March 8, 2008
CNN Headline: "Bush vetoes bill banning waterboarding"
What is this nation coming to? No further comment.
Slave Revolt in Mississippi in 2008, not 1858!
Because it is so common that it is not really newsworthy, I have stopped reporting on instances of te alleged enslavement of immigrants. But this story from ABC News is different: "Rebelling against alleged 'slave treatment,' some 100 workers recruited from India staged a dramatic protest at a Mississippi shipyard Thursday, claiming they had been tricked into coming to the United States. The workers, brought from India to work as welders and pipe-fitters at Signal International shipyard in Pascagoula, hurled their hard hats at company gates and demanded a federal investigation. The workers claim they were defrauded by a Signal International recruiter in India who promised them green cards and permanent residency in the U.S. in exchange for a $20,000 fee. The workers allege that they instead received 10-month work visas, which was only enough time for them to pay off their recruitment fees."
POSTSCRIPT For a NPR story about a suit brought be the workers against Signal, click here.
Chen on Border Fences
Louisville Dean Jim Chen has a nice take on the border fence. He finds our recent fence extension as inconsistent with the spirit of John F. Kennedy's June 26, 1963, Ich bin ein Berliner speech, which in his view "remains a classic expression of American determination to engage the world on the best and most optimistic of terms." Click here to read it. WARNING: Basic knowledge of Spanish helps to understand fully this entry.
Borjas on Immigration
Harvard economist George Borjas, who has written extensively on the negative impacts of unskilled immigrant workers on the United States, has a blog on "immigration, labor markets, and random stuff." For Borjas's positive take on on the state immigration laws, click here.
Border Fence Construction--Hold Your Horses Chertoff
In its efforts to construct more border fencing along the U.S. - Mexico border, a federal judge in Brownsville, Texas, has reminded the DHS that proper procedures have to be followed. Here's a press release on a ruling that was issued yesterday.
COURT RULES SECRETARY CHERTOFF VIOLATING THE LAW IN BUILDING BORDER WALL
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 7, 2007:
In a 32-page decision issued today, a federal judge in Brownsville ruled that Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff violated federal law in his rush to build several hundred miles of border fencing in Southern Texas.
In a lawsuit filed by Secretary Chertoff in January against Dr. Eloisa Tamez, the Department of Homeland Security requested an expedited court order condemning Dr. Tamez’s land so it could immediately commence a survey for the planned border fence. Dr. Tamez is an indigenous land-grant property owner in South Texas who refused to voluntarily give the U.S. Government a six month right to enter her land to survey for the border wall,
About twenty cases filed by Secretary Chertoff to condemn land along the border have been consolidated before federal judge Andrew Hanen in Brownsville, Texas, and delayed pending the outcome of Dr. Tamez’s case.
In response to the government’s suit, the court held a lengthy hearing on February 7 at which Dr. Tamez’s lawyers with the Los Angeles-based Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law argued that Secretary Chertoff had violated federal law by failing to negotiate with Dr. Tamez to arrive at a “fixed price” for the six month access it sought before suing to condemn the land to allow the survey to proceed.
In the decision issued today, judge Hanen ruled that “Dr. Tamez correctly asserts that negotiations are a prerequisite to the exercise of the power of eminent domain” under federal law. The court further concluded that Secretary Chertoff had presented “insufficient evidence ... as to whether there has been bona fide efforts to negotiate with Dr. Tamez.” As it has done for over a month now, the court refused to sign an expedited order condemning Dr. Tamez’s land so that the Department of Homeland Security can start a survey for its planned border wall.
The court also decided that a clause in the 2008 Appropriations Act for the Department of Homeland Security enacted in December 2007 that requires the Secretary of Homeland Security to consult with property owners to minimize the adverse impacts of any border activity is not a defense to the temporary access the Department seeks to conduct a survey, “but that it still may be a defense to later activity by the Government” when it seeks to enter her property: “Given the mandatory language of the consultation clause, that ‘the Secretary of Homeland Security shall consult . . .,’ this Court may find it proper to require compliance with the consultation clause, when appropriate, as a condition prior to entry onto the property after the taking has been completed ... Dr. Tamez’s objections concerning the failure of the Government to abide by the consultation clause are denied without prejudice to her ability to reassert those objections at a later point in time” if the Government actually seeks to enter her property.
