Saturday, May 24, 2008
The ICE raid in San Rafael, California earlier this week resulted in arrests that were part of a total 900 arrests made by ICE in California this week. Tyche Hendricks writes in the San Francisco Chronicle:
Among those arrested in the Bay Area were 17 people in San Rafael taken into custody at their homes early Thursday, of whom four were targeted by immigration officials, said ICE spokeswoman Virginia Kice.
The San Rafael arrests sent fear through Mexican and Central American communities, which include many undocumented immigrants. Three San Rafael schools reported scores of student absences Thursday, including San Pedro Elementary School, which canceled its open house Thursday night because families were afraid to attend, district officials said.
San Pedro's principal, Kathryn Gibney, had testified before Congress two days earlier at a hearing on the emotional impact of immigration raids on children.
Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma, who chaired the hearing, contacted senior ICE officials Friday to express concern over the raids and suggest that current voluntary humanitarian guidelines covering workplace immigration raids should be mandatory for all ICE actions. Click here for the full story.
POSTSCRIPT: According to the N.Y. Times, the operations in California have resulted in the arrest of 905 people in California in the past three weeks after a statewide search for those who had violated orders to leave the country. The operation was the latest in a series of national sweeps by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. The arrests were the result of collaboration among teams in Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco that began on May 5.
The N.Y. Times reports that In temporary courtrooms at a fairgrounds, 270 undocumented immigrants were sentenced this week to five months in prison for working at a meatpacking plant with false documents. The prosecutions ended Friday, with prosecutors bringing tough federal criminal charges against most of the immigrants arrested in the May 12 raid. Until now, unauthorized workers have generally been detained for civil violations and deported. The convicted immigrants were among 389 workers detained at the Agriprocessors Inc. plant in Postville in a raid that federal officials called the largest criminal enforcement operation ever carried out by immigration authorities at a workplace.
The proceedings were rapid and provoked protest from immigrtaion attorneys:
"The unusually swift proceedings, in which 297 immigrants pleaded guilty and were sentenced in four days, were criticized by criminal defense lawyers, who warned of violations of due process. Twenty-seven immigrants received probation. The American Immigration Lawyers Association protested that the workers had been denied meetings with immigration lawyers and that their claims under immigration law had been swept aside in unusual and speedy plea agreements.
The illegal immigrants, most from Guatemala, filed into the courtrooms in groups of 10, their hands and feet shackled. One by one, they entered guilty pleas through a Spanish interpreter, admitting they had taken jobs using fraudulent Social Security cards or immigration documents. Moments later, they moved to another courtroom for sentencing.
The pleas were part of a deal worked out with prosecutors to avoid even more serious charges. Most immigrants agreed to immediate deportation after they serve five months in prison."
Crimmigration expert Juliet Stumpf (Lewis & ClarK), formerly a civil rights lawyer in the Department of Justice, is quoted in the story: “To my knowledge, the magnitude of these indictments is completely unprecedented.” “It’s the reliance on criminal process here as part of an immigration enforcement action that takes this out of the ordinary, a startling intensification of the criminalization of immigration law.”
