August 23, 2008
ICE Raids Coming in Mississippi
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, August 22, 2008
Patricia Ice-office 601-354-9355
Bill Chandler-office 601-968-5182
JACKSON, MS - A series of preparations by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on the Gulf Coast has local advocates on edge about the possibility of yet another worksite raid, and yet another devastating blow to businesses, families and communities in the name of immigration enforcement.
"The preparations we are seeing ICE make are alarmingly similar to what occurred immediately prior to the raid on the Agriprocessors, Inc. Kosher meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa, a few months ago, " said Patricia Ice, an immigration attorney and spokesperson for MIRA. ICE has reportedly booked dozens of rooms in hotels on the Gulf Coast. They may be checking in as early as tonight.
Perhaps even more worrisome are the reports that the federal court in Hattiesburg is being readied for a response similar to the response to the raid in Postville, when nearly 400 plant workers were arrested on trumped up identity theft charges, and slammed through criminal prosecution and judicial removal (being forced to waive all their criminal defense and immigration claims) within just days of the raid.
"What happened in Postville was an absolute travesty of justice that must never happen again," said Ms. Ice. "ICE must assure that any future enforcement actions are conducted in a humane manner and that detainees are permitted their constitutional rights to due process and to legal counsel."
With all the signs pointing to an impending raid, Ms Ice, other staff and local leaders are working quickly to identify possible targets, educate workers and assemble a team of attorneys to offset the burden on public defenders and provide immigration advice.
The Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance (MIRA) is a membership-based alliance which guarantees the human rights of immigrants and all workers in Mississippi. MIRA works to support immigrants in the exercise of their rights through providing services, organizing, advocacy and public education.
Obama Selects Senator Joe Biden as Running Mate
It is "old" news now but Senator Barack Obama has selected Senator Joe Biden as his running mate. I would be interested in what our readers think about Biden on immigration issues. Any thoughts?
Here is the Obama message to supporters about his VP pick:
From the Bookshelves: The Accidental American
Anil Kalhan (Drexel) has an interview on SAJA Forum of Rinku Sen, author of a new book, "The Accidental American: Immigration and Citizenship in the Age of Globalization." In the book, Sen, along with Fekkak Mamdouh, narrates the story of the Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York, an organization that supports and organizes workers in New York's restaurant industry. Professor Kalhan poses five questions for Sen.
August 22, 2008
What Would Team USA Be Without Immigrants?
We have mentioned a few times (and here) the number of immigrant members of the US Olympic team. Wrestling gold medalist Henry Cejudo’s parents were undocumented immigrants from Mexico; decathlon gold medalist Brian Clay’s mother is an immigrant from Japan, and there are many more examples. Thirty-three American athletes are themselves immigrants, including flag bearer Lopez Lamong, beach volleyball player Phil Dalhausser, and gymnasts Nastia Liukin, and Alexander Artemev. Some of our American athletes, like gymnast Raj Bhavsar, are also getting attention in the home countries of their parents. Paul Waldman, a columnist for the American Prospect, wrote about his impressions of the diversity of the American team here, and the Center for American Progress wrote about immigrant American Olympians here.
Latina/os and the Presidential Election
Destination Casa Blanca 2008: The Latino Voice in the Presidential Election offrers some thoughts on pressing issues for Latina/os in election 2008. It has videos on a number of issues, including immigration.
Who Would Have Guessed? ImmigrationProf Blog, Of Course -- Department of Homeland Security scraps self-deport program
From the announcement of Operation Scheduled Departure, we have been very skeptical (and here) of this new program. And we were right! "The federal government will scrap a program for illegal immigrants to turn themselves in for deportation after only eight people volunteered during a nearly three-week trial, an official said Thursday." Washington Post, Aug. 21, 2008 (emphasis added). The reason offered by the government: "The bottom line is it is not effective."