The court rejected Dr. Tamez’s argument that if she and the Department of Homeland Security are unable after negotiations to agree on a fixed price for the right of temporary access to her land, that the government may only proceed to condemn her land under a federal law that grants her a right to a jury trial. The decision states that if the parties are unable to negotiate a fixed price for the interest the Government seeks in Dr. Tamez’s land, then the Department of Homeland Security may seek to condemn the land under an expedited procedure known as the Declaration of Taking Act.
The court ordered the Government agents “to either partake in negotiations and/or provide this Court with any relevant evidence they may have concerning the existence of bona fide efforts to negotiate” by March 21.
In a statement issued through her lawyers, Dr. Tamez stated: “The court’s order issued today vindicates my position that Secretary Chertoff has proceeded to seize my land and the land of other property owners in violation of federal law. On the other hand I am disappointed that the court ruled that Secretary Chertoff may use the expedited condemnation procedures after he negotiates with property owners to arrive at a fixed price for the use he seeks of our property. I am also pleased that the court appears to agree that property owners have the right to be consulted before Government agents actually enter our land. Under federal law the consultation we will insist upon must seek to minimize the adverse impact of any entry onto our lands on the environment and our cultural and economic rights. I intend to continue fighting this case to insure that Secretary Chertoff does not violate the law while rushing forward to build an ill-conceived border fence that will in many ways destroy border communities.”
Peter Schey, President of the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law, and Dr. Tamez’s lead counsel, responded to the ruling: “We will carefully study this decision to see how it may be used by other border property owners to protect their rights to the fullest extent permitted by law. Like border property owners, Secretary Chertoff is also bound by applicable laws and may not run roughshod over property owners’ rights in his rush to complete an ill-conceived border wall. The proposed border wall will do little to stop undocumented migration but it will significantly increase deaths and injuries by diverting migrants to more dangerous border crossings. Regardless of how ill-advised the proposed border wall is, it certainly may not be built on a foundation of illegal and lawless conduct by the Department of Homeland Security. We welcome the court-ordered negotiations with the Government to explore a fair price for the property access that Secretary Chertoff seeks in Dr. Tamez’s land. Once those discussions are concluded, we will demand that consultation take place with Dr. Tamez before any federal agents enter her land. By law these consultations must be aimed at minimizing any adverse impact of entry onto her land on the environment and on her economic and cultural rights. We will certainly also seek the same protections for all similarly situated property owners along the US-Mexico border.”
Arnoldo Garcia, Senior Policy Associate with the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights that has been supporting Dr. Tamez’s lawsuit said: “It is time for Congress to reconsider building a Berlin-type militarized wall along the US-Mexico border. The more the border area is militarized and criminalized, the more migrants die trying to come to the US in search of little more than a better life and the ability to join or support their families. This country urgently needs rational and humane immigration reform, not walls that kill people. When Congress musters the courage to enact immigration reform, the need for a border wall will all but disappear. What good does it do to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on a border wall when half the undocumented immigrants enter the United States with non-immigrant visas, not through the US-Mexico border. Virtually all migration experts agree that we need to promptly legalize the undocumented population, issue a sufficient number of visas in the future to meet the known demand, and invest in sustainable development in the major sending communities abroad, not turn the United States into a fort surrounded by another Berlin wall.”
The court’s Order is available at http://www.nnirr.org/resources/docs/EloisaTamezCase3-7-08-Order.pdf
Peter Schey, Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law, lead attorney for Dr. Tamez 323 251-3223
Arnoldo Garcia, National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, 510 928-0685
Margo Tamez, daughter of Dr. Eloisa Tamez, Co-Founder, Lipan Apache (El Calaboz) Women Community Defense 509-595-4445
March 7, 2008
$37 Million Human Rights Award
The relationship between human rights abuse and refugee issues is clear. Congratulations to the Center for Justice and Accountability for this amazing award.