Friday, May 23, 2008
New York Governor David A. Paterson announced today that he has granted Ricky Walters a full and unconditional pardon of his 1991 attempted murder and weapon convictions, in order to allow Walters to seek relief from deportation from the federal immigration courts. Mr. Walters, who was born in the United Kingdom, was lawfully admitted to the United States at age 11, and he was raised in the Bronx. At the time of his crimes, Mr. Walters was a newly-famous hip-hop artist known as "Slick Rick," who has since been credited with being a pioneer in the development of hip-hop as a mainstream musical genre. Walters was incarcerated for six years, and was released from prison in 1997. "Mr. Walters has fully served the sentence imposed upon him for his convictions, had an exemplary disciplinary record while in prison and on parole, and has been living without incident in the community for more than 10 years," said Governor Paterson. "In that time, he has volunteered at youth outreach programs to counsel youth against violence, and has become a symbol of rehabilitation for many young people. Given these demonstrated rehabilitative efforts, I urge federal immigration officials to once again grant Mr. Walters relief from deportation, so that he is not separated from his many family members who are United States citizens, including his two teenage children." Mr. Walters faces deportation under a federal statute that mandates the removal of a lawful resident alien upon conviction of an aggravated felony or a weapon offense. For certain offenses removal can be avoided by a Governor's pardon, but for weapon offenses, even after receiving a pardon, a non-citizen must seek discretionary relief from deportation from the immigration court. Mr. Walters was granted such relief by an immigration court in 1995, but that decision was later vacated because the Board of Immigration Appeals issued its decision 33 days after the expiration of a statutory deadline. Mr. Walters has been unable to re-apply for discretionary adjustment of his immigration status because of his attempted murder convictions, but he will be eligible to do so as a result of the Governor's pardon. In 1991, Mr. Walters pleaded guilty in Bronx County Supreme Court to two counts of attempted murder and eight weapons offenses arising from an incident in which Walters shot his cousin and an innocent bystander, both of whom survived the shooting. Walters' cousin had made previous threats against Walters, and Walters believed his cousin had arranged at least one previous attempt on his life. Mr. Walters, who was 25 years old at the time of the incident, was sentenced to a term of 3? to 10 years in prison. He was released to parole in 1997, and was discharged from parole supervision in 2000. In June 1995, an immigration judge terminated deportation proceedings against Walters and granted him a waiver of inadmissibility and an adjustment of status that allowed Walters to remain in this country despite his convictions. The judge's decision was based on, among other things, the "unusual and outstanding equities" of his case. Later that year, the Board of Immigration Appeals found that this relief "appears to be in the best interest of the country," but the Board later vacated its decision on a technical ground - that it had no authority to act because on the day of its decision, Walters had served five years and 33 days in prison, 33 days more than statutorily permitted for a waiver of inadmissibility. Walters' legal challenges to this decision have been unsuccessful, and he could soon be deported, unless the immigration courts agree to reconsider his request for adjustment of status in light of the Governor's pardon. Mr. Walters, who is now 43 years old, has lived in the Bronx without incident since his release from prison in 1997. He is presently employed as a landlord and rap musician. Mr. Walters has a wife and two children, all of whom are American citizens.
AP reports that Arkansas two-year and four-year colleges and universities must ask potential students if they legally live in the country, the director of the Arkansas Department of Higher Education said Thursday. A letter by Jim Purcell, sent to all colleges Thursday, came after a day after Gov. Mike Beebe's office acknowledged it did not know that admission procedures of the state's two largest schools could charge undocumented immigrants in-state tuition.
As we reported yesterday, an ICE Raid was conducted in the Canal district of San Rafael, California, throughout low income apartment buildings in San Rafael. About 200 kids were intimidated and did not go to school. It must have been very frightening to hear ICE agents pounding on each door in the apartment building as they waited inside their homes.
A young person made the video as it happened and it already is on youtube. What a world.
Want to be a part of making human rights a sustainable reality for thousands of refugees worldwide?
Volunteer with Asylum Access!
Why Do Refugees Need Help?
Asylum Access is reaching out to thousands of refugees all over the world. Traumatized by what they have already endured, often unable to speak the local language, and sometimes possessing nothing but the clothes they wear, refugees who have just fled to a new, unknown country, are especially vulnerable to violations of their legal rights. Many face immediate deportation directly into the hands of a government that threatens to torture, imprison or kill them. Many more are summarily imprisoned in the country to which they have fled. Without assistance, most of these refugees are in no position to assert their internationally-recognized rights to a safe haven, basic fairness, and a chance to rebuild their lives.
What is Asylum Access?
