Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Undocumented immigrants who own homes have a lower rate of delinquencies than U.S. citizens

Immigrants -- especially undcoumented immigrants -- have been blamed in some quarters for the mortgage credit crisis (here).  "Home loans held by illegal immigrants in California and across the nation generally have had fewer delinquencies than similar loans held by U.S. citizens, in part because of stricter lending requirements, according to banks, insurers and Realtors. Every indication is that their performance is better than the average" mortgage account, said Tim Sandos, president of the National Assn. of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals." Los Angeles Times, Oct. 6, 2008.


October 7, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Latino Voters in Battleground States

Poll of Registered Latinos in Colorado, Florida, New Mexico and Nevada Suggests High Turnout,
the Economy, and Candidate Support for Community Will Drive Election Outcomes

A significant percentage of Latino voters in key battleground states are either undecided or still open to persuasion in the presidential contest, according to a survey released today by The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund.

The survey of registered Latinos in Colorado, Florida, New Mexico and Nevada also demonstrates that Latino voters may turn out in unprecedented numbers and that the economy is their top election priority.  Nearly a third of respondents said they had trouble making their mortgage or rent payments at some point during the past 12 months. 

Issues such as the war in Iraq, health care and immigration reform are also at the top of voters’ minds.  Nearly a third believes there is no difference between the Republican and Democratic parties in their concern for Latinos.   

To view the results, including presidential horserace numbers, click here:

“As the electoral map takes shape, it’s increasingly clear the Latino vote may be decisive,” said Arturo Vargas, Executive Director of the NALEO Educational Fund.  “In key battleground states, Latino voters are ready to vote in huge numbers, and a significant percentage is still persuadable.  Underestimating the Latino vote could be disastrous for either party,” concluded Vargas.   

The bilingual telephone survey was conducted by the public opinion firm Latino Decisions with the support of the AARP.  The firm surveyed 1,600 Latino registered voters drawn equally from official statewide voter files in the four states and has a margin of error of +/- 4.7% for each state.

The poll indicates strong support among Latino registered voters in Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada for Senator Barack Obama.  In Florida, however, the candidates are in a statistical tie with 38% favoring Senator John McCain and 35% favoring Senator Obama.  The shift seems to reflect demographic changes in the state’s Latino voters that are both generational and representative of the growing diversity of Latino immigrant groups now living in Florida. 

One in ten Latino voters in Florida remains undecided.  In addition, almost 15 percent said their support for either candidate is “not so strong,” suggesting that a significant share of Latino voters in the Sunshine State may still be persuadable.  Those findings were largely mirrored in the other battleground states.

In all four states, the survey finds there is tremendous enthusiasm among registered Latinos to cast ballots in the upcoming election.  Nearly 90% of those surveyed say they intend to vote on Election Day.  Given the growing Latino electorate in states like Nevada, where 59,489 Latino voters have registered since 2004, high Latino turnout could determine the outcome.

“These numbers give a unique glimpse into the views of Latino voters,” said Nancy LeaMond, Executive Vice President for Social Impact for AARP.  “AARP is pleased to work with the NALEO Educational Fund to give greater voice to Latinos in this pivotal election and help Senators McCain and Obama understand the issues that are important to Latino voters in these key states,” she concluded.


October 7, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Campaign Against the Border Wall Continues

Message from El Paso:

While the Bush regime was rewarding 700 billion dollars to the thieves responsible for the financial pillage, we completed another week of daily protests against the border wall.

While Bush was giving away taxpayers' money to Wall Street, with the enthusiastic support of both Democrats and Republicans and of course Obama and McCain, we intensified our acts of opposition against the infamous 7.5 million dollars per mile wall being built by the Kiewit Corporation of Omaha, Nebraska. Kiewit is not only one of the largest recipients of juicy government contracts, but the CEO of Kiewit was also one of the most generous contributors to the Bush/Cheney electoral campaigns.