Dear Friends of CJA,
We are very pleased to report, that earlier this week, a federal judge in Miami ordered former Peruvian Major Telmo Hurtado Hurtado to pay $37 million in damages to plaintiffs Teófila Ochoa Lizarbe and Cirila Pulido Baldeón and the estates of their family members who were killed in the Accomarca Massacre of 1985 in Peru. This is the first time that anyone has been held to account for atrocities committed in connection with the Accomarca Massacre.
A trial on damages was held in Miami in February where Judge Adalberto Jordan heard emotional and courageous testimony from our clients. Our clients were both twelve at the time of the massacre and survived by hiding. They testified about their harrowing experiences when Major Hurtado and his troops murdered 69 civilians in the remote mountain village of Accomarca, including Ms. Ochoa Lizarbe's mother, four brothers and a sister, and Ms. Pulido Baldeón's mother and infant brother.
In awarding punitive damages, the judge said, "Mr. Hurtado said he was following orders to capture and destroy the enemy, and justified the killing of children and infants by explaining that the young would be indoctrinated by the Sendero Luminoso [the Shining Path]." The judge also found it significant that "Mr. Hurtado expressed no remorse for his actions."
This decision is a very significant victory for survivors of the massacre and in the movement for justice and accountability for abuses committed by the military against the civilian population in Peru during the 1980's.
Once again, please join me in congratulating our courageous clients, expert witnesses former Peruvian Senator Javier Diez Canseco and Eduardo Gonzalez of the International Center for Transitional Justice, Ana Deutsch of the Program for Victims of Torture, and all the others who came together to make this case a success.
The $37 million damages award has received widespread coverage in the U.S. and Spanish language print media and on the internet. Below please find a copy of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel article that appeared in yesterday's paper. For more information on the case, please see the press release in English and Spanish or visit our website, www.cja.org.
All the best,
P.S.: CJA relies on contributions from individuals like you to continue our work. Thanks to the generosity of the JEHT Foundation, each new dollar donated to CJA will be matched. Please consider making a donation today. http://www.cja.org/donate/donate.shtml
Santa Cruz Mayor: March is "Lou Dobbs-Free Month"
As suggested by our frequent reports, sweet Lou Dobbs makes more news than he reports. We have inspiring news about Dobbs from the West/Left Coast! The Santa Cruz Sentinel reports that the mayor of Santa Cruz, California, a beachfront hamlet new Monterey, is asking city residents to turn off "Lou Dobbs Tonight." The boycott, announced Wednesday in a proclamation written by Mayor Ryan Coonerty that declares March a "Lou Dobbs-free month," is retaliation for the CNN anchor's criticism of Rep. Sam Farr, D-Carmel, after the congressman told an Immigration and Customs Enforcement official last week that his constituents view the agency as similar to the Gestapo.
Our response: why not a Lou Dobbs-Free 2008?
Voting Rights Lawsuit Challenges Naturalization Delays
We have written often about naturalization delays. Now, the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund (see the press release) filed suit on Thursday charging that the U.S. government has failed to timely grant citizenship. Because of a backlog on processing naturalization applications, more than 1 million applicants, mostly Latinos, have had citizenship withheld and with it, the ability to vote and fully participate in determining the future of the country.
Resource for FAQs on Immigrants and Immigration
Here is an absolutely great source of information on immigrants and immigration to the United States:
Introducing Immigration OnPoint
Facts at Your Fingertips for Frequently Asked Immigration Questions
The Immigration Policy Center (IPC) is pleased to introduce Immigration OnPoint www.immigrationpolicy.org/onpoint, an online compilation of fact sheets that provide quick answers to commonly asked questions about immigrants and immigration. Immigration is notoriously complex, and the current immigration debate is filled with misconceptions and misinformation, making reasoned decision-making difficult. OnPoint documents aim to confront myths and provide timely and accurate information on a range of immigration-related topics. While coordinated by IPC, many different organizations have contributed their time and expertise to create these documents. We urge you to check the website frequently as Immigration OnPoint materials will be updated and added on a regular basis.
