Saturday, May 3, 2008

U Visa Litigation Update

To: Advocates assisting immigrant crime victims
Fm: Peter Schey, Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law
Subject: Update on the "U visa" litigation (immigrant victims of violent crimes)

This is an update on the U visa litigation, Catholic Charities CYO v. Chertoff, Cv. No. 07-01307-PJH, pending in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. This case has already provided benefits for several thousand abused migrant crime victims, and we hope will provide a remedy for several thousands more in the future.


In summary, the U visa law was passed by Congress in 2000 to provide visas for undocumented migrant victims of serious crimes who cooperate with law enforcement to put violent criminals in jail. An applicant may be granted a U visa for past, present, or anticipated future cooperation with the investigation OR prosecution of one of several serious crimes defined in the statute. See attachment for details. After an immigrant has had U visa status for three years, the immigrant can apply for lawful permanent resident status, and five years after that for citizenship.

We first sued DHS Secretary Chertoff in 2005 in the case entitled Rodriquez Ruiz v. Chertoff, Cv. No. EDCV 05-0966 (Central District of California) because after five years the DHS had still not issued U visa regulations or an application form, and instead was only issuing something called “interim relief’ to a small number of applicants. 

We agreed to dismiss that case in early 2006 after (1) USCIS agreed to issue a policy memorandum stating that when a U visa was approved in the future it would be back-dated to the time when the applicant was granted “interim relief” so that the required three years of U visa status before an applicant may apply for lawful permanent resident (green card) status would commence when the applicant was granted “interim relief,” rather than later when granted U visa status, and (2) USCIS convinced Congress to give them until June 2006 to issue the U visa regulations.

Filing of current litigation

When USCIS failed to issue regulations in 2006, we again sued in March 2007, this time in federal court in San Francisco (Catholic Charities CYO v. Chertoff, Cv. No. 07-01307-PJH). Co-counsel includes the Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach (San Francisco), the Public Law Center (Santa Ana, CA), Central American Resource Center (Los Angeles), pro bono counsel Bustamante and Associates (Los Angeles), pro bono law professor James Eyster, and Sanctuary for Families (NY).

Plaintiffs include several organizations serving migrant crime victims including our domestic violence project Voces Unidas (Voces Unidas provides legal assistance and technical support on matters involving immigrant crime victims and domestic violence— see www, for information including a database of resources available to advocates and immigrant victims of violent crimes and survivors of domestic violence), Catholic Charities CYO of San Francisco, International Institute of the East Bay, Sanctuary For Families, the Diocesan Migrant & Refugee Services, Inc. (El Paso), and eighteen migrant crime victims eligible for U visas, most residing in the Bay Area. The main focus of the new lawsuit, brought as a nationwide class action, was the USCIS’s failure for seven years to issue U visa regulations and an application form, or to take steps to remedy the 7-year delay in issuing U visas.

In June 2007 the government filed a motion to dismiss all claims. We filed an extensive opposition in July. A court hearing was held August 15, 2007, in San Francisco. The government lawyers sheepishly told the judge that on that very day Secretary Chertoff was “signing-off” on U visa regulations (no coincidence, of course!). Despite this assurance from the government’s lawyers, the judge nevertheless refused to dismiss any of the claims raised in the lawsuit. She ordered the government to provide monthly reports on their progress in getting the regulations and an application form issued, said hopefully this would get done promptly, and scheduled another hearing for January. As you know, the regulations were issued shortly thereafter and migrants could begin filing for U visas in October 2007. For the first time several thousand migrant crime victims were actually able to apply for U visas.

