Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Problems of Local Enforcement of the Immigration Laws: Chapter 1001

Julia Preston of the NY Times reports on a story that demonstrates some of the excesses that may result when local police enforce the immigration laws.


July 19, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)


Statue_of_liberty_01 The U.S. evidently understands global competition in athletics.  Indeed, 33 foreign-born elite athletes will reprsent Team USA in the 2008 Summer Olympics in China.  The men's 1,500-meter squad includes Kenya-born Bernard Lagat, Lopez Lomong (Sudan), and Leo Manzano (Mexico).

Maybe we can learn something about improving our competitive economic edge generally in the global economy from Team USA!


July 19, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Immigrant Groups and Election 2008

The New American Media discusses how a wide variety of pro- and anti-immigrant groups are seeking to influence this year’s election cycle—some through traditional activities like marches and voter registration efforts, while others are injecting cash directly into political campaigns.


July 19, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Gatekeeper Haiku

Simple desert jog
Clarifies what we suspect
Gatekeeper murders

I'm in Arizona to attend the 80th birthday of my oldest brother. Around 7 a.m., I tried to go for my typical morning jog here in the desert. The heat and immediate exhaustion that quickly struck were unbearable. Yet everyday, DHS continues Operation Gatekeeper along the border forcing border crossers to the most treacherous routes. As a result, hundreds die every year.  Operation Gatekeeper must end. The need to expand labor and family migration categories and visas is clear.


July 19, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack (1)

French Administrative Court: Wear a Veil, Citizenship Denied!

The New York Times has a story today about a Morrocan immigrant denied French citizenship by France's highest administrative court for wearing the veil:

"But last month, France’s highest administrative court upheld a decision to deny citizenship to Ms. Silmi, 32, on the ground that her “radical” practice of Islam was incompatible with French values like equality of the sexes.

It was the first time that a French court had judged someone’s capacity to be assimilated into France based on private religious practice, taking laïcité — the country’s strict concept of secularism — from the public sphere into the home."


July 19, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, July 18, 2008

Circuit split widens: Ninth Circuit on "aggravated identity theft"

"Today we join the D.C. Circuit in holding that the crime of aggravated
identity theft, 18 U.S.C. § 1028A(a)(1), requires proof that, among other
things, the defendant knew that the means of identification belonged to
another person. It is not enough to prove only that the defendant knew he
was using a false document."

U.S. v. Miranda-Lopez, July 17, 2008.


July 18, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Connecticut ID Case

A decision last week by Connecticut's Freedom of Information Commission preserves, at least for the time being, a controversial pact of confidentiality between the city of New Haven and thousands of undocumented immigrants who hold municipal identification cards allowing them access to banks and public services.  For the full story in the New York Law Journal, click here.


July 18, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Oppose Rule on Basic Pilot/E-Verify System






The federal government has issued a proposed federal rule that would require at least 200,000 federal contractors to use the Basic Pilot/E-Verify program to verify all of their newly-hired employees and some of their existing employees.  This will affect about 4 million employees. Although the proposed rule only applies to companies with federal contracts, mandating the use of a system that doesn't work will be disastrous for everyone in the U.S., not just federal contractors.


    * The proposed rule violates existing federal law which states the program is voluntary and can't be used to re-verify current employees
    * The proposed rule requires the use of a program that is severely flawed and has substantial rates of employer abuse and discrimination
    * Lawful immigrant and U.S. citizen workers will be harmed and lose their jobs
    * The proposed rule ignores the fact that we need to fix our immigration system by giving people a path to legal status

Go the website of the National Immigration Law Center (NILC.ORG) for examples of model comments which we encourage you to use as a template. Please personalize the comments!



July 18, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

New State-Level Research Debunks the Myth of Immigrant Criminality

From the Immigration Policy Center:

The persistent myth that immigrants are more prone to criminality than the native-born continues to circulate among politicians, commentators, and the public despite a century's worth of contrary evidence (see IPC's Immigrants and Crime: Are They Connected?, December 2007). Recent data from New Jersey and California once again confirm what researchers have found repeatedly over the past 100 years:

immigrants are less likely than the native-born to be in prison, and high rates of immigration are not associated with higher rates of crime.

Nationally, Immigrants are Five Times Less Likely to be in Prison Than the Native-Born: A 2007 study by University of California, Irvine, sociologist Rubén G. Rumbaut found that the 3.5 percent incarceration rate for native-born men age 18-39 was five times higher than the 0.7 percent rate for immigrant men in 2000. Among native-born male high-school dropouts, 9.8 percent were behind bars in 2000, compared to only 1.3 percent of immigrant dropouts.