OnPoint subject areas include:
Immigrants and the U.S. Economy -- What is the impact of immigration on the U.S. economy? This section includes information on immigrants and public benefits usage, tax payments, the U.S. labor market, and more.
Coming to the U.S. through Legal Channels -- How does the U.S. immigration system operate? What options are available to immigrants looking to come to the U.S. legally? Are immigrants choosing to remain here illegally? This section seeks to demystify U.S. immigration law and policy.
Immigrants in our Communities -- Who are today's immigrants? How do they impact the communities we live in? This section addresses immigrant integration, examines foreign-born crime rates, and a host of other issues.
Federal, State, and Local Policy Debates -- What is the federal government doing to address immigration issues? How are state and local governments responding to their specific immigration challenges? This section includes information on legislation being considered in Congress, as well as in state and local legislatures.
Facts on the Restrictionists -- This section includes information on restrictionist groups and anti-immigrant activities. It also contains information about discrimination and hate crimes targeting immigrant communities.
Faith-Based Perspectives -- How do different faith communities view immigration? How can we respond to immigration debates from a faith-based perspective? This section provides materials and perspectives from the faith community on immigration and related topics.
Politics and the Immigration Debate -- How is the immigration debate affecting politics and the elections? This section includes information on the immigrant vote, elections, and the public's view on the immigration debate.
This Week's Highlights:
Why Don't They Just Get In Line? (Immigration Policy Center - March 2008) - Dispels the myth that undocumented immigrants want to be undocumented, and explains why it is nearly impossible for them to simply get in a line to come legally to the U.S.
Immigration as a Wedge Issue: Little Payoff; Big Opportunity Cost (National Immigration Forum - March 2008) This document addresses how the issue of immigration is being addressed by candidates, and what impact it has had on elections.
Basic Pilot / E-Verify: Not a Magic Bullet (National Immigration Law Center - January 2008) Background on the Basic Pilot/E-Verify program and its weaknesses.
IPC wishes to thank the many different organizations that have contributed to Immigration OnPoint. For more information on OnPoint, contact Michele Waslin at firstname.lastname@example.org or Kate Voigt at email@example.com.
IPC is a division of the American Immigration Law Foundation. Visit our website at www.immigrationpolicy.org.
Immigrant of the Day: Allan Pinkerton (Scotland)
Pinkerton was born in Glasgow, Scotland. A cooper by trade, he immigrated to the United States in 1842, at the age of 23. In 1849 Pinkerton was appointed as the first detective in Chicago. In the 1850s, he partnered with Chicago attorney Edward Rucker to form the North-Western Police Agency, later known as the Pinkerton National Detective Agency. As the United States expanded in territory, rail transportation increased. Pinkerton's agency solved a series of train robberies during the 1850s.
After Pinkerton's death, the agency continued to operate and soon became a major force against the labor movement in the United States and Canada. Many labor sympathizers accused the Pinkertons of inciting riots in order to discredit unions and justify police crackdowns.
Pinkerton was so famous that for decades after his death, his surname was a slang term for a private eye.
Pinkerton produced numerous popular detective books, ostensibly based on his own exploits and those of his agents.
March 6, 2008
Health Issues Among Mexican Immigrants
Here's an interesting looking presentation on health issues among Mexican immigrants in the United States at a UC San Diego event:
Socioeconomic Status Gradients among Mexicans in the U.S. and in Mexico: A New Twist to the Hispanic Paradox on Health Outcomes
Board of Trustees Professor in Sociology; Faculty Fellow, Institute for Policy Research, Northwestern University
Wednesday, March 12, 3:30 PM
Institute of the Americas Complex
Deutz Conference Room
Reception to follow
Dr. Alberto Palloni received his Ph.D in Sociology from the University of Washington. He is currently the Board of Trustees Professor in Sociology and is a Faculty Fellow at the Institute for Policy Research, Northwestern University. He is co-principal investigator of two large research projects collecting information on elderly persons in Mexico (MHAS) and Puerto Rico (PREHCO). He has been a Guggenheim Fellow and a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences in Stanford, California. His current research interests investigate the relationship between early health status and social stratification and inequality and poverty in the United States, determinants of health and mortality disparities among ethnic groups in the United States, families and households in Africa and Latin America, aging and mortality in Latin America and the Caribbean, and the application of mathematical and statistical models to the study of health and mortality determinants, fertility, social stratification, and the spread of isease, in particular for HIV/AIDS.
