January 12, 2008
First Circuit Immunizes Racial Profiling by Airlines
Public Citizen released the following Statement of Michael Kirkpatrick, Attorney, Public Citizen about a First Circuit decision:
"In a decision released Thursday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston has given air carriers a license to discriminate against passengers based upon their race or ethnicity.
In writing that safety takes precedence over civil rights, the court put its stamp of approval on racial profiling. We believe this decision opens the door for airlines to arbitrarily violate the rights of passengers.
The case, Cerqueira v. American Airlines, was brought by a passenger who was removed from an American Airlines flight, detained and questioned by the police, and refused service even after the police cleared him for travel. In January 2007, a jury found that the airline had discriminated against John D. Cerqueira because of his “Middle Eastern” appearance and awarded him $400,000 in compensatory and punitive damages. The appellate court set aside the jury’s verdict, holding that a federal statute granting airlines the discretion to refuse passengers for safety reasons immunizes airlines from liability under the nation’s civil rights laws, even if the airline’s safety concerns are the product of racial profiling."
Click here for a copy of the decision.
Secret Evidence Article
Jaya Ramji-Nogales (Temple) of IntlawGrrls has posted a draft of an article, A Global Approach to Secret Evidence: How Human Rights Law Can Reform Our Immigration System,in the Columbia Human Rights Law Review, on the Social Science Research Network. Unfortunately, secret evidence proceedings against alleged security risks -- most frequently Arabs or Muslims -- were common before the tragic events of September 11.
More on Gitmo
We noted yesterday how some Gitmo detainees had lost in the D.C. Circuit. "Inside Guantanamo": This photo essay appears in the current issue of The Atlantic Monthly. An expanded collection of those photos, plus audio, are available here and here.
Diane Amann of IntlLawGrrls noted that January 11 marked the sixth anniversary of the first detainees from the war in Afghanistan being moved to Gitmo. Her article on Guantánamo is a must-read on the subject.
January 11, 2008
Nevada Electoral Profile from NALEO
The NALEO Educational Fund, the leading organization that facilitates the full participation of Latinos in the American political process, has compiled an Electoral Profile for the 2008 Nevada Presidential Caucuses. As a supporter of our organization, we want to continue to provide you with timely and relevant information to enhance your work on issues affecting Latino participation in our nation's civic life. In the attached document you will find data on the Latino population and electorate in Nevada, and analysis regarding the potential impact of the Latino vote in the state.
To view the 2008 Nevada Presidential Caucus Election Profile, please click here.
We also want to remind you that the 25th Annual NALEO Conference, the nation's largest gathering of Latino elected and appointed officials, is coming to Washington, DC, June 25-28. The Annual Conference will include a discussion of the pivotal role of Latinos in Election 2008. For more information, please click here to visit our web site.
We look forward to seeing you in Washington!
NALEO Educational Fund
Evanston, IL Considers Sanctuary Ordinance
Deborah Horan writes in the Chicago Tribune:
Evanston is poised to approve an ordinance that may make it the first suburban "sanctuary city" in the Chicago area by barring city employees and police from asking about a person's immigration status in most cases.
The City Council's Human Services Committee unanimously approved a draft resolution Monday prohibiting such inquiry unless it is required by law or deemed integral to a police investigation. The resolution also calls on government workers and police to accept a passport or consular card in lieu of a driver's license as proof of identity.
"It's an intent to guide our behavior," said Ald. Cheryl Wollin (1st). "The title of it [includes the words] 'humane and just treatment.' I don't see how anyone can be against humane and just treatment." The resolution is set to come before the City Council as early as February. Click here for the rest of the story.
DHS RELEASES REAL ID REGULATION
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced today a final rule establishing minimum security standards for state-issued drivers’ licenses and identification cards. The rule sets uniform standards that enhance the integrity and reliability of drivers’ licenses and identification cards, strengthen issuance capabilities, and increase security at drivers’ license and identification card production facilities. DHS states that REAL ID will address document fraud by setting specific requirements that states must adopt for compliance, to include: (1) information and security features that must be incorporated into each card; (2) proof of the identity and U.S. citizenship or legal status of an applicant; (3) verification of the source documents provided by an applicant; and (4) security standards for the offices that issue licenses and identification cards. The first deadline for compliance with REAL ID is Dec. 31, 2009. By then, states must upgrade the security of their license systems, to include a check for lawful status of all applicants, to ensure that undocumented aliens cannot obtain licenses. Some states are expected to be compliant well before that time. Compliance will be needed for access into a federal facility, boarding commercial aircraft, and entering nuclear power plants. Federal agencies will continue to accept licenses for official purposes from residents of states that comply with the law. DHS is making approximately $360 million available to assist states with REAL ID implementation - $80 million in dedicated REAL ID grants and another $280 million in general funding as part of the Homeland Security Grant Program.REAL ID was a core 9/11 Commission finding and mandated by Congress in the REAL ID Act of 2005. This final rule follows a Notice of Proposed Rule Making published in the Federal Register on March 9, 2007. Based on comments received from various stakeholders, DHS drafted the final rule with the hope to to substantially reduce costs and account for investments that many states have already made to improve the security of their drivers’ licenses. This final rule is currently available at www.dhs.gov and will soon be published in the Federal Register.