I am stunned! With little incentive to self deport, and little chance of being detected and removed if they didn't, why didn't 12 million people rush to report to ICE and agree to leave, family, friends, jobs, and community in the United States?
Know Your Rights Materials for Youth
A Know Your Rights & Responsibilities Resource for Immigrant Youth
Immigration issues are tricky. There are many ways in which your immigration status – whether you're a green card holder or undocumented – can impact your ability to get a job, go to college, or even remain in the United States. That's why the Immigrant Legal Resource Center created this resource especially for immigrant youth.
The newly released Spanish version can be downloaded at:
The newly released Korean version can be downloaded at:
The English version can be downloaded at:
PBS Video on Border Fence
The PBS show Now has a a show on "The Border Fence," which studies whether America's expanded border fence is working. NOW travels to Texas to meet families on the U.S.-Mexico border who fear losing their property, their safety, and their way of life. Texas locals do not seem to be big fans of the fence.
Dan Kowalski thinks that the video is an essential view for immigration students.
On Improving Refugee Law
Professor Won Kidane has an interesting article analyzing the effectiveness of international refugee law and recommends some improvements. "An Injury to the Citizen, a Pleasure to the State: A Peculiar Challenge to the Enforcement of International Refugee Law" WON KIDANE, Seattle University School of Law
Abstract: It is a well-established principle of international law that an injury to the citizen is an injury to the state of his or her nationality. Ordinarily, if a non-citizen is injured by the acts of a host state, the state of his or her nationality would see redress. By definition a refugee maintains no such relationship. The refugee not only has severed his relationship with the country of his nationality or habitual residence but also fears being persecuted by the government of that country. If that refugee is injured in a country where he sought refuge, then the country of origin that would have sought redress under normal diplomatic and consular situations certainly would be unwilling or even might be pleased to see the injury occur. A refugee could be injured in his country of refuge in many different ways. One of the most serious and common injuries that refugee could sustain occurs when the refugee is sent back to a place where he may face persecution. Under normal circumstances, that is exactly what the country of origin wishes. Generally, this could happen in two different ways: either with full intent and purpose or because of faulty administrative and/or judicial sanction. The consequence's of both are absolutely identical. Upon return to his country of origin, the refugee may face severe treatment including death. Countries wil well-established systems of asylum adjudication rarely fall under the first category; however, they almost always cannot avoid falling under the second. The article intends to demonstrate the inherent problems of refugee law that make it almost impossible to avoid some faulty administrative and judicial decisions and suggests remedial measures that would help alleviate some of the serious consequences. The problem of the law of refugee status starts with the definition of a refugee itself. Part I of this article highlights the historical underpinnings of the legal definition of a refugee and puts the political compromise that went into crafting the criteria for refugee status into perspective. Part II deals with the challenges associated with the interpretation of each element of the substantive definition of the Refugee Convention as well as problems of exclusion and cessation of refugee status under the Refugee Convention. Part III critically examines the challenges in defining and applying the burden and standard of proof in refugee status determination proceedings (asylum proceedings), which perhaps is the most serious of all challenges. In Part IV, this article highlights the lack of concrete remedies for erroneous decisions and suggests alternative domestic and international remedies to limit the execution of erroneous decisions and mitigate the consequences of refoulement. This article concludes with a summary of observations and recommendation for moving forward.
August 21, 2008
New Book: "Illegal People"
David Bacon, Illegal People How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants (available sept. 1);
For a schedule of coming book discussions and photography exhibitions, go to: http://dbacon.igc.org/IndexPS/schedule.html
In Illegal People, Bacon explores the human side of globalization, exposing the many ways it uproots people in Latin America and Asia, driving them to migrate. At the same time, U.S. immigration policy makes the labor of those displaced people a crime in the United States. Illegal People explains why our national policy produces even more displacement, more migration, more immigration raids, and a more divided, polarized society. Through interviews and on-the-spot reporting from both impoverished communities abroad and American immigrant workplaces and neighborhoods, Bacon shows how the United States' trade and economic policy abroad, in seeking to create a favorable investment climate for large corporations, creates conditions to displace communities and set migration into motion. Trade policy and immigration are intimately linked, Bacon argues, and are, in fact, elements of a single economic system. In particular, he analyzes NAFTA's corporate tilt as a cause of displacement and migration from Mexico and shows how criminalizing immigrant labor benefits employers. Bacon powerfully traces the development of illegal status back to slavery and shows the human cost of treating the indispensable labor of millions of migrants-and the migrants themselves-as illegal. Illegal People argues for a sea change in the way we think, debate, and legislate around issues of migration and globalization, making a compelling case for why we need to consider immigration and migration from a globalized human rights perspective.