There is no cost of admission. Event is open to the public. For driving directions, please visit the Center’s website at http://www.usmex.ucsd.edu. For additional information, call Mr. Greg Mallinger at (858)822-1696 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Center for Comparative Immigration Studies
9500 Gilman Drive
University of California, San Diego
La Jolla, CA 92093-0548
Immigration to Re-Emerge as an Issue in the Presidential Race?
As they say, rust never sleeps. Politico.com has a nice summary of the immigration proposals being considered by Congress. On Wednesday, a group of Republican senators introduced a package of bills on immigration that represents harsher immigration enforcement but not anything representing a comprehensive approach to reform. Among other things, the bill would require jail time for undocumented immigrants caught crossing the border, make it harder for them to open bank accounts, and compel them to communicate in English when dealing with federal agencies. (For a story on the proposal, click here.). Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), one of the original supporters of comprehensive immigration reform last year, challenged Senator John McCain (R-AZ), the presumptive Republican presidential nominee who in the past has worked on comprehensive immigration reform, to reject this punitive approach.
POSTSCRIPT For a list of some of the most recently introduced enforcement-only bills, click Download deportation_only_bills.rtf
No Surprises: "Securing the Border" is Easier Said Than Done
The Washington Post today looks critically at the efforts of the Department of Homeland Security to "secure the border."
No real surprises here; the only surprise to me is that so many of our political leaders thought it would be easy to close the borders through, for example, building a fence.
New Bedford--One Year Later
A year ago, ICE raids in New Bedford, Massachusetts, shocked the town and its residents. It has become emblematic of harsh enforcement policies and their effects on families. According to the Urban Institute, New Bedford is a major seaport with an old industrial base and high unemployment in recent years due in part to manufacturing job losses. The longer-term immigrant community is of Portuguese and Portuguese-colonial descent, but more recently large numbers of Central American immigrants have moved into the area. El Salvador and Guatemala are the largest countries of origin for the workers of the raided plant; many Guatemalans are Maya Kiche who have difficulty speaking and understanding both English and Spanish. Michael Bianco, Inc., the raided plant, was one of the 15 largest employers in New Bedford. It is a textile operation and was making backpacks for the military at the time of the raid. Wages are low ($7 to $9 per hour). Few immigrants can afford their own houses. Most live in crowded apartment settings.
Maria Sacchetti writes in the Boston Globe:
Exactly one year after federal agents burst into a New Bedford factory and arrested 361 immigrant workers, about half of those arrested are still here, an outcome that is raising concerns on both sides of the heated immigration divide.
The raid whiplashed the city, drew criticism from state and federal authorities, and captured national attention for separating some parents from their children. Now, the plodding aftermath is prompting new questions about the effectiveness of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement's raid.
Advocates for immigrants say the raid on the Michael Bianco factory devastated a community, with little to show for it. Those who favor restrictions on immigration say the system should work faster to expel illegal immigrants from the country.
"I think the United States made a plan that didn't work," said Anibal Lucas, director of the Maya K'iche Organization, a group that advocates for Guatemalans of Mayan descent in New Bedford. "It was a loss and waste of money." Click here for the rest of the story.
More on the Local Costs of Immigration
The N.Y. Times reports on a new study concluding that counties along the Mexican border are shortchanged millions of dollars a year in costs related to the criminal costs of undocumented immigrants. The study was by the University of Arizona and San Diego State University on behalf of the United States/Mexico Border Counties Coalition, a group representing the 24 border counties. For commentary on the study at Grits for Breakfast, click here.
This study highlights some of the local costs of immigration that the federal government, which gets the bulk of tax benefits for immigration, should help out with -- especially because immigration regulation is a primarily, if not exclusively, federal power. As I have argued before, the proper response to such costs is to seek federal assistance, not clamoring for misguided measures (that are doomed to failure) at closing the borders or anti-immigrant ordinances that foment hate and worsen the local climate for immigrants.
