Saturday, July 5, 2008

Naturalization Assistance from USCIS

Many thanks to USCIS Community Relations Officer Lucee Rosemarie Fan in San Francisco for this naturalization test information:

*Spanish and Chinese translations of the 100 questions will by available online at www.uscis.gov by July 15, 2008.

*Vietnamese and Tagalog translations of the 100 questions will be available online by September 1, 2008.

*Revised Civics Flash Cards and a new product - English Vocabulary Flash Cards - will be available free online, and for purchase from the Government Printing Office, in late summer. Both sets will be color-coded red, to distinguish them from the blue flash cards for the current test.

*Updated "Quick Civics Lessons" (also color-coded red) will be online by September 1, 2008. As has been the established practice, we expect free dissemination to all naturalizations applicants reporting to the Application Support Center for their fingerprinting appointments to begin on October 1, 2008.

* For direct access to these and other information on the Redesigned Naturalization Test new test materials please save this link www.uscis.gov/newtest.  This link is already functional (please do try it!).  However, please remember that the new materials listed above will only be available on or after the dates mentioned. If for some reason the link fails to work for you, simply type it in the address box after you get to our home page.

bh

July 5, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

NPR on San Francisco's Changing "Sanctuary" Policies

NPR's Morning Edition reports on the City of San Francisco's changing policies toward immigrants convicted on crimes. City officials have been accused of shielding undocumented immigrant juvenile from federal immigration authorities. Mayor Gavin Newsom has stated that the city is changing its practice.

KJ

July 5, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, July 4, 2008

Immigrants can help fight McCain's long war

Ken Bode, a former NBC and CNN correspondent, has this advice to John McCain if he indeed plans a long war in Iraq:

You should announce today that you would offer legal, green-card immigrants a fast track to citizenship in return for overseas military service. Many would serve willingly to achieve the cherished goal of citizenship. No huge change of policy is involved. The Army is quietly doing this already. According to military statistics, 4,600 immigrants in uniform became citizens in 2005.

Announce today that as commander in chief you would order the Pentagon to deploy military recruiters overseas, open recruiting stations in Mexico City, Managua, all over Central America. We desperately need Arabic speakers for current and future wars, so recruiters should go to friendly nations in the Middle East. More Arabs in American uniforms would help solve the culture clash our soldiers now experience in Iraq. Click here for the rest of Bode's advice to McCain.

bh

July 4, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

McCain wraps us his trip to Mexico

During his recent visit, McCain talked about immigration reform but not before securing the border and cracking down on undocumented immigration. For the full story in the New York Times, click here.

ra

July 4, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Who is Watching Your International Travels (and Blog Posts?)? The State Department!

The Washington Post reports that "[g]overnment workers repeatedly snooped without authorization inside the electronic passport records of entertainers, athletes and other high-profile Americans, a State Department audit has found. One celebrity's records were breached 356 times by more than six dozen people."

KJ

July 4, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Postville Redux

We have written much about the massive ICE immigration raid in Postville, Iowa last May.  Now, the N.Y. Times reports that two supervisors at a the meatpacking plant were arrested Thursday on criminal immigration charges. Federal prosecutors said they had also issued an arrest warrant for the plant manager. They were the first employees who were not rank-and-file workers to be arrested since the round up at the plant on May 12. Unions and immigrant groups had criticized immigration officials for arresting workewrs, with no punishment of the employer.

KJ

July 4, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!

Have a great Fourth of July!

20060817095121 Statue_of_liberty_160

Click here for an upbeat July 4 story from the Big Apple!

KJ

July 4, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, July 3, 2008

New Immigration Articles

Burnett, Christina Duffy. "They say I am not an American...": the noncitizen national and the law of American empire. 48 Va. J. Int'l L. 659-718 (2008).

Chachere, Katie E. Comment. Keeping America competitive: a multilateral approach to illegal immigration reform. 49 S. Tex. L. Rev. 659-690 (2008).

Mansori, Hasan Z. Manipulating public debate: using the Patriot Act to keep out foreign scholars. 20 St. Thomas L. Rev. 205-231 (2008).

Pabon Lopez, Maria. A tale of two systems: analyzing the treatment of noncitizen families in state family law systems and under the immigration law system. 11 Harv. Latino L. Rev. 229-246 (2008).

Ramji-Nogales, Jaya. A global approach to secret evidence: how human rights law can reform our immigration system. 39 Colum. Hum. Rts. L. Rev. 287-350 (2008).