Gitmo Detainees Lose in D.C. Circuit
SCOTUS Blog reports (with links to the opinions) that, ruling in a case of four Britons who formerly were detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the D.C. Circuit decided today that the prisoners have no right to sue top Pentagon officials and military officers for allegedly torturing them and defiling their religious beliefs while they were held at the military prison. The Court applied several different legal theories in rejecting all of the claims of abuse and arbitrary imprisonment, but the end result was that there was nothing left of the detainees’ legal challenge. In a second ruling Friday affecting individuals captured during the “war on terrorism,” the Circuit Court decided that the Pentagon has no legal duty to release to the public the opinions or advice that outsiders gave to the government on the creation of “military commissions” to try war crimes charges against detainees. Both of the rulings — Rasul v. Myers (rejecting the torture and abuse claims), and National Institute of Military Justice v. Department of Defense (06-5242), can be found on the opinions page of the D.C. Circuit under Friday’s date.
NASCAR and the Border Patrol
The Dallas Morning News reports that the federal government is aggressively recruiting new Border Patrol officers through some novel means, including sponsoring a NASCAR race car, billboards hundreds of miles from the Rio Grande, and television commercials aired during Dallas Crowboy football games. The multimillion-dollar recruiting campaign was prompted by a shortage of applicants.
I find the NASCAR/Border Patrol link most interesting. Last year, the Border Patrol announced that it had teamed up with Jay Robinson Racing for a 25-race sponsorship on the #28 Chevy that ran through the 2007 NASCAR Busch Series season. The Chevy made its debut May 11, 2007 at Darlington Raceway during the Diamond Hill Plywood 200.
Jay Robinson Racing prominently features its sponsor, and a link to an advertisement for Border Patrol employment opportunities, on its website.
So readers of this blog who are NASCAR fans (are there any?), be on the lookout for #28 of Jay Robinson Racing, with a Border Patrol logo.
THANKS TO CAPPY WHITE FOR THIS TIP!
Bush Administration Effort to Deport Coptic Christian to Egypt Rejected
The N.Y. Times reports that a federal judge in Pennsylvania yesterday blocked the U.S. government’s efforts to deport a Coptic Christian who said he would be tortured if he were returned to Egypt. The ruling was a rebuff to the Bush administration’s practice of relying on confidential assurances to send people to countries that have been known to practice torture. The court held that the government’s unwillingness to allow an independent review of Egypt’s assurances denied him due process. The man, Sameh Khouzam, 38, was convicted of murder in absentia in Egypt. The ACLU represents him. He denies the murder accusation and contends that he was repeatedly detained and tortured in Egypt because he refused to convert to Islam. The Times quotes immigration law professor Philip G. Schrag (Georgetown): “The importance of this case,” he said, “lies in its rejection of the Bush administration’s claim that secret diplomatic assurances by a foreign government that it will not torture a person preclude judicial review.” Civil Liberties Union, which represented Mr. Khouzam, echoed that view. Marc D. Falkoff (Northern Illinois), who is counsel for 16 Yemenis held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, is quoted in the Times as saying that the ruling could have sweeping implications for those detained at Guantánamo.
For a copy of the district court's order (c/o Bender's Immigration Bulletin), click here.
Immigrant of the Day: Irving Berlin (Russia)
Born Israel Baline in Russia in 1888, Irving Berlin (1888-1989) was one of eight children. His family moved to New York via a stop in Ellis Island in 1893 to escape the pogroms in Russia. At age eight, he took to the streets of the Lower East Side of New York City to help support his mother and family after his father died . In the early 1900s he worked as a singing waiter in restaurants and started writing songs. His first published hit was "Marie From Sunny Italy." In World War I, he wrote the musical Yip, Yip, Yaphank; the big hit song in the musical was "Oh, How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning." On Armistice Day, 1938, he introduced "God Bless America," which was sung by Kate Smith. In World War II, Berlin wrote the musical This is the Army, which raised $10 million for the Army Emergency Relief. His hits in this musical were "This is the Army, Mr Jones" and "I Left My Heart at the Stage Door Canteen."
Berlin wrote more than 900 songs, 19 musicals and the scores of 18 movies. Some of his songs that have become classics include "There's No Business Like Show Business," "Easter Parade," and "White Christmas."