Immigrant of the Day: Alfred Molina (United Kingdom)
Molina was born Alfredo Molina in London. Molina grew up in Notting Hill. He decided to become an actor after seeing Spartacus at the age of nine, and attended the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
Molina made his film debut with a minor role in the 1981 movie Raiders of the Lost Ark, but his big break came with Letter to Brezhnev in 1985, which he followed up with a starring role in Prick Up Your Ears in 1987. In 2002, Molina portrayed the Mexican muralist Diego Rivera alongside Salma Hayek in Frida.
Molina performed in Yasmina Reza's Tony Award-winning play Art, for which he received a Tony nomination in 1998. Molina in 2004 returned to the stage, starring as Tevye in the Broadway production of Fiddler on the Roof. For his performance he once again received a Tony Award nomination, this time for Best Actor in a Musical.
Molina is a U.S. citizen.
March 5, 2008
New Immigration Books
oImmigration Immigration policy and the labor market : the German experience and lessons for Europe / Klaus F. Zimmermann ... [et al.]. 2007
Knowles, Valerie Strangers at our gates : Canadian immigration and immigration policy, 1540-2007, 2007
Biometric Changes for Re-Entry Permits and Refugee Travel Documents
Update: Biometric Changes For Re-entry Permits and Refugee Travel Documents
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has issued revised instructions for USCIS Form I-131, Application for Travel Document. The instructions include changes, which will become effective March 5, 2008, that require applicants for re-entry permits and refugee travel documents to provide biometrics (e.g., fingerprints and photographs) at a USCIS Application Support Centers (ASC) for background and security checks and requirements for secure travel and entry documents containing biometric identifiers. As indicated in the instructions, when the biometrics requirement becomes effective, USCIS will notify applicants of their appointment at the designated ASC after submission of the I-131 application.
The new instructions for Form I-131 require that applicants for re-entry permits and refugee travel documents who are ages 14 through 79 provide biometrics before departing from the United States. Applicants also are strongly encouraged to apply, whenever possible, well in advance of their anticipated travel dates to allow time to attend their ASC appointments and to receive their travel documents. Shortly after filing an I-131 form for a Refugee Travel Document or a Re-entry Permit, USCIS will mail the applicant his or her receipt and an ASC scheduling notice. The I-131 instructions also provide guidance for certain persons who are abroad at the time of filing to visit a U.S. Embassy or consulate for fingerprinting, although all applicants are urged to file before leaving the United States.
The instructions also discuss the requirement for applicants for re-entry permits and refugee travel documents who are in the United States to pay the $80 biometrics services fee, or to submit a biometrics fee waiver request with sufficient documentation to support their inability to pay the fee. As in the past, the application fee for the I-131 form cannot be waived.
In addition, if applicants require expedited processing, the instructions provide specific information for submitting pre-paid express mailers with the I-131 for USCIS to send the applicant his or her receipt and ASC appointment notice, as well as the completed Re-entry Permit or Refugee Travel Document, if approved. A request for expedited processing should contain the applicant’s reasons for such processing.
Changes to the Form I-131 instructions concerning biometrics are vital to the security of the immigration process, as well as to help ensure that USCIS complies with congressional mandates for issuance of secure documents. The added biometric requirements will provide the agency with an opportunity to conduct more in-depth security background checks for applicants for immigration benefits or re-entry permits and refugee travel documents for entering the United States. These requirements also improve USCIS’ capability to verify identity and for applicants to obtain secure documents that are less subject to fraud and abuse.
ImmigrationProf Blog Reaches 300,000 Hits!
Today, after a very busy month, the ImmigrationProf blog registered hit number 300,000 since it opened for business in September 2005. thanks loyal readers for your support!
Election Year Politics on Immigration?
According to the L.A. Times, "Senate Republicans are set to announce today the hardest-hitting package of immigration enforcement measures seen yet -- one that would require jail time for illegal immigrants caught crossing the border, make it harder for them to open bank accounts and compel them to communicate in English when dealing with federal agencies."