Reyes, Maritza I. Note. The Latino lawful permanent resident removal cases: a case study of Nicaragua and a call for fairness and responsibility in the administration of U.S. immigration law. 11 Harv. Latino L. Rev. 279-319 (2008).

Rodriguez, Cristina M. Latinos and immigrants. 11 Harv. Latino L. Rev. 247-262 (2008).

Vogl, Vanessa. Student article. Congress giveth, and Congress taketh away: how the arbitration and mediation clauses jeopardize the rights granted to immigrant farmworkers by AgJOBS. 29 Hamline J. Pub. L. & Pol'y 463-497 (2008).

KJ

July 3, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

SF Mayor Backs Down From "Sanctuary" Position

The Washington Post reports that "San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday that the city would begin handing over for deportation juvenile illegal immigrants with drug convictions, reversing a controversial policy of flying the youths back to their home countries at the city's expense. The flights . . . ceased this spring after the U.S. attorney threatened to prosecute officials for harboring criminals."

KJ

July 3, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Police Chief Honored for Outreach to Immigrants

The Washington, DC-based immigrant-rights group Ayuda honored Fairfax County Police Chief David M. Rohrer at its recent birthday gala. Ayuda honored Rohrer for setting a welcoming tone that encourages immigrants to seek police help when they need it, at a time when other police departments accross the nations are choosing to seek to enforce immigration laws as part of their routine duties. anish-speaking and other officers show up frequently at neighborhood meetings to build ties.  For the full story in The Wahington Post, click here.

ra

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

The Supreme Court Declines Lawsuit challenging in-state tuition for undocumented students in Kansas

Despite this setback, Kris Kobach, a University of Missouri-Kansas City Law professor who has represented the plaintiffs in the litigation, vouches to keep fighting. Kobach is also involved in litigation in California.  Currently, ten states offer in-state tuition benefits to undocumented students in addition to Kansas and California.  The others are  Illinois, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and Washington.  For the full story by the Associated Press, click here.

ra

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

Religious Leaders Call for Reform

Thanks to America's Voice for this:

An array of faith and labor leaders joined voices today at a telephonic press conference to call for a more sensible immigration policy in this country.  The assembled leaders continue to have serious questions about the May immigration raid at the Agriprocessors meatpacking plant in Postville, IA, as well as the U.S. government’s focus on the criminalization of immigrant workers instead of protecting the labor rights of all.

Gideon Aronoff, President and CEO of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society; Rosalind Spigel, Acting Director of the Jewish Labor Committee; Rev. Steve Brackett, Pastor of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church of Postville, IA; and Rabbi Morris Allen, founder of the new kosher ethical certification initiative Hekhsher Tzedek, joined with Patty Kupfer, Manager of Partnerships for America’s Voice, to discuss the treatment of workers at the Agriprocessors meatpacking plant and the need for common-sense immigration reform. 

“The immigration raid in Postville underscores why the United States needs comprehensive immigration reform, an important priority of the American Jewish community,” said Gideon Aronoff, President and CEO of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society. “Absent real reform, raids, detention and deportation are the only tools left to address immigrants.  These actions are no substitute for considered and humane policies that serve both our faith-based values and our interests as Americans.”

Rosalind Spigel, Acting Director of the Jewish Labor Committee, commented, “Just as the immigrant workers at Agriprocessors need to answer to the law, so too should the employers.  Employers who threaten and harass their workers, short their pay, put their health and safety at risk, and hire children must also be brought into compliance with the law and face the consequences of their actions.  The conditions under which documented and undocumented workers endured were clearly contrary to Jewish values.  We uneasily witness the impact of families being torn apart and held in detention on one hand, while the employers  -- after repeated violations of the law – are neither held responsible nor taken to account.”

"The ICE raid in Postville has returned Postville to the state it was in 15 years ago,” said Rev. Steve Brackett, Pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church of Postville, IA. “All of the work we have done to embrace the diversity of our community, and all of the efforts to build up our community have been destroyed overnight.”

Rabbi Morris Allen added, “What does it mean that we have begun to become a people that appears to be more concerned about the lung of a cow and to determine if the meat will be ‘glatt or non-glatt’ (types of kosher meat), and have turned a blind eye to the dignity of the worker who is processing that meat.  That is  particularly true when that worker is a non-documented worker who has no ability to give voice to the indignity they must endure.”