State-Level Research in New Jersey and California Finds Immigrants Less Likely to be Behind Bars Than the Native-Born

An analysis of data from the New Jersey Department of Corrections and U.S. Census Bureau by New Jersey's Star-Ledger found that "U.S. citizens are twice as likely to land in New Jersey's prisons as legal and illegal immigrants." According to the Star-Ledger's analysis, "non-U.S. citizens make up 10 percent of the state's overall population, but just 5 percent of the 22,623 inmates in prison as of July 2007" (Brian Donohue, "Citizens twice as likely to land in NJ prisons as legal, illegal immigrants," The Star-Ledger, April 12, 2008). The Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) reports that foreign-born adults in California have lower incarceration rates than their native-born counterparts.

Based on data from 2005, PPIC finds that "the incarceration rate for foreign-born adults is 297 per 100,000 in the population, compared to 813 per 100,000 for U.S.-born adults. The foreign-born, who make up roughly 35% of California's adult population, constitute 17% of the state prison population, a proportion that has remained fairly constant since 1990" ("Immigrants and Crime," Public Policy Institute of California, June 2008).

Immigration Violations, Not Violent Acts, Account for Federal Incarceration Rates: Opponents of immigration are quick to point out that non-U.S. citizens are over-represented in the federal prison system. However, the PPIC fact sheet points out that this is "due in part to the fact that immigration violations are prosecuted under federal jurisdiction." Even if an immigrant is detained for a non-violent offense, such as not filing a change-of-address form with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or over-staying a visa, he or she enters the federal prison system. Moreover, refugees who do not file an application for adjustment of status (a "green card") within one year of arriving in the United States can be detained until their green-card applications are approved. As a result, many non-citizens are in federal prison for violations of immigration law even if they have never committed a violent or even a criminal offense. The vast majority of prisoners in the United States are not in federal prisons. In 2005, the federal prison system contained only 8 percent of the nation's inmates.

The Myth of Immigrant Criminality Persists Among Both Policymakers and the Public

The PPIC fact sheet notes that, despite the weight of the evidence, a 2006 national poll found that only 12 percent of adults correctly believed that immigrants were less likely than natives to be involved in crime. Ramiro Martínez, Jr., Professor of Criminal Justice at Florida International University, notes that "most scholars dispute assertions connecting surges in immigration to escalating violence." Yet, "the contemporary immigration debate largely ignores research...contradicting stereotypes that immigrants are crime-prone" ("The Impact of Immigration Policy on Criminological Research," Criminology and Public Policy, vol. 7, issue 1, February 2008, pp. 53-58).

Anne Morrison Piehl, a Professor of Economics at Rutgers University who researches immigration and crime, told the Star-Ledger, "I first got into this because I heard all these terrible complaints that immigrants were a big part of the crime problem." But she soon discovered that "when you look at incarceration rates, you find immigrants much less likely than the native born to be incarcerated." Immigrant Experience Sheds Light on Less Crime-Prone Reality According to Piehl, because of the high levels of motivation and sacrifice that immigration requires, immigrants may be a "self selected" group of people who are less likely to become involved in crime, and may be especially motivated to not break the law once they get here so as not to risk deportation. As Kristin Butcher, an Associate Professor of Economics at Wellesley College, told The Sacramento Bee, "If you are coming to support your family, you don't want to get sent back for some graffiti violations" (Susan Ferriss, "Prison rates far lower for immigrants, study finds," The Sacramento Bee, February 26, 2008).


July 18, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Emmy Nomination for Sentenced Home

SENTENCED HOME, the documentary on the deportation of Cambodian refugees in the U.S. convicted of aggravated felonies, has been nominated for an Emmy!

Category: OUTSTANDING INFORMATIONAL PROGRAMMING ‑ LONG FORM (that’s Emmy-speak for “documentary”)

The awards ceremony for the News and Documentary Emmys is September 22 in NYC...

Congratulations to the entire filmmaking team and all partners who helped make this film possible,
including ITVS, the Center for Asian American Media, and the Sundance Documentary Fund.

It’s quite an accomplishment!


July 18, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Former Top Criminal Prosecutor on Terrorism Watch List

The ABA has a story it its weekly that has been making the rounds.  Jim Robinson, who oversaw the Justice Department’s criminal division during the Clinton administration, apparently is on the government’s terrorism watch list. Robinson says he is often delayed at airports because his name is mistakenly on the list. Robinson is joining the American Civil Liberties Union in calling on the government to fix the list. The ACLU is seeking changes that include a right to access and challenge data that led to placement on the list, strict criteria for adding names to the list, and rigorous procedures for updating and cleaning up the list.

July 18, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Voices from Detention: A Report on Human Rights Violations at the Northwest Detention Center

ExtdetcenterThe findings of Voices from Detention: A Report on Human Rights Violations at the Northwest Detention Center (NWDC) confirm human rights abuses are taking place at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility on the tide flats of Tacoma. This report is one of the first of its kind to measure conditions at a detention center with international human rights legal standards and U.S. Constitutional protections.

