNN, interviewed by CBS's 60 Minutes, May 6, standing by a false claim that there had been 7,000 new cases of leprosy in the United States between 2002 and 2004, as a result of illegal immigration. His source: "medical expert" Madeleine Cosman.

KJ

December 25, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Another Sad Christmas Story

For a sad story of families divided by deportations, click here.  I wish that I could say that there was a happy ending.

KJ

December 25, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The Illusion of Workplace Enforcement

This year saw the Bush administration make many statements about aggressive workplace enforcement of the immigration laws, along with much-publicized raids in New Bedford, Mass. and other cities across the country.  As we on this blog have stated repeatedly, even after the largest of the raids, roughly 12 million undocumented immigrants remain in the United States.  The Washington Post today reports that "[i]n its announced clampdown on companies that hire illegal workers, the federal government has arrested nearly four times as many people in the past year as it did two years ago, but only a tiny fraction of those arrests involved criminal charges against those who hired the workers, according to a year-end tally prepared by the Department of Homeland Security. Fewer than 100 owners, supervisors or hiring officials were arrested in fiscal 2007, compared with nearly 4,900 arrests that involved illegal workers, providers of fake documents and others, the figures show. Immigration experts say the data illustrate the Bush administration's limited success at delivering on its rhetoric about stopping illegal hiring by corporate employers."  Click here for the data.

KJ

December 25, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (1)

Race for '08: Latino influx the talk of Iowa

Immigration has been a hot issue in the Iowa Presidential campaigning.  Why?  One reason is that changing demographics -- particularly the rising Latina/o population -- seen in the Midwest and South, not previously home to many Latina/os.  A Sacramento Bee story analyzes the issue in Iowa:  "Since 1990, the number of Latinos in Iowa has increased from 32,647, which was then 1.2 percent of the state's population, to 112,987, or 3.8 percent of the current population of 2.9 million. Some demographers expect the number to triple again in just over 20 years, increasing to 335,000 by 2030. The trend has pushed illegal immigration into the forefront of presidential politics – at least among Republicans – as Iowa prepares for its first-in-the-nation caucuses on Jan. 3. The topic reverberates through town hall meetings and Republican debates, with candidates scrambling to outdo one another in getting tough on illegal immigrants as they compete for fed-up voters who constitute a broad and vocal chunk of the GOP political base." (emphasis added).  Other states, such as Arkansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia have seen similar increases in the latina/o population in the last two decasdes.

Note the interesting "missing link" in the story.  Latina/os have increased as a percentage of the Iowa population.  Thus, increasing concern among the public with "illegal immigration."  But not all -- and far less than a majority of -- Latina/os are undocumented.  (According to the Pew Hispanic Center, about one-quarter of Hispanic adults are undocumented.)   The story again leaves one to wonder whether all the concern with immigration really is a concern with increasing numbers of latina/os in the United States.

KJ

December 25, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)