“The government’s handling of the Agriprocessors raid sends a strong message to undocumented workers that it simply does not pay to speak out against labor abuses and exploitation.  Rather than investigating serious allegations against the company, the government has criminalized these workers and put them on the fast-track to deportation,” said Patty Kupfer, the Manager of Partnerships for America’s Voice.  “This action simply perpetuates the broken status quo, where undocumented workers are easily exploited because speaking out could lead to deportation and separation from their families.  This gives enormous power to their employers to mistreat workers, and the government is letting them get away with it.  Agriprocessors is truly the poster child for our broken immigration system, and its story shows why we need common-sense reform of our immigration laws.”

America’s Voice is the newly-founded communications and rapid-response arm of a reinvigorated campaign to advance immigration reform.  Its goal is to build the public support and political power necessary to enact broad immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship for the estimated 12 million immigrants working and living in the U.S. without legal status.

www.americasvoiceonline.org

bh

July 3, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Was Postville Processing Kosher?

The ICE raid of Agriprocessors in Postville, Iowa, came amid fierce claims that workers were not being protected by health, wage, and safety laws. This has raised questions about whether the processing done at the plant met Jewish requirements for the kosher products that were presumably prepared at the plant. Miriam Jordan writes in the Wall Street Journal:

An immigration raid on the country's largest kosher meatpacking plant has fueled a nationwide debate in the Jewish community about what it really means to be kosher.

The debate flared after May 12 when federal immigration agents raided the country's largest kosher meatpacking plant, Agriprocessors Inc., and ultimately arrested 389 illegal immigrants.

The Postville, Iowa, plant specializes in kosher slaughter, a process that is overseen by rabbis and involves a quick, deep stroke across the throat designed to kill an animal within seconds. The closely monitored process, deemed humane by Jewish law, is designed to spare suffering. But the people doing the work were allegedly treated inhumanely. The raid, an example of the Bush administration's crackdown on industries employing illegal immigrants, exposed allegations that workers were being underpaid, physically abused, sexually harassed and extorted.

A federal investigation of the plant is under way and immigration officials declined to comment. No officials at Agriprocessors have been charged with wrongdoing, and management declined to be interviewed for this article.

The incident involving alleged mistreatment of immigrants has dismayed some Jewish leaders who say that Jews should be particularly sensitive to human suffering.

"The Jewish narrative for 2,000 years has predominantly been about our powerlessness as unprotected immigrants," says Shmuly Yanklowitz, co-founder of Uri L'Tzedek, a progressive Orthodox group. The allegations are "particularly embarrassing because of how deeply connected our religious and historical identity and universal moral mandate are to the plight of these workers."

One such worker, Joel Rucal, is a Guatemalan immigrant who worked on the chicken line before the raid. He says his mother, who also worked at the plant, was arrested and wears a monitoring device around her ankle. Mr. Rucal also listed alleged abuses in the plant including extra shifts without pay and sexual advances by supervisors.

"Sometimes we needed to use the bathroom and they didn't allow us," says Mr. Rucal. "We were afraid to say anything because it was the only job we could get."

Rabbi Weiss Mandl, top supervisory rabbi for kosher certification at the plant, says: "We were not aware of any mistreatment of workers." However, he added, "we are not involved with cutting and packing...That's not the kosher part."

But for Rabbi Morris Allen, kosher is about more than a process. The revelations at Agriprocessors have prompted the conservative rabbi from Mendota Heights, Minn., to call on consumers to avoid the company's products. The 53-year-old is founder of a movement that advocates for animal and worker welfare in kashrut, food prepared in accordance with Jewish law. Click here for the rest of the story.

bh

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

AZ Immigration Initiatives Fail to Qualify for November Ballot!

Arizona continues to be ground zero in the state regulation of immigration.  The Arizona Republic reports that two voter initiatives designed to toughen Arizona immigration laws will not appear on the November ballot.  The measures each failed to collect the 153,365 petition signatures required to put the proposed measures before voters on Nov. 4.

One initiative, Support Our Law Enforcement, would have required law enforcement officials to inquire about the citizenship status of people they encounter while on the job.

The second initiative, Legal Arizona Workers, would have revoked the business license the first time an employer is caught knowingly hiring an illegal immigrant. The current Fair and Legal Employment Act allow two strikes before businesses lose their license.