The report is a collaboration between OneAmerica, a nonprofit organization advancing immigrant, civil and human rights in Seattle and the Seattle University School of Law International Human Rights Clinic.

The study can be downloaded at Download detention20center20study1.txt


July 17, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

More on McCain's Citizenship

Click here to read today's New York Time's op-ed column on John McCain's citizenship and eligibility to be president by Michael I. Meyerson, professor of constitutional law at the University of Baltimore School of Law and author of "Liberty's Blueprint: How Madison and Hamilton Wrote The Federalist Papers, Defined the Constitution and Made Democracy Safe for the World."


July 17, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Immigrant of the Day: Brigadier General Robert L. “Bob” Cardenas (Mexico)

300pxrobert_l_cardenas_1969 Cardenasportrait

Robert “Bob” L. Cardenas (born March 10, 1920) is a retired Brigadier General of the United States Air Force.

He was born in Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico. When he was five, his family moved to San Diego, California.\

In 1939, while attending San Diego State, he decided to enlist as a private in the California National Guard. In 1940, General Cardenas became an aviation cadet. He graduated, received his pilot wings and was commission a second lieutenant in the Army Air Corps in July of 1941. In 1942, he was sent to Twentynine Palms, California to help establish the Army Air Corps Glider School.

In 1944, he was assigned to the 506th Bombardment Squadron, 44th Bomb Group, also known the Flying 8-balls based in RAF Shipdham, England.

In November 1944, he attended Central Instructors School for B-24 at Smyrna, Tennessee. After graduation he became a test pilot and was then assigned to Wright Field, Ohio. While at Wright Field, he attended Experimental Flight Test School and later became assistant chief, Bomber Section, and chief, Bomber Operations Section, Flight Test Division.

In1945, he started piloting experimental aircraft. He piloted a captured German jet fighter, the Messerschmitt Me 262 and the Arado Ar 234 bomber. Cardenas also piloted the XB-42 Mixmaster and XB-43 Jetmaster. He was assigned chief test pilot for bomber aircraft and flew all prototypes of that class for the next four years. In 1947, he was assigned the Officer in Charge of Operations and was the command pilot for the B-29 Superfortress that launched Captain Chuck Yeager in the supersonic experimental aircraft, Bell X-1. Then in 1948, Major Cardenas was the Officer in Charge of Flight Test Division at Muroc Air Force Base and was Chief Air Force Test Pilot of the Northrop YB-49 flying wing. During the Korean War, he was assigned to Wright Field and Edwards AFB testing new fighters and bombers.

During the Vietnam War, Cardinas flew F-105 Thunderchief combat missions and then assigned to McConnell AFB as a trainer for the F-105. In 1968, Colonel Cardinas was promoted to Brigadier General and assigned to Command of the Air Force Special Operations Force at Eglin Air Force Base. Following his assignment to Eglin AFB, he became Vice Commander of the 16th Air Force in Spain. There he negotiated with Muammar al-Gaddafi the withdrawal of US forces from Wheelus Air Base in Libya. After his assignment in Spain, General Cardenas was assigned to Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) in Belgium. At SHAPE, he was the U.S. Deputy to LIVE OAK, a code name for joint military planning operation of the United States, Great Britain and France in response to the Soviet blockade and interference of Western access to Berlin. His final duty assignment was Chief of National Strategic Target List Division, Joint Strategic Target Planning Staff, at Offutt AFB, Nebraska. He retired from the Air Force as a Brigadier General in 1973.


July 17, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Scenes from the Border -- July 2008

Teresa_4 Teresa3 Teresa1 Teresa2

UC San Diego summer student Teresa Johnson took these pictures at the border in San Ysidro, CA last week.  It should all make us pause to think of what kind of world we are creating.


July 17, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Alberta, Canada Competes for High Skilled Workers in the Global Economy; U.S. Lags

A reader's tip:  Alberta, Canada is actively recruiting high skilled H1b workers in the U.S discouraged by waiting years for a green card), by promising expedited Permanent Residency in Canada.  As Greg Siskind suggests on his immigration blog.


July 17, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Joe Arpaio, "America's Toughest Sheriff," Sued for Racial Profiling

We have blogged previously about Arizona's Joe Arpaio, known as America's Toughest Sheriff."  As NPR has reported, Sheriff Joe has done such thingas as make inmates wear pink underwear. The undergarments are only one of Arpaio's many "innovative" jail policies, which include outdoor confinement, poor quality food, and the like.  According to NPR, Arpaio's "extreme tactics — many of which specifically target illegal immigrants — have kept him in the news pretty much since he took office back in 1993."

