September 6, 2008
LPGA Smells the Coffee, Rescinds English Language Rule
We previously have blogged about the new LPGA rule allowing for the suspension of golfers who can’t pass an English exam after two years on tour. The rule appeared aimed at the top Korean golfers. After a backlash from sponsors, the public, and many Korean golfers, the LPGA has backed off plans for the English language requirement. A new proposal is in the works. I guess it is back to the drawing board!
September 5, 2008
"Minorities, Immigrants and Otherwise"
You might find this article of interest.
"Minorities, Immigrants and Otherwise" Yale Law Journal Pocket Part, Forthcoming UC Davis Legal Studies Research Paper No. 148 KEVIN R. Johnson
Abstract: Anupam Chander's article Minorities, Shareholders and Otherwise 113 YALE L.J. 119 (2003), brilliantly offers a "conservative" justification for a U.S. constitutional law truly dedicated to fairness and justice for all. It does so through counter-intuitively looking to the bottom-line oriented world of corporate law. As Chander explains, modern constitutional law, which in effect ignores the racially discriminatory outcomes of facially neutral laws, has much to learn from corporate law, which strives to ensure fair outcomes - as well as procedures - for minority shareholders. This commentary offers a most powerful example of the gulf between constitutional law and corporate law identified by Professor Chander. Modern constitutional law affords no meaningful substantive protection to immigrants to the United States. The Supreme Court has consistently held that the political branches of the U.S. government possess "plenary power" over immigration and the courts lacks the power to review the substantive constitutionality of the immigration laws. The "plenary power" doctrine in operation serves as a bulwark of inequality for immigrants to the United States.
Lessons from Canada and Spain
Jaya Ramji-Nogales of IntLawGrrls reminds us about the dangerous risks taken by undocumented immigrants seeking to come to the United States and migration policies adopted by spain and Canada that may be reducing similar risks.
As with most conflicts, the recent situation between Russia and Georgia has resulted in displaced refugees. The BBC reports:
The UN says a camp in the Georgian town of Gori has no room for the thousands of people fleeing the conflict over the breakaway region of South Ossetia.
The UN's refugee agency said some 4,200 people had been registered as internally displaced by the fighting between Georgia and Russia last month. Click here for the rest of the story.
Mental Health Challenges for Older Vietnamese Refugees
The trauma suffered by refugees can continue to be manifested years after their arrival into the United States. My-Thuan Tran writes in the Los Angeles Times about Vietnamese refugees:
Vietnamese Americans who came to the United States as political refugees are suffering from higher rates of mental health problems than non-Latino whites, an indication that many Vietnamese Americans are experiencing lingering effects from the Vietnam War, according to a UC Irvine Center for Health Care Policy study.
In the first analysis of its kind for Vietnamese Americans in California, researchers found that Vietnamese Americans over 55 were twice as likely as whites to report needing mental health care, but were less likely to discuss such issues with their doctors.
"The message I want to bring across is that the medical community needs to realize that Vietnamese Americans are a high-risk group," said Dr. Quyen Ngo-Metzger, who led the survey. "I hope people realize that mental health is still a problem and not to view all Vietnamese as doing really great."
In general, Vietnamese Americans have assimilated quickly in the United States and have achieved success in business, education and politics. The study offers a contrasting view of the tough adjustments refugees have endured. Click here for the full story.