First Amended Complaint

Next we reviewed the public comments submitted to the USCIS in response to the interim U visa regulations and in February 2008, with the judge’s permission, we filed a First Amended Complaint including several of the key issues advocates raised in their comments: 

(1) The new regulations do nothing to “recapture” the 70,000 visas lost during the government’s 7-year delay (the statute authorizes 10,000 visas per year);

(2) the regulations do not include procedures for applicants to apply for permanent resident status (though people who earlier had “interim relief” for three years are supposed to be able to apply for LPR status immediately;

(3) the regulations do nothing to accelerate the ability of people who should have been granted lawful permanent resident status a few years ago to apply for US citizenship sooner than the normal five year wait;

(4) the regulations provided no protection for derivatives of U visa applicants when either the crime victim or a relative of the crime victim was “aging out” by turning 21 (but would not have aged out if the U visas had been issued earlier);

(5) the regulations impose an unreasonable requirement that U visa certifications showing that the applicant is a victim of a crime and cooperated with a law enforcement agency must be signed by the head of the agency or someone designated by the head of the agency, rather than by the officers actually involved in the investigation or prosecution;

(6) the regulations only permit applicants to use law enforcement certifications signed within the past six months before the application is filed;

(7) the regulations improperly require that U visa derivative family members apply separately for annual work authorization and pay a fee when work authorization should be automatic and without a fee;

(8) the DHS (and ICE, CIS, etc.) itself fails to issue U certifications (that it requires applicants to obtain in order to file a U visa application) when DHS itself is the investigating agency of a crime (for example in immigrant smuggling cases that involve false imprisonment, sexual assaults, extortion, or crimes by DHS employees including Border Patrol, etc.) and

(9) the regulations (and the statute) do not permit the undocumented parents of a US citizen crime victim child to apply for derivative status, only the undocumented parent of an immigrant child crime victim (this violates the equal protection guarantee of the Fifth Amendment).

DHS’s motion to dismiss

In March 2008 the government filed a comprehensive motion to dismiss all claims in the First Amended Complaint. The government argues, in summary, that (1) since the Secretary of Homeland Security may issue U visas in his “discretion,” the government is free to issue regulations or not, (2) now that the government has issued regulations, no one can challenge the content of those regulations, (3) the government can handle the “age-out” problems raised in the First Amended Complaint any way that it wants, (4) the DHS can issue U certifications itself or not, as it sees fit, (5) the U visa law does not create a “private right of action” available to applicants, and therefore no one can ever sue the government over anything it does to implement the U visa law, no matter how illegal its actions may be, (6) the law’s and regulation’s failure to extend U visa status to the undocumented parents of US citizen crime victim children is rational and therefore Constitutional, (7) the government has no obligation to take remedial steps to address the injuries caused by its seven year delay in issuing the U visa regulations and application form, (8) the government can impose whatever restrictions it wants on who can sign law enforcement U visa certifications because the statute does not explicitly state that the government may not do so, etc.

Our opposition filed April 30, 2008 (copy attached) hopefully rebuts each of these positions. A hearing is scheduled in federal court in San Francisco on June 4, 2008, 9 am before Judge Phyllis Hamilton. We have filed a motion for class certification but the judge will not address our request until she has resolved the government’s new motion to dismiss the case.

Since many of the arguments the government makes are the same ones they made in their 2007 motion to dismiss that the judge rejected, we are somewhat optimistic that several of our legal claims will not be dismissed. However, if the case is dismissed, we’ll recommend appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. If the case is not dismissed, we will have the right to conduct depositions of government officials, and demand to receive copies of government documents relating to U visa policies and practices, and assume the DHS will then want to discuss a nation-wide settlement of our claims as typically happens when their motions to dismiss are denied in our major class action cases.

Several thousand migrant victims of violent crimes in the U.S. will benefit from this case annually by applying for U visas, and then lawful permanent resident status, thus ending their undocumented status, making it far easier for them to access legal remedies, work with lawful authorization, travel abroad legally thus avoiding the dangers of illegal entry, and being far more able to remove themselves from abusive and violent situations.

Please feel free to email Angela Viramontes or if you have any questions.


May 3, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (16) | TrackBack (0)

Cameroonian suicide in Belgium sparks riots at detention facility

Immigant detention is not only an issue in teh United States. reports that a young Cameroonian asylum seeker in Belgium committed suicide in detention center in Belgium. The tragedy has sparked violent reactions from other immigrants in the detention center. The young man, who arrived in Belgium in 2005, was denied asylum and then detained. Last Saturday, while the police tried to put him aboard a plane bound for Cameroon, the young man struggled so violently that the captain of the plane refused to allow him board the flight. He was scheduled to be repatriated again when he killed himself.