"David Bacon is the conscience of American journalism: an extraordinary social documentarist in the rugged humanist tradition of Dorothea Lange, Carey McWilliams, and Ernesto Galarza.." - Mike Davis
U.S. Citizens Beware! Big Brother is Watching (Where You Travel)
"The federal government has been using its system of border checkpoints to greatly expand a database on travelers entering the country by collecting information on all U.S. citizens crossing by land, compiling data that will be stored for 15 years and may be used in criminal and intelligence investigations." Washington Post, Aug. 20, 2008 (emphasis added).
More on Poor Health Care at Detention Facilities
We have written about the detainees who have died in detention on alleged immigration violations. Nina Bernstein (NY Times) fills us in more about the medical problems at these facilities:
A lawsuit filed in federal court a year ago by a Dominican detainee makes complaints about health care at a detention center in Rhode Island that are similar to accounts of how the center treated a Chinese New Yorker who died Aug. 6 in immigration custody. That inmate was suffering from a fractured spine and extensive cancer that had gone undiagnosed until five days before his death.
The lawsuit, filed in Providence, asserts that employees at the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Center, in Central Falls, R.I., denied a wheelchair to Marino De Los Santos, who said that he suffered serious injuries to his neck, back, chest and spine in two falls at the center in 2006. According to the suit, employees accused Mr. De Los Santos of faking his injuries and refused to take him to scheduled examinations by a spine specialist. Click here for the rest of the story.
Postville owner taking legal battle with immigrants to Supreme Court
Agriprocessors, the meatpacking company whose Postville slaughterhouse was raided in May, has been in legal battles with immigrant workers who unionized its warehouse in Brooklyn. The company alleges that since the majority of the workers who voted to unionize were undocumented and not eligible for employment, the union cannot be recognized. After losing its argument in several courts, the company has appealed to the Supreme Court. Nathaniel Popper writes the full story can be found here:
McCain/Obama Agree to Debate!
The Barack Obama and John McCain campaigns have agreed to hold three presidential debates and one vice presidential debate in September and October sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates.
The campaigns have come to the earliest agreement on presidential debates reached in any general election in recent history. This announcement reflects the presidential campaigns' agreement on dates, locations, and the formats for the fall debates.
Campaign-appointed debate negotiators House Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said they were pleased to have reached an early agreement to provide the American people with the opportunity to see and hear the candidates debate the critical issues facing the country.
The two campaigns have accepted sponsorship of the debates by the Commission on Presidential Debates, subject to the debates being conducted under the terms of their agreement.
Summary of McCain-Obama Debate Agreement
The two campaigns agreed today on a framework for four General Election debates, to be sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates. Key elements of the agreement are:
First Presidential Debate: Date: September 26 Site: University of Mississippi Topic: Foreign Policy & National Security Moderator: Jim Lehrer Staging: Podium debate Answer Format: The debate will be broken into nine, 9-minute segments. The moderator will introduce a topic and allow each candidate 2 minutes to comment. After these initial answers, the moderator will facilitate an open discussion of the topic for the remaining 5 minutes, ensuring that both candidates receive an equal amount of time to comment
Vice Presidential Debate Date: October 2nd Site: Washington University (St. Louis) Moderator: Gwen Ifill Staging/Answer Format: To be resolved after both parties’ Vice Presidential nominees are selected.