Asylum Access makes refugee rights a reality by providing: (1) on-the-ground legal counsel and representation for refugees in Africa, Asia and Latin America, and (2) advocating for refugee rights worldwide. We envision a world where refugees are seen as people with rights not just people with needs. Our refugee law projects are staffed by volunteer U.S. lawyers and law students (and, occasionally, other highly-qualified individuals) who provide direct legal counsel, representation and advocacy under the supervision of a local project director. Instead of merely providing humanitarian handouts, Asylum Access helps refugees assert their rights to safety, empowering them to seek employment, send children to school, and begin rebuilding their lives.
Work in First Country of Refuge. Asylum Access is the only U.S. nonprofit that gives refugees the tools to assert their legal rights where they need it most: in their first countries of refuge. Asylum Access was founded to make legal advocacy available to the thousands of refugees who would otherwise face detention, deportation, torture or death -- and to help these refugees to assert their rights to work, send their children to school, and begin rebuilding their lives, free from fear. Asylum Access addresses a critical unmet need in the world's most vulnerable population. Refugees fearing persecution or fleeing civil war usually land first in a country near their own -- in today's world, primarily somewhere in Africa, Asia or Latin America.
What Does Asylum Access Do?
Asylum Access's legal aid program gives refugees the tools they need to navigate the unfamiliar systems of local and international law. Legal aid can include legal information, advice, representation and/or related assistance to refugees seeking to assert their legal and human rights, including rights to live safely, work, put children in school, move freely and access social services.
What Can You Do?
Make human rights an on-the-ground reality. Make a real difference in real people's lives. Change the system. Be part of the solution -- an innovative, effective, sustainable solution that empowers refugees to rebuild their lives. Volunteering at an Asylum Access project in the global south is the experience of a lifetime. Our refugee law projects are staffed by volunteer U.S. lawyers, retired and practicing, law students and Paralegals who provide direct legal counsel, representation and advocacy under the supervision of a local project director. Asylum Access provides all volunteer legal advocates with an intensive training in international refugee law and refugee legal advocacy. Volunteers must cover their own expenses and commit to living and working in the global south for a period of three months or more.
Volunteer in the U.S. Asylum Access's work is only possible with the help of our dedicated volunteers in the U.S. and other parts of the global north. Volunteers can help Asylum Access with on-line research, communications, community outreach, event planning, donor relationships, graphic design, one-time volunteer opportunities and much more. To volunteer, send a resume and an email describing your volunteering preferences to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Volunteer Internationally. Asylum Access is looking for volunteer lawyers and highly-qualified law students who can commit to spending 3 months or more in Africa, Asia or Latin America, providing legal counsel and representation to refugees seeking asylum or other legal status. Volunteer legal advocates receive an intensive training in international refugee law, and practice before local offices of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees or local refugee status adjudicators. Volunteers may also have the opportunity to engage in policy advocacy at a national or international level. All volunteers are responsible for their own travel and living expenses.
Asylum Access is currently recruiting volunteer legal advocates for its ongoing refugee legal aid projects in Ecuador and Thailand. Asylum Access also expects to open other offices in Africa, Asia and Latin America in 2008 and beyond.
What are the Basic Requirements to Volunteer?
Requirements for the Legal Advocate Position are as follows:
• Previous international experience
• Attorney, law student, experienced paralegal or equivalent
• Experience working with clients in a public interest setting OR experience working with refugees or other survivors of trauma
• Ability to cover all travel and living expenses in the global south. Upon acceptance, information about potential funding resources will be provided.
• 3 month minimum commitment For Ecuador, fluency in oral and written Spanish is also required. To apply, please send a cover letter, resume, and writing sample to Executive Director Emily E. Arnold-Fernandez at email@example.com . Please specify your countries or regions of interest and the dates you are available.
For more information about Asylum Access, check our website: www.asylumaccess.org
The Kennan Institute and the Comparative Urban Studies Project (CUSP) of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars are sponsoring a conference on "Transnational Migration to New Regional Centers: Policy Challenges, Practice, and the Migrant Experience.”
The meeting will be held at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington, DC on Wednesday, June 4, 2008.