May 3, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 2 Immigration Raids of SF Bay Restaurants

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents on Friday raided 11 El Balazo restaurants, which serve Mexican and Central American food, around the Bay Area, arresting 63 undocumented immigrants - and drawing the outrage of immigration advocates who had marched the previous day to call for the legalization of undocumented workers. The raids began at 10:30 Friday morning in San Francisco, San Ramon, Lafayette, Concord, Pleasanton and Danville and involved 62 people from Mexico and one from Guatemala.

Perhaps I have too much time on my hands but I always find the comments after the news reports on immigration stories highly revealing.  The story linked above is no different -- lots of angry people.  Here are a couple of interesting comments:

Winner of the Most Observant Award:  "So are they also going to round up all the undocumented Irish bartenders and Italian waitstaff in San Francisco?"

Winner of Mexican Hater of the Day Award:  "Great! Keep it up ICE! Everywhere I go, all I see are Mexicans. I feel like I'm living in Mexico.Their argument is that their families are being broken up. Huh? They come here illegally or not and then their illegal family members come here to join them. Then they have the audacity to claim that they're being broken up. Take your baggypants, gangbanger, bully kids with you back to drug cartel land. "  (emphasis added).


May 3, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, May 2, 2008

After Two Years of Protests, Where Are We?

Gabriela Lemus and Hector Sanchez write on the Huffington Post:

On May 1, 2006 millions of immigrants and their supporters took to the streets in 140 cities in 39 states across the United States as part of a wave of mass marches that spring in repudiation of extreme anti-immigrant legislation, passed by Republicans in the House of Representatives. The vast size and scope of the mobilization was stunning. And not only did it mortally wound the far-right Republican initiative, it led some of us to think we might be seeing the birth of an important new movement.

Yet, as we look back two years later, it is hard to say things have improved. In 2007 Congress failed to agree on any meaningful immigration reforms. That failure created policy drift and a myopic focus on border barrier construction and stepped up workplace raids. To make matters worse, the legislative impasse has encouraged a withering barrage of anti-immigrant laws at the state and city level.

Click here for the rest of the piece.

May 2, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

State Immigration Legislation in 2008 Maintains Last Year's Pace

The National Conference of State Legislatures report, "Overview of State Legislation Related to Immigrants and Immigration, January - March 2008" provides a first look at introduced legislation in 2008 and presents selected examples of enacted laws relating to immigrants and refugees. As of March 31, 2008, at least 1,106 bills have been considered in 44 states this year. Twenty-six states have enacted 44 laws and adopted 38 resolutions or memorials. This level of activity is comparable to last year, when 1,169 bills and resolutions had been introduced (as of April 13, 2007). At this time last year, 18 states had enacted 57 laws related to immigrants and immigration. State legislatures had also adopted at least 19 resolutions and memorials. States continue to address both enforcement and integration issues related to immigrants. As in recent years, the top three areas of interest are law enforcement, employment, and identification documents." \


May 2, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Integration Potential of Immigrants and Their Children

We waste a lot of time in this country debating immigration policy. Instead we should be spending our time reaching out to immigrants and developing more welcoming communities to encourage immigrant integration. I write about that issue and provide examples that work in Chapter 5 of Deporting Our Souls--Values, Morality and Immigration Policy (2006).

Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees (GCIR) announces the release of a related, important report: Integration Potential of California’s Immigrants and Their Children: New Estimates of Potential New Voters at the State, County, and Legislative District Levels.

This new study examines the potential electoral impact of key populations in California: naturalized adult immigrants, immigrants eligible to naturalize, and U.S.-citizen children of immigrants who will soon become adults. The study provides never-before-published estimates of these potential new voters for every county and state legislative district in California. Some of the key findings include:
*     More than 2 out of 3 foreign-born California residents (6.5 million) are either U.S. citizens or are eligible to naturalize and vote.