Yesterday, an Amended Complaint was filed on behalf of five individuals (including the original named Plaintiff Mr. Ortega) and community group Somos America. This case was originally filed as a class action lawsuit in December 2007 alleging racial profiling by Maricopa County and Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

All Plaintiffs seek declaratory and injunctive relief against Defendants for violations of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution; unreasonable search and seizure under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution; violation of Article II, § 8 of the Arizona Constitution; and violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The lawsuit alleges that Defendants have engaged in a widespread pattern and practice of racial profiling and other racially and ethnically discriminatory treatment in an illegal, improper and unauthorized attempt to “enforce” federal immigration laws against large numbers of Latino persons in Maricopa County without regard for actual citizenship or valid immigration status. Claiming authority under a limited agreement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that actually prohibits the practices challenged here, Defendants have launched a series of massive so-called “crime suppression sweeps” that show a law enforcement agency operating well beyond the bounds of the law. During these sweeps, which have shown no signs of abating since Defendants began them in September 2007, large numbers of Maricopa County Sheriff Department officers and volunteer “posse” members under Defendants’ direction and control have targeted Latino persons for investigation of immigration status, using pretextual and unfounded stops, racially motivated questioning, searches and other mistreatment, and often baseless arrests. Defendants’ pattern and practice of racial profiling goes beyond these sweeps to include widespread, day-to-day targeting and mistreatment of persons who appear to be Latino. After various groups challenged the anti-solicitation ordinance of Cave Creek, a town in Maricopa County, Sheriff Arpaio targeted for stops day laborers and others who appeared to be Latino in Cave Creek. The racial profiling lawsuit alleges that each putative class member has been or will be subjected to arbitrary, racially-discriminatory stops, questioning, detention, arrests and/or searches conducted by Defendants.

The Complaint and press release are Download Filed_First_AMD_CM_07-16-08.pdf Download Sheriff_Arpaio_Press_Release.doc  The complaint also is online at

Lawyers on the case include Goldfaden and Mónica M. Ramírez of the ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project; Pochoda of the ACLU of Arizona; Campbell and Nancy Ramirez of MALDEF; and Bodney, Peter Kozinets, Karen Hartman-Tellez and Isaac Hernandez of Steptoe & Johnson LLP.


July 17, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)

Shocking News! Criminal Immigration Prosecutions in Border Region Go Up, Up, and Up!

The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University reported that immigration cases make up more than half (58%) of all federal prosecutions in April 2008. TRAC said that "The very heavy federal emphasis on immigration cases became especially notable in February, March and April and is concentrated in selected judicial districts along the border with Mexico. The surge in this area is being advanced under a program called `Operation Streamline.'"


July 17, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

U.S. Should Not Execute Mexicans on Death Row

The US has been advised not to execute five Mexican nationals on death row by the International Court of Justice. The BBC reports:

The ICJ - the UN's highest court - had previously ruled that the men had been denied the right to help from their consulate after their arrests.

A 2005 ruling by President George W Bush that the cases should be reviewed was overturned by the US Supreme Court.

But the Hague-based court told the US it should not execute the men before it made its final judgement.

In a majority ruling, the ICJ said the US should "take all measures necessary to ensure (they) are not executed pending judgment... unless and until these five Mexican nationals receive review and reconsideration (of their sentences)".

Jorge Lomonaco Tonda, representing Mexico at the court, said: "The Mexican government is satisfied with the ruling of the court... we have full confidence that the ruling will be applied."

The five are among 51 Mexicans on death row in the United States who were not told after arrest that they were entitled to assistance from Mexican consulates - in violation of the 1963 Vienna Convention.

All five are currently on death row in Texas. Click here for the rest of the story.


July 16, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Border Stories Film Project

I share with you an e-mail we received telling us about an exciting project filming border stories.  I visited the website and viewed some of the videos, some of which I plan to use when I teach my immigration class.


Two colleagues and myself have recently completed a trip along all 2000 miles of the U.S.- Mexico border compiling a series of video shorts aimed at deepening understanding of the border region and its complex challenges.  The result is an ongoing web-based video documentary called Border Stories.  Each video (approximately 5 minutes each) focuses closely on one issue at a time, with the story told only through the use of one or two interview subjects.  We do not use music unless it is part of the story, we do not use voice over to provide further context, and there is no crosscutting between subjects of opposing viewpoints.  It is our hope to create a mosaic with each of these stories, one that will be an honest, rational, and fair portrayal of the highly politicized subject that is the border.

That said, we are currently reaching out to media organizations and publications to help us get our stories to a wider audience.  We recently had a write-up in the Tucson Weekly that may give you a better sense of what we're about, our about page also touches on the subject.   
We are open to any ideas you have about how our websites can collaborate, any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks for your time,
Ben Fundis



July 16, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)