The conference will bring together leading specialists from Africa, Europe, and Central and North America to discuss how new migrant communities are transforming cities around the world. The Kennan Institute will also share its most recent research on Moscow and Kyiv as major migrant recipient centers. Several recent CUSP programs have examined the dynamic relationship between migration and urbanization, exploring how migrants are shaping the cities where they live and in turn, how urban life is transforming migrant groups. One goal of the conference is to use a comparative research approach to further the current understanding of migration.
Contact the Kennan Institute, firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-691-4100 with any questions.
Check out the Detention Watch Network for some terrific immigration-related web resources: (www.detentionwatchnetwork.org) The cite has an interactive detention map, a library of detention related materials, and KYR materials under "SOS help".
A previous Immigrant of the Day, Eddie "Piolín" (Tweety Bird) Sotelo is a Los Angeles radio personality, born in Mexico in 1972. His influential show "Piolín por la Mañana" is in Spanish on KSCA in Southern California. Sotelo has interviewed Senator Barack Obama on the show.
Sotelo has described own experience of living and working in the United States as an undocumented immigrant. Sotelo regularized his immigration status and now lives legally in Los Angeles. He urged his listeners in spring 2006 to take to the streets in the immigration marches -- and thousands listened!
Now Sotelo is a U.S. citizen! According to USA Today, record crowds of immigrants — more than 18,000 in all — took citizenship oaths in Los Angeles yesterday, a showing credited to rising fees and a heated debate over immigration. One of the many new citizens, Eduardo "Piolin" Sotelo was taking the advice he has frequently dispensed on the nation's most popular Spanish-language radio show.
Sotelo, who came to the country illegally 22 years ago in a car trunk, chronicled his own citizenship process as he urged fellow Latina/os to seek citizenship at a time when immigration is still a hot-button issue and a presidential election is underway. The need for three separate ceremonies at the Los Angeles Convention Center — a local record for the number of people sworn in one day — reflected a 350% increase in citizenship applications last summer before immigration fees jumped from $400 to $675.
McCain Supports Comprehensive Immigration Reform, GuestWorkers, More High Skilled Workers, More Enforcement . . . .
We mentioned earlier in the week John McCain's silence on immigration. While in California, McCain did address the question. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that McCain, speaking at a Silicon Valley forum on economic issues with Governor Schwarzenegger, renewed the call for "comprehensive immigration reform" as a top agenda item for the next president. He called for a "temporary agricultural program," saying, "We need a way for an ordinary person to apply for citizenship in this country in a way that they can count on and trust." McCain, asked about getting more visas for high-tech workers, acknowledged his own efforts at immigration reform, saying that "because of our failure, we're now seeing these conflicts and problems across the nation." He said the nation must secure its borders and prosecute employers of illegal immigrants - but he warned that Americans must recognize that immigrant workers "are also God's children, and we have to do it in a humane and compassionate fashion."
Timothy P. White, president of the University of Idaho, on May 15 was named chancellor of the University of California, Riverside, by the UC Board of Regents. The appointment will take effect on or before Sept. 1, 2008.
An immigrant from Argentina who attended all three systems of California public higher education and received his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley, White has three decades of experience in public research universities. He has held faculty appointments at the University of Michigan, UC Berkeley and Oregon State University, where he served as provost and executive vice president, and as president on an interim basis, before joining the University of Idaho as president in August 2004.
White, 58, has led the renewal of the University of Idaho as president, placing a focus on strategic planning, diversity, improved communication, multidisciplinary research initiatives and the fostering of a student-centered culture. His academic background is in physiology, kinesiology and human biodynamics, and he is internationally recognized for his work in muscle plasticity, injury and aging.