*     More than 1.2 million U.S.-citizen children of immigrants will become eligible to vote by 2012.

*     Immigrant voters and their children could represent 29% of all future potential voters by 2012.

*     Potential voters from an immigrant background are a substantial electoral voice in both Republican and Democratic districts, representing more than 250,000 voters in seven California counties and more than 100,000 in fifteen counties. Click here for access to the full report.


May 2, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Immigrant of the Day: Marco Antonio Lopez (Mexico)

Lopez Marco Antonio Lopez (born April 7, 1978) is an Arizona politician. He has served in both elected and non-elected public offices, including Mayor of Nogales, Arizona, and Executive Director of the Arizona-Mexico Commission.

Born in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, and raised in Nogales, Arizona, Lopez graduated from the University of Arizona. Lopez currently serves at the Arizona State Capitol as senior advisor to Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano. His father was a plumber, and his mother owned a candy shop in Nogales, Ariz., where they lived. When she was pregnant with her son, Esther crossed into Mexico and gave birth to him in a clinic there to save money.

López grew up in Nogalitos, an old area of Nogales. He grew up on the borderlands, which ran from his back yard, over rolling hilltops, to the craggy wire fence that divides the United States and Mexico.

López was naturalized in 1994 and left home that year at 16 for Washington, D.C., to work as a page for U.S. Rep. Ed Pastor, D-Phoenix.

For more about Marco Antonio Lopez, click here.


May 2, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Two Job Openings With Border Action Network

Border Action Network is excited to announce two new job openings: Communications Coordinator and Development Coordinator.

Border Action Network Development Coordinator

The Development Coordinator will develop and lead various fundraising strategies within the organization. The Coordinator will plan and manage grassroots fundraising, including: coordinating fundraising  events,  recruiting and retaining individual donors,  developing and implementing major gifts campaigns, and coordinating internet-based fundraising. The Coordinator responsibilities do not include foundation proposal writing. The Coordinator will work in close consultation with the Executive Director, the Communications Coordinator and the all-volunteer Fundraising Committee which includes members of the Board of Directors and other supporters. This is a full-time, salaried position based in Tucson, AZ. To view the full job announcement, visit

Border Action Network Communications Coordinator:

The Communications Coordinator will provide leadership for various communications strategies within the organization. The Coordinator will ensure that the organization’s messages are integrated into the organization’s campaigns and external communications, including web site, quarterly newspaper, reports and other publications. The Coordinator will take leadership in promoting our message to the public, media outlets, members, and other audiences. This is a full-time, salaried position based in Tucson, AZ. To view the job announcement, visit

Border Action Network formed in 1999 and works with immigrant families and border communities in rural and urban areas along the Arizona border with Mexico to ensure that our rights are protected, our human dignity upheld and that our communities are healthy and safe places for everyone to live. We are a membership-based human rights community organization that combines grassroots organizing, leadership development, policy advocacy and litigation, when necessary.  We have five staff and nearly 700 members.  Border Action remains unique to Arizona—as a community-based, immigrant-led organization--we continue to build the voice and therefore, the political, social and economic power of immigrant families and border communities.


May 1, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 1 Marches Down in Numbers

Early news reports (here and here) suggest that the number of marchers in today's immigrant marches are way down from the numbers in spring 2006.  details to follow.


May 1, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (9) | TrackBack (0)

Immigration Policy Center: The Importance of Latinos and Immigrants to the Economy and Electorate

During the presidential primaries, candidates and the media focused a great deal of attention on the debate over how immigrants affect state economies and the fiscal balance of state treasuries. At the same time, political pundits and pollsters speculated on the electoral influence of immigrants and Latinos at the voting booth. The Immigration Policy Center has fact sheets that analyze the impact that both Latinos and immigrants have on the economy and electorate of key primary states (INCLUDING NORTH CAROLINA):

FLORIDA: The Importance of Latinos and Immigrants to the Economy and Electorate of the “Sunshine State” (April 2008)