In Defense of John McCain's Eligibility for the Presidency
We have posted previously about law prof Jack Chin's claim that Senator John McCain is not a "natural born citizen" and thus is ineligible for the Presidency. For those interested in this issue, which not surprisingly has not caught fire despite this being Presidential election season, see "John McCain's Citizenship: A Tentative Defense" by STEPHEN E. SACHS. Here is an abstract:
"Sen. John McCain was born a U.S. citizen and is eligible to be president. The most serious challenge to his status, recently posed by Prof. Gabriel Chin, contends that the statute granting citizenship to Americans born abroad did not include the Panama Canal Zone, where McCain was born in 1936. When Congress amended the law in 1937, he concludes, it was too late for McCain to be "natural born." Even assuming, however, that McCain's citizenship depended on this statute - and ignoring his claim to citizenship at common law - Chin's argument may be based on a misreading. When the statutory language was originally adopted in 1795, it was apparently read to address all children born outside of the United States proper, which would include those born in the Canal Zone. Patterns of historical usage, early interpretations of the citizenship statutes, contemporaneous expressions of the statutes' purpose, and the actual application of the statutes to cases analogous to McCain's all confirm this understanding. More recently, the acquisition of America's outlying possessions lent plausibility to new interpretations of the law. But because the key language was never altered between 1795 and 1936, its original meaning was preserved intact, making John McCain a U.S. citizen at birth."
September 4, 2008
"What America Do You Want to Live In?"
A new online ad released by America's Voice presents two different visions of America. One vision recognizes our country's long tradition of welcoming immigrants and being supportive of all individuals in our nation who are seeking a better life. The second vision describes America as a nation that preaches intolerance and hate and relies on fear-mongering instead of facts. The ad, titled "Is This Your America?" sends a clear message that we cannot afford to live in a country filled with hate and prejudice, and our public policies must reflect the values and traditions that have made this country great. The ad comes at a crucial time during the national debate on immigration. The recently-unveiled Party platforms offer stark differences on immigration policy, and Latino voters appear to be trending towards the Democratic Party for the 2008 election cycle, largely due to the immigration issue.
Post-Postville: Agriprocessors has a Hard Time Keeping Workers
NPR reports that since an Iowa meatpacking plant lost workers in the massive immigration raid last spring, U.S.-born workers and Somali refugees have moved in to take their place. But some have been dismayed at the living conditions, or put off by the work, and a few have already left.
The Latest Word on the "Nexus" Requirement for Asylum
Since the Supreme Court decided INS v. Elias-Zacarias (1992), the lower courts have grappled with the necessary "nexus" between past or threatened persecution and one of the five enumerated grounds for asylum status (race, political opinion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, and religion). The statutory language requires past or threatened persecution "on account of"one of the five grounds. The U.S. Court of Appeals has offered the most recent word on the "nexus" requirement:
"The IJ and the BIA both concluded that the harsh treatment Ndonyi suffered in Cameroon was not on account of her political, religious, or social affiliations, and denied her application for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). Because the IJ and the BIA failed to properly analyze the nexus between the persecution faced by Ndonyi and her political and religious beliefs, we grant the petition for review and remand the case for further proceedings." Ndonyi v. Mukasey, Sept. 2, 2008 (opinion by Judge Kanne, with Judges Posner and Sykes).
The War on Terror Continues
The Washington Post reports that a former University of South Florida professor was released from custody yesterday for the first time in more than five years, hours ahead of a judge's deadline for the government to explain why he was still being held by immigration officials. Sami al-Arian is awaiting trial on charges of refusing to testify before a grand jury about Muslim organizations in Northern Virginia. A federal judge on several occasions has expressed skepticism about the government's charges, and last week she ordered immigration authorities to explain by yesterday afternoon why they were continuing to hold Arian. A jury acquitted him on some charges in 2005 and was deadlocked on others. He eventually struck a plea bargain and admitted to lesser charges of conspiring to aid the Palestinian Islamic Jihad by helping a family member with links to the group get immigration benefits and by lying to a reporter about another person's links to the organization. He was sentenced to nearly five years in prison. While he was serving that sentence, federal prosecutors in Virginia sought his testimony for a grand jury investigation. Arian refused to testify despite immunity, and prosecutors filed criminal contempt charges this year.