Born in Buenos Aires, White as a child moved with his family first to Canada and then to Northern California. He is a naturalized U.S. citizen. A first-generation college student, White began his higher education at Diablo Valley Community College in Northern California. He achieved his B.A. degree at California State University, Fresno; his M.S. degree at California State University, Hayward; and his Ph.D. at UC Berkeley. Upon completion of his Ph.D., White served as a postdoctoral scholar and then faculty member at the University of Michigan, ultimately serving as chair of the Department of Kinesiology. From 1991 to 1996 he was at UC Berkeley, serving as professor and then chair of the Department of Human Biodynamics. He subsequently joined Oregon State University, where he served as dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences. In the early 2000s he served as provost and executive vice president there, and also as president on an interim basis. The University of Idaho, in Moscow, Idaho, is the state's land-grant and flagship research institution and home to the state's only law school.
Click here for the full press release.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
An interesting presentation coming up in San Diego:
Textual Representations of the Border and Border Crossers: Constructing Latino Enemies in English Language Newspapers?
Assistant Professor of Latin American Studies, University of Aarhus (Denmark); Visiting Scholar, Center for Iberian and Latin American Studies, UCSD
Tuesday, May 27, 3:00 P.M.
Eleanor Roosevelt College Administration Building
Conference Room 115, First Floor
Reception to follow
In December 2005, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act (H.R. 4437). This bill mandated the construction of seven hundred miles of “reinforced fencing” along the U.S.-Mexican border, and it proposed making illegal immigration a felony. Even though only the Secure Fence Act has been signed into law, the passing of the bill is a clear sign of a growing concern with the perceived threats of illegal immigration. The paper examines the discursive dimensions of these trends. The aim is to study recent representations of Latinos in the New York Times and to explore discursive changes in the wake of the passage of H.R. 4437. Current research suggests that dominant stereotypes in the United States have always portrayed Latinos as cultural—or criminal—Others. Drawing on this research, the paper explores to what extent the growing concern with national security and identity has engendered any changes in these representations. To what extent are illegal immigrants seen as a threat to national security and identity? What types of identities and Others are constructed in present day newspaper representations of Latinos?
Ken Henriksen is an Assistant Professor in Latin American Studies at the University of Aarhus, Denmark. Currently he is visiting scholar at the Center for Iberian and Latin American Studies (CILAS) and at the CCIS. His areas of Research include discourse analysis, ethnicity, democratization, human rights, state formation and transnationalism. His published work has focused on ethnic relations and democratization in Nicaragua, and on the discursive representation of Latinos in the U.S. His recent publications include: ‘El dilema colectivo de los pueblos miskitos de Nicaragua en los años 90. El caso de Tasbapauni’ (with Cristopher Kindblad), and ‘Ethnic Self-Regulation and Democratic Instability on Nicaragua’s Atlantic Coast. The case of Ratisuna’. European Journal of Latin American Studies. He is the leading editor for the “Diálogos Latinoamericanos”, a biannual and trilingual journal published at the University of Aarhus.
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: email@example.com, Tel#: 858-822-4447).
Center for Comparative Immigration Studies
9500 Gilman Drive
University of California, San Diego
La Jolla, CA 92093-0548
Thursday May 22, morning: It has been confirmed that ICE is terrorizing the Canal area in San Rafael. They have been seen in a white van and black car detaining people in their homes, in the streets and even detaining people that are driving. If possible please visit this area soon so we can show some physical solidarity with the San Rafael community and our opposition to such actions. The streets where ICE has been seen are
Charlotte, Fairfax, Kerner and Sonoma.
From the Immigration Policy Center:
12 Million Reasons to be Skeptical of Deportation-Only Policies
Two New IPC Fact Sheets Review Enforcement Build-Up
On Thursday, May 22, the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border, Maritime, and Global Counterterrorism will hold a hearing on "The Border Security Challenge: Recent Developments and Legislative Proposals." As lawmakers evaluate the border-enforcement initiatives that have already been implemented by the Bush administration, and the various enforcement proposals now on the table in Congress, they would do well to keep in mind that an enforcement-only approach to border security has been tried - and failed - for more than two decades. In two new fact sheets, Money for Nothing: Immigration Enforcement Without Immigration Reform Doesn't Work and The Politics of Contradiction: Immigration Enforcement vs. Economic Integration, the IPC analyzes the escalating costs and fatal flaws of the enforcement-without-reform approach to border security. The reports point out that the number of undocumented immigrants in the United States has increased dramatically at the very same time the federal government has poured billions upon billions of dollars into border enforcement. Many U.S. taxpayers question the use of their tax dollars on failed deportation-only efforts, and are calling for fair and practical immigration reform.