The failure of the employer sanctions initiative clears the way for a competing business-friendly measure, which is expected to appear on the fall ballot. The Stop Illegal Hiring initiative, which would provide more protections for businesses while targeting the pay-in-cash labor market and identity theft, submitted signatures to the Secretary of State's Office on Tuesday.

KJ

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

Immigrant of the Day: Elizabeth Blackwell (England)

225pxelizabeth_blackwell Elizabeth Blackwell (1821–1910) was an abolitionist, women's rights activist, and the first female doctor in the United States. She was the first woman to graduate from medical school (M.D.) and a pioneer in educating women in medicine.

Blackwell was born on February 3, 1821 in Bristol, England.  In 1832, the family immigrated to the United States.

Blackwell attended Geneva Medical College in New York.  On January 11, 1849, she became the first woman to earn a medical degree in the United States, graduating at the top of her class. In 1857 Elizabeth along with her sister Emily and Dr. Marie Zakrzewska, founded their own infirmary, named the New York Infirmary for Indigent Women and Children. During the Civil War, Elizabeth trained many women to be nurses and sent them to the Union Army.

After the war, Elizabeth had time, in 1868, to establish a Women's Medical College at the Infirmary to train women, physicians, and doctors. In 1869 she left her sister Emily in charge of the College and returned to England. There, with Florence Nightingale, she opened the Women's Medical College. Blackwell taught at the newly created London School of Medicine for Women and accepted a chair in gynecology. She was also the first female physician and doctor in the UK Medical Register.

KJ

July 3, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Alberto Gonzales and the Presidential Race

225pxalberto_gonzales__official_doj In "What Latinos want from their president:  Any candidate who wants to attract this crucial voting bloc must address racial equality" in the L.A. Times today, former U.S. Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales analyzes the Presidential campaign.  He identifies immigration as an issue of importance to many Latinos: 

"Latino support will swing to the political party that has the courage and fortitude to put forward a specific immigration solution that is effective and efficient in securing our borders, that supports the economic interests of the nation and that is compassionate in a way that is consistent with the character of a nation of immigrants."

KJ

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

The Rustbelt Needs Immigrants

Thanks to Richard Herman for this:

In Sunday's Cleveland Plain Dealer, Associate Editor Joe Frolik wrote a piece outlining the top reasons to be worried about Cleveland's economic future:

"#1.  Skills gap:

An underprepared work force makes it hard for tech-based firms (including advanced manufacturers) -- to find employees. So thousands of good jobs go vacant.

#2.  Closed doors:
Immigrants revitalize cities and open them to the world marketplace. Yet this region has no political will, let alone a strategy, to attract them."
-----
Clearly, #1 and #2 are related.

As the region continues to lack the political will to even discuss the opportunities of increased immigration to Northeast Ohio, other regions get things moving in the right direction:

http://burghdiaspora.blogspot.com/2008/06/h-1b-geographic-loopholes.html

http://blogs.computerworld.com/why_guam_is_exempt_from_h_1b_cap

See also this.
--------

The Milken Institute recently recently released its  2008 State Technology & Science Index.  The Index sets fortth the reason why Ohio needs an injection of high tech talent, innovation and entrepreneurship ----  now. 

Overall, Ohio was 36th in the Index.

In sub-categories of the Index, Ohio is:

41st in percentage of population ages 25+ with Ph.Ds
40th in percentage of bachelor's degrees granted in science or engineering
49th in number of business start-ups per 100,000 people
49th in average yearly growth in high-tech industries
46th in R&D on environmental science per capita
48th in R&D on agricultural science per capita
45th in National Science Foundation funding
40th in per capital state expenditures for higher education
50th in number of high-tech industries with location quotient higher than 1
39th in total venture capital investment growth

Welcoming talent, international or otherwise, should be a priority for any state that wishes to compete in a global, knowledge-based economy.

If Ohio is going to turn around its economic downward spiral, it should be developing partnerships with neighboring rustbelt states to co-develop international human capital strategies and lobby Congress for legislative change that offers immigration incentives to attract immigrant talent, entrepreneurs and capital to the rustbelt region.

Richard Herman, Esq.
Cleveland, Ohio

bh

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

Immigrant of the Day: Inbee Park (South Korea)

Pp_park_inbee_lg Inbee Park (b. July 12, 1988, in Seoul) is a professional golfer.