Second Presidential Debate Date: October 7 Site: Belmont University Moderator: Tom Brokaw Staging: Town Hall debate Format: The moderator will call on members of the audience (and draw questions from the internet). Each candidate will have 2 minutes to respond to each question. Following those initial answers, the moderator will invite the candidates to respond to the previous answers, for a total of 1 minute, ensuring that both candidates receive an equal amount of time to comment. In the spirit of the Town Hall, all questions will come from the audience (or internet), and not the moderator.
Third Presidential Debate Date: October 15 Site: Hofstra University Topic: Domestic and Economic policy Moderator: Bob Schieffer Staging: Candidates will be seated at a table Answer Format: Same as First Presidential Debate Closing Statements: At the end of this debate (only) each candidate shall have the opportunity for a 90 second closing statement.
All four debates will begin at 9pm ET, and last for 90 minutes. Both campaigns also agreed to accept the CPD’s participation rules for third-party candidate participation.
Federal Judge Refuses to Enjoin Voter ID Provisions of Arizona's Proposition 200
Here is a copy of the order. Download prop_200_decision1.pdf The court, after a trial, refused to permanent enjoin the portions of Proposition 200 requiring proof of citizenship to vote. The proposition also included provisions limiting access to public benefits by immigrants that resembled those in California's Proposition 187.
August 20, 2008
Asylum Application Statistics
Asylum applications and approval rates vary from country to country. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees provides some interesting comparative data:
We are pleased to inform you that updated statistics on monthly asylum applications submitted in selected industrialised countries are now available. The data, which include country totals as well as selected countries of origin, cover the period from January to June 2008 and refer to 44 countries in Europe, North America, Asia and Oceania. The data have been posted on the UNHCR Statistics website (www.unhcr.org/statistics) under ASYLUM TRENDS. The Excel workbook will be updated once a month, so please make sure to check our website regularly if you are interested in the most recent asylum statistics.
18 August 2008
U.S. Citizen Stuck in Immigrant Detention -- Almost Deported
For the story of a naturalized U.S. citizen -- and U.S. Army vet -- who was detained for months and nearly deported, click here. We don't hear stores like this every day but we here them often enough that one cannot help but worry.
August 19, 2008
Charges Reduced in Hate Crime Case-Mexican Immigrant Victim
According to Democracy Now: In Pennsylvania, a district judge has thrown out first- and second-degree murder charges against a pair of teenagers accused of beating to death a Mexican immigrant in the town of Shenandoah last month. Instead, the teenagers are now being tried on counts of third-degree murder and ethnic intimidation in the death of Luis Ramirez. A third teenager has been charged with aggravated assault, ethnic intimidation and other counts. On Monday, a fourth teenager testified in court that one of his friends kicked Ramirez in the head while he lay motionless in the street. After the teenagers beat Ramirez, one of them told an eyewitness, “Tell your Mexican friends to get out of Shenandoah, or you’ll be laying next to him.”
Just Your Friendly DHS Officers!
Check out "At JFK Airport, Denying Basic Rights Is Just Another Day at the Office" by Emily Feder, AlterNet. It tells the story of the writer's recent stop by Homeland Security as she was returning from a trip to Syria. "What [she] saw in the hours that followed shocked and disturbed [her]." read on by clicking the link above.
Can't Get Enough of Postville! ACLU Obtains Government "Manual" for Prepackaged Guilty Pleas for Prosecution of Immigrant Workers
In case you missed it, the ACLU obtained a government "manual" distributed to defense lawyers assigned to represent immigrant workers arrested and prosecuted in last May's Postville, Iowa, meatpacking raids. It contains prepackaged scripts for plea and sentencing hearings as well as documents providing for guilty pleas and waivers of rights that were used to push the more than 300 Postville workers through mass criminal proceedings as quickly as possible. Check it out!