Money Ill Spent: Since 1993, when the current border-enforcement buildup began, the annual budget of the U.S. Border Patrol has increased by 332 percent, to $1.6 billion, while the number of Border Patrol agents has grown by 276 percent, to 15,000. What has resulted from that build-up? The undocumented population has tripled in size over the past decade and a half, from roughly 3.5 million in 1990 to 12 million in 2006.
Border-Enforcement Backfire: U.S. border-enforcement efforts have accomplished the exact opposite of what they were supposed to achieve. Immigrants who in the past might have returned home to build a house or start a business after a few years of work in the United States are settling permanently and bringing their families with them. In fact, the Pew Hispanic Center estimates that approximately one-third of undocumented immigrants have lived in the United States for 10 years or more, 1.8 million undocumented immigrants are children, and another 3.1 million U.S.-citizen children have at least one undocumented parent.
Control Through Immigration Reform: The United States needs a legal immigration system for the 21st century that meets the needs of the U.S. economy and is consistent with U.S. values. The most practical and realistic way to dramatically reduce undocumented immigration is to bring U.S. immigration policy in line with economic and social realities. Only with comprehensive reform can the U.S. government effectively control, regulate, and monitor its borders.
Contact: Angela Kelley, Director
Michele Waslin, Senior Policy Analyst
Born in Switzerland, Gallatin immigrated to America in the 1780s, ultimately settling in Pennsylvania. He was politically active against the Federalist Party, and was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1793, but was removed from office after a protest raised by his opponents suggested he had fewer than the required nine years of citizenship. In 1795, Gallatin was elected to the House of Representatives and served in the fourth through sixth Congresses, becoming House Majority Leader. He helped found the House Committee on Finance (later the Ways and Means Committee).
When Thomas Jefferson became President, Gallatin was appointed Secretary of the Treasury. Gallatin served in that post for thirteen years, the longest term in history for that office. During the first part of his tenure, he made great progress in balancing the federal budget. The U.S. was able to make the Louisiana Purchase without a tax increase in large part due to Gallatin's efforts.
Gallatin resigned as Secretary of the Treasury to head the United States delegation for negotiations in France and was instrumental in the securing of the Treaty of Ghent, which brought the War of 1812 to a close.
At war's end, Gallatin, preferring to remain in France, was appointed United States Minister to that country and held that post for another seven years. He returned to America in 1823.
In 1849, Gallatin died in what is now the Borough of Queens, New York.
Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse reports that federal convictions in February 2008 resulting from immigration matters jumped to the highest point in recent history, according to data from the Justice Department. The total of 6,583 such convictions is nearly double what it was in the previous month, up an unprecedented 96 percent! The highly unusual spurt in the convictions of individuals charged with various immigration crimes appears to be the result of "Operation Streamline." Under this recently intensified administration policy, according to news reports and interviews with federal public defenders, the government has charged a rapidly growing number of undocumented immigrants with various federal criminal charges in selected districts along the Mexican border. "Operation Streamline" began as a pilot project in December 2005 in Del Rio, Texas.
For reports on the latest enforcement trends, click here.
In addition to providing counts of the immigration prosecutions and convictions that occurred in February, similarly timely information is available for many other categories of enforcement such as terrorism, white collar crime, official corruption, drugs, etc. Free reports are also available for major agencies such as the DEA, FBI, IRS and DHS. The February 2008 criminal data are available to TRACFED subscribers via the Express, Going Deeper and Analyzer tools. Go to http://tracfed.syr.edu for more information. Customized reports for a specific agency, district, program, lead charge or judge are available via the TRAC Data Interpreter, either as part of a TRACFED subscription or on a per-report basis. Go to http://trac.syr.edu/interpreter to start.