Berlin also supported Jewish charities and organizations and donated many dollars to worthwhile causes. On February 18, 1955, President Eisenhower presented him with a gold medal in recognition of his service in composing many patriotic songs for the country. Earlier, Berlin assigned the copyright for "God Bless America" to the God Bless America Fund, which has raised millions of dollars for the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.
Irving Berlin died on September 22, 1989, at the age of 101.
January 10, 2008
Former Immigration Official Sentenced
According to Newsday:
A former U.S. immigration supervisor was sentenced Thursday to 3 1/2 years in prison for accepting tens of thousands of dollars in bribes so that dozens of ineligible aliens could receive citizenship.
Jimmie Ortega, 59, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge John F. Keenan, who urged him to behave when he gets out of prison.
"It's a shame that you did what you did," the judge said as he also ordered Ortega to forfeit $50,000.
Ortega, of Lindenhurst, N.Y., accepted bribes of up to $3,000 per person between October 2004 and April 2006 in exchange for passing grades on citizenship tests, prosecutors said. Click here for the full story.
Meissner on Election 2008, Immigration, Etc.
Former Clinton Administration Immigration and Naturalization Services commissioner Doris Meissner, now a senior fellow at the Migration Policy Institute, recently spoke openly about her disappointment with some of the presidential candidates and about what has to be done on the immigration issue. Meissner is particuarly critical of Rudy Guiliani's recent immigration stances (not that it has appeared to help him much).
Oklahoma Immigration Law Scares Employers
We have heard much lately -- including on this blog -- about the new Arizona employer sanctions law that went into effect on January 1. Emily Bazar in USA Today discusses the new Oklahoma law, which in some ways is broader than a controversial Arizona law that suspends or revokes business licenses of employers who knowingly hire undocumented immigrants. Challenges to the law have been dismissed. Among other things, the Oklahoma law makes it a felony to transport or shelter illegal immigrants and denies illegal immigrants driver's licenses and public benefits such as rental assistance and fuel subsidies. Many business owners are especially nervous about provisions of teh law to go into effect on July 1, when employers with government contracts must start checking new hires against a federal database to make sure they are legally eligible to work.
Former CIA Agent Philip Agee Dies
Philip Agee, 72, a former undercover officer with the Central Intelligence Agency whose disillusionment with U.S. policy in support of dictatorship prompted him to name names and reveal CIA secrets, died Jan. 7 in Havana. In his controversial 1975 book, Inside the Company: CIA Diary, Mr. Agee detailed the inner workings of U.S. intelligence operations. The CIA, he claimed, was interested only in propping up decaying dictatorships and thwarting radical reform efforts. The book "caused serious damage to the national security," the State Department said shortly after its publication, and in 1979, then-Secretary of State Cyrus R. Vance stripped Mr. Agee of his passport. This decision was upheld by the Supreme Court and in subsequent litigation. Download haig_v. Agee.pdf Download agee_v. Baker.pdf Download agee_v. Barbara Bush.pdf
Richardson to Drop Out of Presidential Race
CNN reports that New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson will quit the race for the Democratic presidential nomination after fourth-place showings in the the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primaryt. Richardson had some thoughtful views about immigration, which included opposition to the extension of the border fence and allowing undocumented immigrants to be eligible for driver's licenses (as is the case in New Mexico). For a Washington Post interview with him on the subject, click here.
Immigrant of the Day: Jamaica Kincaid (Antigua and Barbuda)
Jamaica Kincaid (b. Elaine Cynthia Potter Richardson, 25 May 1949 in St. John's, Antigua and Barbuda) is an American novelist, gardener, and gardening writer. Today, she lives with her family in Vermont.
In Antigua, Kincaid completed her secondary education under the British system, given Antigua's status as a British colony until 1967. She moved to New York at the age of 17 to work for a family as an au pair. She next worked as a fact checker at Forbes magazine.
Kincaid went on to study photography at the New School for Social Research. She attended Franconia College in New Hampshire for a year and later worked at the New Yorker magazine. In 1973, she changed her name to Jamaica Kincaid because her family disapproved of her writing. She worked for The New Yorker as a staff writer until 1995. Her novel Lucy (1990) is an imaginative account of her experience of coming into adulthood in a foreign country, and continues the narrative of her personal history begun in the novel Annie John (1985). Other novels, such as The Autobiography of My Mother (1996) explore issues of colonialism and much of the anger associated with it. She has also published a collection of short stories, At the Bottom of the River (1983), a collection of essays, A Small Place and more. She is a visiting professor and teaches creative writing at Harvard University.
For more about Kincaid, click here.