Park began playing golf at the age of 10. After moving to the United States, she won nine events on the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) circuit and was a five-time Rolex Junior All-American. She was a semifinalist at the 2003 U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship. Park won the 2002 U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship and finished as runner-up in both 2003 and 2005

In 2006, after graduating from high school, Nevada, Park appealed to the LPGA for permission to attempt to qualify for the LPGA as a 17-year old. LPGA rules generally require that a player be 18 to join the Tour. The LPGA denied Park's request, so she enrolled at the University of Nevada Las Vegas but soon after dropped out and turned professional, playing on the Duramed FUTURES Tour where the age of entry had recently been lowered to 17.  In 2006, Park recorded 11 top-10 finishes on the FUTURES Tour. She finished third on the FUTURES Tour season-ending money list to earn exempt status on the LPGA Tour for the 2007 season.

During the 2007 season, Park tied for fourth at the U.S. Women's Open and tied for second at the Safeway Classic.

On 29 June 2008, Park won the U.S. Women's Open at Interlachen Country Club in Edina, Minnesota for her first LPGA win. At 19, she was the youngest player to win the title. In four rounds, she shot 72-69-71-71 to score 9-under-par, winning the tournament by 4 strokes.

For more about Inbee Park, click here.

July 2, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Mandela Finally Dropped From Terroist Watchlist

Nelson Mandela will be turning 90 this month. After 3 long decades, his African National Congress that opposed apartheid in South Africa, is finally being dropped from the U.S. terrorist watchlist. AFP reports:

The United States has removed former South African president Nelson Mandela and his African National Congress from a three-decade old immigration watch list for possible terrorists, the White House said Tuesday.

In time for the anti-apartheid leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner's 90th birthday on July 18, President George W. Bush signed a bill Tuesday which effectively ended a system in which Mandela had to get special certification from the US secretary of state that he is not a terrorist in order to visit the United States.

Now Mandela and members of the ANC will be able to simply apply for visas to travel to the United States, the State Department said.

"Today the United States finally has removed from its legal code a vestige of that time of collective insults against human dignity," said House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman, one of the bill's supporters.

"The label of 'terrorist' will no longer be affixed to associates of the ANC -- among them one of the world's great heroes, Nelson Mandela. Our country stands with those who struggled to bring the reprehensible system of apartheid to an end," Berman said.

The measure authorizes US officials "to determine that provisions in the Immigration and Nationality Act that render aliens inadmissible due to terrorist or criminal activities would not apply with respect to activities undertaken in association with the African National Congress in opposition to apartheid rule in South Africa."

Mandela won the Nobel peace price in 1993, and was president of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. Click here for the full story.

bh

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

Stephen K. Fischel RIP

Fischel AILA Mourns Another Deep Loss

by Jonathan Ginsburg

Stephen K. Fischel, AILA member and friend to us all, died Saturday, June 28, 2008, after collapsing two days before in the lobby of an AILA convention hotel in Vancouver, Canada. He was surrounded by friends to the end.

A dedicated and tenacious public servant for over 30 years with the Department of State, Mr. Fischel maintained an unrivaled standard of integrity, professionalism, and collegiality, though he was as tough on defense at State as he was in his revered game of hockey. Fischie (his preferred appellation) retired from government service as Chief of the Office of Legislation, Regulations, and Advisory Assistance with the Visa Office. A principal negotiator of NAFTA’s immigration provisions, the US-Mexico migration talks, and the Memorandum of Understanding between State and the Department of Homeland Security respecting visa policy under the Homeland Security Act, he displayed in these efforts, as everywhere in his public service and professional life, characteristic leadership, surpassing legal skill and knowledge, common sense, integrity, and abiding courage. Fischie generously shared his knowledge and insight with AILA, both as a government official—he attended virtually every annual conference and a great many others as well—and, after retiring, as an active AILA member and dedicated contributor to AILF programs. Beyond his professional dedication lay his deep devotion to his parents, now deceased, his brother and his family, to MaryEllen Lannon, to his hockey teammates, and to his many, many friends, with whom he freely shared his passion for skiing, hockey, the blues and, most especially, wine. Let us raise a glass to our warm, funny, flirtatious friend, and remember him always, at the hotel bar, late at night, or, for that matter, not so late at night, surrounded by us, holding forth, laughing uproariously, enjoying life, giving of himself.

Goodbye, dear friend.

KJ

July 1, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)