The N.Y. Times states in an op/ed that
"Last year, in an act of considerable political courage, New Haven began offering a municipal ID card to all residents, including illegal immigrants. The reaction from anti-immigrant forces was predictably ugly. Protesters disrupted hearings, heckled and threatened city officials and tried to intimidate businesses that supported the program, which is believed to be the first of its kind in the nation. The city has held firm. Now opponents are trying to use the state’s Freedom of Information Law to force New Haven to make public the names, addresses and photos of everyone who has an ID card. This would chill — even shut down — the program. The state’s Freedom of Information Commission, which is considering the request, should firmly deny it. The ID card — known as the Elm City Resident Card, from the city’s nickname — enables people to open bank accounts and is accepted by libraries and other municipal services. In the last 10 months, more than 5,600 people, from college students to undocumented workers have obtained them."
As Michael Olivas (Professor) says, this is an instance of the the law of immigration thermodynamics.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
We live in interesting immigration times! Last week's ICE raid of immigrant workers at a slaughterhouse in Postville, Iowa is getting much critical attention. Well, now, the Bush administration is trying to streamline a temporary worker program to make it easier to bring nonagricultural seasonal or peak load workers to the United States.
Tomorrow, the administration will publish a proposed new H-2B (nonagricultural season or peak load workers) rule in the Federal Register. Download proposed_h2b_regulations_52108.pdf Here is a summary of the intent of the proposed rule:
"The Employment and Training Administration (ETA) of the Department of Labor (DOL or the Department) are proposing changes to modernize procedures for the issuance of labor certifications issued in connection with H-2B nonimmigrants admitted to perform temporary nonagricultural labor or services, and procedures to enforce compliance with attestations made by sponsoring employers. Specifically, the proposed rule re-engineers the application filing and review process by centralizing processing and by enabling employers to conduct pre-filing United States (U.S.) worker recruitment activities. In addition, the proposed rule makes changes that will enhance the integrity of the program through the introduction of post-adjudication audits and procedures for penalizing employers who fail to meet the requirements of the H-2B Program. In addition, through this proposed rule technical changes are being made to both the H-1B and the permanent labor certification regulations to reflect operational changes stemming from this regulation. Finally, although Congress has vested the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) with the statutory authority to enforce the H-2B Program requirements and the Department possesses no independent authority for such enforcement, this proposed rule describes potential H-2B enforcement procedures the Department could institute in the event that DHS and the Department work out a mutually agreeable delegation of enforcement authority from DHS to the Department."
Supporters of the administration's recent immigration actions might find consistency in the fact that both the raids and the regs support legal migration to the United States. However, both also show the need for immigrant workers by U.S. employers. In all fairness, the administration is forced to take a piecemeal approach because Congress has failed to enact anything approaching a "comprehensive" immigration reform bill that the nation so desparately needs.
For L.A. Times commentary on the proposed regs, see here.
Learn the Latest on the New U Visa for Victims of Certain Crimes Webinar (1.5 MCLE)
2 dates to choose from:
June 4, 2008, 10:00 am - 11:30 am PDT
June 10, 2008, 10:00 am - 11:30 am PDT
LOCATION: From your office
FEES: Regular $90, Non-profit $65, IOLTA $10
A webinar is a web conference system that allows you to join ILRC trainings from the convenience of your own office via the telephone and internet. You simply dial a conference call number and click on a web link provided by the ILRC, and you will be able to learn by listening to the instructor’s lecture and watching the computer screen simultaneously.
Learn the latest and the most accurate information to assist clients applying for U nonimmigrant status! During this webinar, you will learn about: the new procedures and policies for applying for U visas; details on the definitions, changes, standards, and red flags included in the U nonimmigrant status interim regulations; where waivers are needed and how to apply for them; and strategies for helping clients apply despite prior immigration violations or criminal arrests.