Slavery Makes a Comeback
From the newsroom:
"Five Immokalee [Florida] residents will plead guilty in federal court this afternoon to numerous charges of enslaving Mexican and Guatemalan immigrants, brutalizing them and forcing them to work in farm fields. . . . The 17-count indictment in the case ‹ one of the largest slavery prosecutions Southwest Florida has ever seen ‹ was released in January. It alleges that for two years, Cesar Navarrete and Geovanni Navarrete beat agricultural laborers, chained them up, locked them in boxes and trucks on the family property while keeping them in ever-increasing debt.
Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney Doug Molloy has called it `slavery, plain and simple.'"
This is not really news. Beginning with the increased enforcement efforts of the 1990s, there long have been increasing reports of human trafficking, indentured servituede (as smuggling fees increased), and slavery.
September 3, 2008
Interviewing Minutemen President
While blogging for Colorlines Magazine and Racewire.org at the Democratic Convention in Denver, Julianne Hing had a chance to interview Chris Simcox, the president of the Minutemen:
I imagined the folks at Minutemen gathering crowd asking themselves, “What’s a young, minority lady doing here?” I joined them in Congress Park in Denver. It was billed as an all-day rally—their 8-hour agenda featured speakers like Tom Tancredo, Bob Barr and Alan Keyes, but it was more like a subdued suburban picnic with lots of coded hate speech tossed around in alternating lofty and heated tones. Chris Simcox, president of the Minutemen Civil Defense Corps, called the event a “third party convention for the conservatives—the real conservatives.” The folks in the audience were nearly all white and middle aged, a relaxed crowd leaning back in their USA lawn chairs as if they were watching Independence Day fireworks. . . .
I could see the attraction of this backwards, political thinking for the racist xenophobes who still wanted to believe in the “good immigrant” narrative and larger American myths. But while equating foreign nationals with “gangers” who “rape, murder and rob,” who also raise “pot plantations in our national parks, and they sweep it, and it's ALL foreign nationals,” Simcox revealed his wildly racist, deeply held fears. He couldn’t hide it behind his occasionally generous depictions of immigrants in the U.S. Click here for the rest of the piece.
Republican Plank on English Only
Thanks to Mary Ann Zehr of Education Week for this:
The platform for the Republican National Convention, which opened this week in St. Paul, Minn., considers English to be the "official language" of this country. But apparently an earlier draft of the platform used softer language, stating that English is the "common" and "accepted" language, according to a Fox News reporter (hat tip to Latina Lista). The Fox News reporter says delegates from North Carolina and Colorado wanted the stronger language.
Here's what the platform says about language policy in this country:
One sign of our unity is our English language. For newcomers, it has always been the fastest route to prosperity in America. English empowers. We support English as the official language in our nation, while welcoming the ethnic diversity in the United States and the territories, including language. Immigrants should be encouraged to learn English. English is the accepted language of business, commerce, and legal proceedings, and it is essential as a unifying cultural force. It is also important, as part of cultural integration, that our schools provide better education in U.S. history and civics for all children, thereby fostering a commitment to our national motto, E Pluribus Unum.
That call for schools to provide more U.S. history and civics seems to come right out of a report by the Bradley Foundation released this year. But interestingly, the Republicans chose to state cultural "integration" as a goal, not cultural "assimilation." The latter word is the one I've seen favored by some political conservatives. Click here for the rest of the piece.
Palin Will Join The Ticket's Position on Immigration? Is that McCain's or the Platform's?
We have previously observed that we cannot say what Rep VP candidate Sarah Palin's position on immigration (even though we now know an awful lot about her family). That still is the case. TPM: Talking Points Memo reports that: "the GOP is having trouble with its talking points. At an earlier press conference this morning, former U.S. Treasurer Rosario Marin was asked what Sarah Palin's position on comprehensive immigration reform is. Marin's response was that there will be no doubt what the `ticket's' position is, apparently unable to respond directly to the question."
UPDATE La Frontera concludes, in much detail, that it is hard to say where Sarah Palion stands on immigration.