IOWA: The Importance of Latinos and Immigrants to the Economy and Electorate of the “Hawkeye State” (April 2008)

NEW MEXICO: The Importance of Latinos and Immigrants to the Economy and Electorate of the “Land of Enchantment” (April 2008)

NEBRASKA: The Importance of Latinos and Immigrants to the Economy and Electorate of the “Cornhusker State” (April 2008)

NORTH CAROLINA: The Importance of Latinos and Immigrants to the Economy and Electorate of the “Tar Heel State” (April 2008)

RHODE ISLAND: The Importance of Latinos and Immigrants to the Economy and Electorate of the “Ocean State” (April 2008)

TEXAS: The Importance of Latinos and Immigrants to the Economy and Electorate of the “Lone Star State” (April 2008)

VIRGINIA: The Importance of Latinos and Immigrants to the Economy and Electorate of the “Old Dominion” (April 2008)

“SUPER TUESDAY” STATES: The Importance of Latinos and Immigrants to the Economy and Electorate of the “Super Tuesday” States (April 2008)


May 1, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

MALDEF Featured on Lou Dobbs Tonight!

Dobbs President John Trasviña will appear on Lou Dobbs Tonight (7pm ET/ 4pm PT) to discuss the May Day marches and MALDEF's recent project, Truth In Immigration (TII). Last night, Dobbs did a segment that showed one of TII's latest videos. The video and report were included in a story done by Dobbs called the video "artistic." Here's the article:

Here's the video:

If you haven't done so already, sign up for Truth in Immigration's weekly newsletter at


May 1, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Settling Nothing, U.S. Senate Resolves: McCain a "Natural Born Citizen"

Mccain_context We reported long ago that there ws a dispute whether, as a matter of constitutional law, Senator John McCain is eligible to be President of the United States. 

Section 1 of Article II of the U.S. Constitution provides that “ No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States. ” (emphasis added).  McCain is well past 35 but is he a "natural born Citizen"? 

The U.S.  Senate unanimously resolved Wednesday that Republican presumptive candidate John McCain is eligible to be US president even though he was born in the Panama Canal zone. The resolution was supported by all senators, including the two Democratic Presidential candidates, Senators Clinton and Obama.

McCain was born to a military father in the Panama Canal zone when it was under U.S. jurisdiction. It has been reported that Senate sources said the issue was analyzed by former Solicitor General Theodore Olson and Harvard Law School Professor Laurence Tribe, both of whom concluded that McCain is a natural born citizen within the meaning of the U.S. Constitution.

Of course, a Senate resolution does not finally settle the matter.  However, is someone ready and willing to raise the issue in some other way, perhaps through a lawsuit?

UPDATE:  The Washington Post reports that a New Hampshire resident has filed suit challenging John Mc'cain's eligibility to be President.  Stay tuned!


May 1, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

The (In)Humanity of Removal

Jorjani2 Read Professor Raha Jorjani's story on about a first-hand account of the actual physical removal process provided by Armando.  Armando’s story is an opportunity for us to get a close look at the actual process of removal, and the effects it has on the lives of the survivors.


May 1, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Obama Statement on the May 1 Immigration Marches

Senator Barack Obama has issued the following statement on today's immigration marches:

Two years ago, I came home to Chicago to witness the mobilization of hundreds of thousands of citizens and immigrants united in an effort to fix our immigration system. I spoke to the marchers that day, and Senator Kennedy spoke to those marching in Washington. They said to us, "today we march and tomorrow we vote."  Two years later, our immigration problems remain unresolved, and those who want change will have to vote for change in November. So today, I encourage the thousands of people who are marching and calling for change to work hard registering voters in the months to come. Your vote is your voice.

Four-hundred thousand marchers were in Chicago that day and hundreds of thousands of others came out and stood up around the country. They were marching to put a human face on the idea of America as a country of immigrants: the notion that people can come here and pursue a better life for themselves and, most importantly, for their children, if they work hard and apply themselves.