We continue to protest every day, mornings and afternoons, the same way we have been doing since September 12 as a group of El Paso citizens opposed to the wall. The protests at this site were initiated by one individual on August 18. On that day Justo Rivera, a 63 year-old El Paso native and proud Vietnam veteran, just made a simple sign with big letters that read “Honk Honk for No Wall!” and staged a one person protest at the construction site. We gather at the entrance of the construction site located at Cesar Chávez Highway (also known as Border Highway) and Yarbrough, with signs and leaflets. At times there are only three people  protesting. Other times our group is composed of ten or more protesters. The number of people is increasing every day. Since this a heavy traffic intersection, hundreds of people see our signs and as well as the construction in progress. The majority of people express their opposition to the wall by honking to the Kiewit workers and the Border Patrol officers.

This week we also held two activities. The first was held on Wednesday October 1 which was a Vigil Against the Wall to begin our campaign: “¡YA BASTA! ¡TOD@S CONTRA EL MURO!” (ENOUGH! EVERYBODY AGAINST THE WALL!)

The vigil was held in the evening and attracted more than 60 participants mainly from different religious communities as well as families residing in the vicinity of the construction site. The participants of the vigil carried candles and signs denouncing the immorality of the wall. The protesters converged at 6:30 p.m. at the park near the construction site to listen to presentations from a Catholic priest and representatives of other religions. Then following a group of matachines from St Pius X, the procession walked towards the site of the wall. A group of nervous Border patrol officers were at the entrance of the construction site. When the procession approached the wall, the officers parked their vehicles to block the entrance and rushed outside the entrance to stop the peaceful protesters. Two of the officers pushed the persons yelling at them,“This is federal property!” But the protesters were not intimidated and continued their march chanting,“No Wall! No Wall!” More Border Patrol officers arrived at the site to form a barrier at the entrance of the site although it was very clear that the protesters never had the intention to enter the construction site or to even get close to the entrance. Minutes later some officers from the El Paso Police Department (EPPD) also arrived to assist the Border Patrol agents in protecting the wall. Despite their attempts to intimidate the protesters, the vigil continued until very late into the evening. Many people passed by the intersection and saw the vigil. Most of the drivers were honking their horns in support of the protest against the wall. 

Then on Friday, October 3, almost 40 students from UTEP and El Paso Community College arrived to the site to join the protest. They brought signs and musical instruments. Most of the students were from UTEP's Students for Reform. Many people and families from the vicinity arrived to participate. The group grew to about 70. The protest was cheerful, with much enthusiasm and lasted several hours. The group also walked along the construction of the wall.

This time the law enforcement officers and Kiewit Corporation were prepared for our protest. 

To begin, they released the workers earlier than on other previous days, so by the time we arrived they had stopped working in the area. Then they closed the main gate with chains and locks and put up two big “No Trespassing” signs on each side of the entrance. 

Also, this time the presence of EPPD and Border Patrol officers was very ostentatious. There were cops all over the construction site and in the surrounding areas. Somebody counted about 30 patrols in the area. There were also many plain clothes officers in unmarked vehicles taking pictures and videos of the protest. The officers of the EPPD did not allow people to park on the edge of the road the way we had been doing  for many weeks of protests. When one of the protesters attempted to explain to the police that he was parked in a right of way, he was given a ticket and was warned to move or his car would be towed away. Then a deputy with the El Paso County Sheriff's Office  also arrived at the area to harass the demonstrator who had been given the ticket. The deputy was so out of control that one of the police officers intervened to calm him down.

Anyway, the protest took place and hundreds of people passing by the area saw us and expressed their support to the struggle to stop the construction of the wall. Every day more and more people are realizing the infamy of the federal government against the people of the border community. We also expect more people to join our daily protests and to participate in the different actions being planned to stop the construction of the wall.