Contingency Plans During RaidsContigency Plans for Undocumented Families: A Training Seminar The Immigration Legal Services staff of Latinos Progresando (LP) hosted a legal training seminar for nonprofit agencies that serve immigrant families. The seminar outlined how immigrants at risk of deportation can set up a "short-term guardianship" of their dependent children in the event of parents' detention by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Short-term guardianship forms do not require any appearance in court, and unlike a simple notarized letter, are a legally effective way to arrange in advance for children's care. LP is one of several local agencies which will be assisting immigrants with this crucial procedure. The seminar was held at: Harold Washington College, Room 1102 30 East Lake Street Friday, August 22, 2008 9:00 am - 12:30 pm Over 40 agency representatives from across the Chicago metro area assisted the seminar. Latinos Progresando would like to thank its co-sponsors in this seminar, The Chicago Legal Clinic, Inc; Chicago Volunteer Legal Services, Inc.; The Families' & Children's AIDS Network;Catholic Campaign for Immigration Reform; The Polish American Association. If you would like to host this seminar contact: Marcy Gonzalez, Director of the Immigration Legal Service Department email@example.com or 773.542.7077 ra
More on Republican Platform and Census
As Kevin Johnson noted earlier, the GOP platform has many anti-immigrant provisions. An Associated Press article by Jim Abrams discusses one plank related to the census:
The 2008 Republican platform, in language that is hostile to illegal immigrants, says the makeup of Congress should be determined by counting only those legally residing in the United States in the next census.
"The integrity of the 2010 census, proportioning congressional representation among the states, must be preserved," says the platform language, which is a reinterpretation of the Constitution that could affect how congressional seats are apportioned. "The census," it says, "should count every person legally abiding in the United States in an actual enumeration." Click here for the full story.
No Lawyer, You Lose!
It is not really news but this L.A. Times story is a good reminder that many immigrants of modest means find it difficult to secure representation in the immigration courts and, not surprisingly, often lose in removal (characterized as a "civil," not "criminal," proceeding in which alawyer is not guaranteed) and other immmigration provceedings. The Immigration & Nationality Act has been compared to the Internal Revenue Code in terms of its complexity and those without a lawyer have a very difficult time.
The Republican Party Platform on Immigration, Torture, etc.
We previously looked at the Democratic Party Platform on immigration. The GOP Platform, which has been the subject of some previous blog posts, on pages 3-4 lays out the party positions on "Immigration, National Security, and the Rule of Law." As the title suggests, the emphasis is on immigration as a national security issue. The platform opposes any "amnesty" and advocates increased enforcement, including completion of the border fence. Although increased enforcement and deportations are endorsed, there is nary a mention of the human impacts of immigration enforcement (e.g., deaths on the border, Postville, etc.). English language acquisition for immigrants is endorsed but no mention is made of funding for ESL programs, which are overbooked in cities throughout the country. Check it out for yourself at the link above.
On a related note, IntLawGrrls compares the platforms on the subjects of Gitmo and torture.
September 2, 2008
Do NOT Rely on Wikipedia!
I have worked with many research assistants over the years and have found them increasingly (myopically might be a better word) dependent on computerized research, often surprised at learning that anyone looks at the actual volumes of law reviews or case reporters. But not everytiing on the internet is accurate. Here is an object lesson from the U.S. Court of Appeals from the Eighth Circuit:
"We know only that the BIA thinks that if, hypothetically, the IJ had not considered Wikipedia and reached the same conclusion, then that conclusion would not be clearly erroneous. But we do not know whether the IJ would have reached the same conclusion without Wikipedia, or whether (and, if so, why) the BIA believes that the IJ's consideration of Wikipedia was harmless error, in the sense that it did not influence the IJ's decision. Because the BIA's ultimate conclusion that Badasa failed to establish her identity is not adequately explained, we must remand for further proceedings." Badasa v. Attorney General, Aug. 29, 2008. Download badasa20820829081.pdf
Heritage Day in Shenandoah, PA
For an interesting perspective on Shenandoah, PA, the site of a horrible hate crime against a Mexican immigrant last July, click here.