Two years later, politicians remain polarized and the challenge is unresolved. On the anniversary of those marches, I again express my commitment to comprehensive immigration reform and will do everything I can to bring order and compassion to a system that is broken today. It is in our interest and true to our tradition to come together and solve this problem. And as President, I intend to lead us in that effort.

Hace 2 años, vine a casa a Chicago para ser testigo de la mobilización de cientos de miles de ciudadanos e imigrantes unidos en un esfuerzo para arreglar nuestro sistema de inmigración. Hablé a los marchantes ese día y el Senador Kennedy habló a aquellos que estaban marchando en Washington. Nos dijeron, "hoy marchamos y mañana votamos". Dos años después, nuestro problema de inmigración sigue sin resolverse, y aquellos que quieran cambio tendrán que votar por cambio en Noviembre. Por eso hoy, yo invito a aquellos que marchan por cambio, a que trabajen registrando votos en los meses por venir. Su voto es su decisión.

Cuatroscientos mil marchantes estuvieron en Chicago ese día y cientos de miles de personas más salieron y se unieron alrededor del país. Ellos marchaban para ponerle una cara humana a la idea de América como un país de inmigrantes: la noción que la gente puede venir acá y buscar una vida mejor para sí mismos, y más importante, para sus hijos, si trabajan duro y se aplican.

Dos años después, los políticos siguen polarizados y el desafío sigue sin resolverse. En el aniversario de esas marchas, quiero otra vez expresar mi compromiso a la reforma de inmigración integral y que haré todo lo que pueda para traer orden y compasión a un sistema que hoy esta roto. Está en nuestro interés y es parte de nuestra tradición unirnos y resolver problemas. Como presidente, mi intención es guiarnos en ese camino.


May 1, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Yale Clinic Strikes Again! Immigrants Challenge U.S. System of Detention

The N.Y. Times reports that "Immigrants who spent time in detention while fighting deportation filed a federal suit on Wednesday against Michael Chertoff, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, demanding that the agency issue legally enforceable regulations for its detention centers. No enforceable standards now exist for the immigrant detention system, a rapidly growing conglomeration of county jails, federal centers and privately run prisons across the country."

for the complaint (care of Bender's Immigration Bulletin), click Download fff20430081.txt   The Jerome Frank Legal Services Organization at Yale Law School, headed by professor Michael Wishnie, represent Wishnie_michael1 the plaintiffs.


May 1, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Recent Immigrant Reports from Migration Information Source

Two recent reports from Migration Information Source might be of interest:

Mexican Immigrants in the United States

In 2006, more than 11.5 million Mexican immigrants resided in the United States, accounting for 30.7 percent of all US immigrants. Jeanne Batalova examines the number of Mexican immigrants in the United States, their socioeconomic characteristics, where they live, and the size of the Mexican-born unauthorized population.

Twenty-First Century Gateways: Immigrants in Suburban America

Traditional gateways like New York and Los Angeles still attract immigrants. But metro areas including Atlanta, Sacramento, Las Vegas, Minneapolis-St. Paul, and Austin, Texas, have become new destinations for immigrants as Audrey Singer, Susan W. Hardwick, and Caroline B. Brettell explain.


May 1, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

New Book: Terror in the Latino Barrio: The Rise of the New Right in Local Government

Terror in the Latino Barrio: The Rise of the New Right in Local Government by HUMBERTO CASPA

The stage was set for a chilling reality show. Costa Mesa (in Orange County, California) has transformed itself into the epicenter of the immigration debate, and today represents what is taking place across the nation. This city is a vivid portrayal of how right-wing interest groups politicized local governments. The book contends that a new breed of politicians and political activists is making every effort possible to stop the flow of immigrant Latinos and U.S.-Latinos into Costa Mesa. Their main objective is to kick Latinos out of this city. The author, HUMBERTO CASPA, helped found the City of Costa Mesa council of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), and served as its first president. He is an Adjunct Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Irvine.

For a news story about caspa and his new book, click here.