January 9, 2008
Validity of Green Cards Without Expiration Dates
Good afternoon and happy new year to you all. You may recall that sometime ago I sent you information regarding green cards that have no expiration dates. On December 13, 2007 USCIS posted an Update on this issue on our website. Here are some important points from the update that you may wish to share with your community members:
Holders of green cards (I-551) with no expiration dates may continue to use them as proof of permanent residency when traveling, or when seeking employment or at any time proof of legal residency is required. At this time USCIS does not have a timeframe as to when a final rule on the subject may be issued. They may choose to replace the cards now, but currently there is no requirement to do so. We hope this information is helpful for the community.
I am also forwarding to you an electronic copy of that Update. If you wish to access it directly, try the link below...
If this fails to work for you, try going to www.uscis.gov, look directly under the USCIS seal, there are 6 horizontal tabs. Click on the tab to the far right that says "Press Room", then look under December, 2007 for the document.
Lucee Rosemarie Fan
USCIS Community Relations Officer
Georgia Sheriffs Aiding ICE
Mary Lou Pickel writes in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Sheriffs in Gainesville and Dalton, centers of the state's poultry and carpet industries, will train jailers to start deportation proceedings against illegal immigrants booked into their jails.
A training program with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement began Monday to teach nine Hall County sheriff's deputies and six Whitfield County sheriff's deputies to use federal databases to determine a prisoner's immigration status. Deputies can then place immigration holds on those here illegally.
In Dalton, where the state's carpet mills employ many Hispanic immigrants, the community has changed in the past five to 10 years, Whitfield County Sheriff Scott Chitwood said.
"We've brought a lot of people into the community who are from out of town and out of the country. It's causing concern in the community. Are these people here legally, or illegally?" he said.
Chitwood emphasized that only immigrants who are arrested on other charges will be questioned about their legal status.
"I just can't come up to you at Wendy's and ask you if you're legal or illegal," he said.
Cobb County Sheriff's Office was the first in the state to implement the program in July. Since then, federal agents have picked up 748 immigrants from Cobb's jail, office spokeswoman Nancy Bodiford said.
This week some Cobb residents told county commissioners they believe Cobb County police profile Hispanics, arresting them on minor charges, thus subjecting them to possible deportation. Click here for the full story.
Immigration Attacks Batting .000 in Republican Primary
The following is a statement from Immigrants’ List Executive Director Drew Seman:
"Despite running immigration attacks ads that aired more than12,000 times, Mitt Romney lost double digit leads in Iowa and New Hampshire to the very candidates he targeted. Instead of helping him across the finish line, Romney’s hard line attacks backfired. According to CNN exit polls, Iowa voters who listed immigration as their number one issue chose Huckabee. New Hampshire Republicans favored Romney’s position to McCain’s, but when asked “Who ran the most unfair campaign?” New Hampshire voters said Romney three times more than any of his opponent. The inability of Tom Tancredo’s campaign to gain traction should have been an early sign: the hard line anti-immigration message isn’t what most voters want to hear. As poorly as these results bode for the use of immigration attacks in a Republican primary, the general election picture is much worse. Polls show that for the highly coveted independent voters, immigration trails far behind health care, the economy, the War in Iraq. Romney lost independent Republican Primary voters by 13 points in New Hampshire, winning only 27 percent. In Iowa it was worse-19 percent. Meanwhile, McCain and Obama, who both have strong records of supporting immigration reform, won the independent vote in New Hampshire. Immigrants’ List is a bipartisan, pro-immigration reform political action committee.
Founded in October of 2006, Immigrants’ List supports candidates who will work towards meaningful reform measures. Please visit www.immigrantslist.org for more information."
Of course, this is what we have been saying for the last week or so.
Immigrant of the Day: Ana Alicia (Mexico)
Born Ana Alicia Ortiz in Mexico City, Alicia's mother was a clothing manufacturing executive mother and her father a businessman. When she was a child, her family moved to El Paso, Texas. Alicia earned a scholarship to Wellesley College but eventually left and earned her bachelor's degree in drama at the University of Texas at El Paso. Alicia then moved to Los Angeles and started auditioning for roles in various productions. Eventually, she won the part of Alicia Nieves on the daytime soap opera "Ryan's Hope," and temporarily moved to New York City. After fifteen months on the show, Alicia moved back to Los Angeles part-time and attended law school at night.
Following several guest roles on television shows, including "Battlestar Galactica" and "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century," Alicia auditioned for the role of spoiled, selfish vineyard heiress Melissa Agretti on "Falcon Crest." She played the role for over six years up until 1988 when producers decided to kill the character off. Only months after this, Alicia returned to "Falcon Crest" as Samantha Ross, a Melissa lookalike, a character featured in a few episodes. In 1989, Ortiz appeared with Raúl Juliá in the movie "Romero," a drama on the life of martyred Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero. Ana Alicia continued to play guest roles on television and effectively retired from acting in 1996.