Instructor: Sally Kinoshita, Deputy Director/Staff Attorney, ILRC, co-author of the ILRC publications: The VAWA Manual: Immigration Relief for Abused Immigrants; Special Immigrant Juvenile Status for Children Under Juvenile Court Jurisdiction and Immigration Benchbook for Juvenile and Family Court Judges and principal author of How to Obtain U Interim Relief: A Brief Manual for Advocates Assisting Immigrant Victims of Crime.
Register online or download registration form at www.ilrc.org/seminars
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at 415-255-9499 Ext. 789 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC)
1663 Mission St, Ste 602
San Francisco, CA 94103
NEW ORLEANS WORKERS' CENTER FOR RACIAL JUSTICE
Number of Indian hunger strikers more than doubles on Day Eight; first hospitalization expected
Indian families, 4 US cities fast in solidarity as workers appeal to US Congress
WASHINGTON, DC – On Wednesday, May 21, at 12 noon EST, a hunger strike for justice on behalf of 550 Indian labor trafficking survivors will gain a new surge of strength as six more hunger strikers join the initial five at the steps of US Congress. Workers' families in India and a network of supporters in four American cities will also hold a 24-hour solidarity fast in support of the workers.
The hunger strike, which is aimed in part at gaining continued presence in the US for the workers to participate in a criminal investigation against the US-Indian trafficking ring, also took on a new urgency as the health of one of the original five hunger strikers took a dramatic turn for the worse on Tuesday.
Hunger striker Christopher Glory's blood pressure dropped dangerously low late Tuesday, leading a doctor monitoring the group to warn that he should be promptly hospitalized if his condition does not improve to avoid the risk of his slipping into a coma. Supporters were monitoring him closely Tuesday night.
The other hunger strikers continued to be in high spirits as Day Seven of the fast ended, the first to be spent at the foot of the US Capitol Building. "We believe in our cause. We will fight for justice to the end," said hunger striker Paul Konar.
Meanwhile, workers' families prepared to launch a Wednesday solidarity fast in Cochin in front of the office of Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vyalar Ravi. US labor rights group Jobs With Justice also rallied members in four US cities—Washington, DC; Providence, RI; Buffalo, NY; and Richmond, VA—to hold a one-day fast in support of the workers.
"We are proud to support these brave Indian workers," said Sarita Gupta, Executive Director of Jobs with Justice. "Their story is emblematic of the way that so-called guest worker programs are actually indentured worker programs."
The hunger strikers were among more than 550 Indian welders and pipe fitters who paid up to $20,000 apiece for false promises of green cards and work-based permanent residency in the United States. Instead they received 10-month temporary H2B guest worker visas starting in late 2006 and worked at marine construction company Signal International under deplorable conditions.
After spending the first three days in view of the White House in Lafayette Park, the hunger strikers moved on Saturday, May 17, to the Mahatma Gandhi statue in front of the Indian Embassy. Hundreds of American visitors who lined up outside the embassy that day for the first-ever Official Indian Cultural Day spoke to the workers and expressed shock that their own government had abandoned them in their fight to protect future workers. (See photos at www.flickr.com/photos/nolaworkerscenter)
After the rally on Wednesday, a delegation of workers will challenge two US senators who want to expand the H2B guest worker visa program to visit the hunger strikers and confront the abuses of the program.
"We are inviting US Congress to take a hard look at the realities of the guest worker visa program," said Saket Soni, director of the New Orleans Workers' Center for Racial Justice. "Companies like Signal are using the program to replace well-paid US workers with exploitable, temporary guest workers. We invite the senators to come learn the truth from the workers who have lived it."
The workers are members of the Indian Workers' Congress and the Alliance of Guest Workers for Dignity, affiliates of the New Orleans Workers' Center for Racial Justice.