May 1, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Business in LA Backs Raid Moratorium

Dream_2 The L.A. Times report that, as thousands of immigrant workers and their supporters prepared to march through downtown Los Angeles today, the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, joined by labor and political leaders, plans at a news conference this morning to support calls for a moratorium on immigration raids and also renew its call for immigration reform that includes more worker visas and a path to legalization for undocumented immigrants.


May 1, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

State & Local Immigration Policy Workshop

UC San Diego is hosting an important workshop related to the rash of local immigration policy proposals and legislation.

State and Local Immigration Policy in the U.S.: An Interdisciplinary Workshop

Friday, May 9, 9:00 AM - 3:30 PM
Eleanor Roosevelt College Administration Building
Conference Room 115, First Floor

Governing immigration has long been the responsibility of the federal government in the United States. However, in the context of "new gateway" immigrant settlement, growing undocumented immigrant populations, post-9/11 security concerns, and Congressional deadlock on comprehensive immigration reform, an increasing number of cities and states across the U.S. are engaging with immigration- and immigrant-related policy formulation and enforcement at the local level. Policies have ranged across the spectrum: from cities declaring themselves "sanctuaries" for undocumented residents, to cities in which police are partnering with the federal government to do local immigration enforcement; from states that allow undocumented students to pay in-state tuition at public colleges and universities, to states that seek to revoke the business licenses of employers who knowingly hire undocumented workers.

In this one-day interdisciplinary workshop, conference participants will engage with multiple themes concerning the recent explosion of local and state immigration policy activism. Themes addressed will include (1) immigration policy and enforcement in the context of federalism, particularly the current devolution of immigration policing powers by the federal government to cities and states; (2) the rapid and recent emergence of grassroots "immigration" policies pursued by cities, counties, and states; (3) the political and legal tensions that arise between cities, states, and the federal government in this changing immigration policy and enforcement landscape; and (4) the impacts of this rapidly shifting policy context on local communities and immigrant incorporation.

Monica Varsanyi, Assistant Professor, School of Justice and Social Inquiry, Arizona State University, (organizer-chair)

Marisa Abrajano, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, UC-San Diego,

Muzaffar Chishti, Director, Migration Policy Institute at NYU School of Law,

Jill Esbenshade, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, San Diego State University,

Owen Furuseth, Professor, Department of Geography and Earth Sciences, University of North Carolina, Charlotte,

Jessica Halpern-Finnerty, Research Associate, Center on Wisconsin Strategy,

Tomás Jiménez, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, UC-San Diego,

April Linton, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, UC-San Diego,

Doris Marie Provine, Professor, School of Justice and Social Inquiry, Arizona State University (Fulbright Scholar, 2007-8, Centro de Investigaciones sobre America del Norte, Mexico City),

Karthick Ramakrishan, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, UC-Riverside,

Hinda Seif, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Illinois, Springfield,

Heather Smith, Associate Professor, Department of Geography and Earth Sciences, University of North Carolina, Charlotte,

Teresa Vázquez, Assistant Professor, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Cal State Northridge,

Michele Waslin, Senior Policy Analyst, Immigration Policy Center, American Immigration Law Foundation,

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

Center for Comparative Immigration Studies
9500 Gilman Drive
University of California, San Diego
La Jolla, CA 92093-0548


May 1, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Immigrant of the Day: Janet Nguyen (Viet Nam)

Dist1_banner Nguyen Janet Nguyen (born 1976) is a county supervisor in Orange County, California. She won her seat following a special election in which two Vietnamese-American candidates received half of the votes cast in a field of 10, separated from each other by only 7 votes. Nguyen was sworn in on March 27, 2007, after a lengthy court battle and is the youngest person to be elected to the board of supervisors, the first woman to be elected from the district, and the first Vietnamese-American county supervisor in the United States.

Before election to the board of supervisors, Nguyen served as a city council member for Garden Grove.

Nguyen was born in Saigon, Vietnam. Her family joined thousands of other boat people when she was five, coming to California in 1981. They first lived in San Bernardino, but settled in Garden Grove in 1990.

Nguyen attended the University of California, Irvine and majored in political science. 


May 1, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)