The protests at the construction site will continue during weekdays, mornings, and afternoons. The next action will be held on Sunday October 12, 2008 at the construction site. October 12 is the International Day of the World's Indigenous People therefore, this time we are planning an indigenous ceremony against the wall.

Carlos Marentes


October 7, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Olivas on "Religion and Social Justice for Immigrants," edited by Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo

Michaelolivas Michael A. Olivas reviews Religion and Social Justice for Immigrants, edited by Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo in 24 Journal of Law and Religion 101 (2008).  It is an interesting read on an interesting book.


October 7, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Immigration Policy Center on Immigration in Election 2008

The immigration debate will continue to rage on until Election Day and beyond. Today's election season conversations will shape the policies and politics of this critical subject in the months and years to come. To facilitate an articulate and accurate debate on this complex subject, the Immigration Policy Center (IPC) has put together A Candidate's Guide to Immigration (Download candidatepacketlowres1.pdf ) along with a two-page document of Answers to the Toughest Questions ( Download candidateqalowres1.pdf )-materials backed by hard data that effectively counters and clarifies the myths and ambiguities associated with immigration. IPC's candidate packet covers a range of following sub-issues:

• Comprehensive Immigration Reform

• Immigration Enforcement

• Worksite Enforcement

• Electronic Employment Verification Systems

• Immigration and the Less-Skilled Workforce

• Immigrants, Jobs, and Wages

• Immigrants and Public Benefits

• Immigrants and Taxes

• Immigrants and Crime

• Local Police and Immigration Law Enforcement

• Immigrant Integration

• Immigration and the Environment

Our immigration system is broken and it can not be fixed until the terms of the immigration debate shift towards a rational conversation aimed at achieving workable and effective comprehensive immigration reform. The candidate packet was created as a resource for candidates and current elected officials to use in their efforts towards achieving a real, effective, and practical immigration policy that keeps the interests of all those living and working in our country at heart.


October 7, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, October 6, 2008

Haiti says it can't accept U.S. deportees

"Haitian President Rene Preval on Friday said his storm-ravaged country will no longer be able to accept U.S. deportees and — for the first time — publicly called on the Bush administration to allow undocumented Haitians living in the United States to remain until their homeland recovers." McClatchy-Tribune, Oct. 4, 2008.


October 6, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Database of State Immigration Legislation

This Migration Policy Institute provides a free, searchable database that classifies all immigration and immigration-related bills from 2007. Bills are classified by state, geographic region, subject area and bill status. Visit http://www.migrationinformation.org/datahub/statelaws_home.cfm to run a customized search, with options of downloading a synopsis of the law, creating a table, or downloading raw data. Information about our methodology can be found at http://www.migrationpolicy.org/pubs/2007methodology.pdf.


October 6, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

New Poll: Strong Support for Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Likely voters significantly favor comprehensive immigration reform, a new Zogby/Inter-American Dialogue survey shows. "The facts are clear: 67% of Americans support a path to earned citizenship. Both presidential candidates have also supported a pathway to earned citizenship for hard-working but undocumented immigrants (and that pathway included paying taxes, paying a penalty, and learning English)." America's Voice, Oct. 3, 2008.


October 6, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Race and Immigration: Behind the Debate

The Accidental American has posted an intersting video showing a panel of scholars, political analysts, and immigrant rights leaders discussing how race shapes US immigration policy.  You might be surprised by what you see.


October 6, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Barry University To Start Immigration Clinic

From Leonard Birdsong:

I am pleased to announce that Barry University will be starting an Immigration Clinic.  Please review the ad and pass it along if you know someone who would be interested.  We will be interviewing at the AALS hiring conference but those slots are going quickly. 

Immigration Clinic Visiting Professor

Barry University School of Law seeks applicants with a demonstrated commitment to clinical legal education for a “look-see” visiting appointment to create an Immigration Clinic. The Immigration Clinic would be the third in-house clinic at the Law School.  Students currently work in the Children and Families Clinic and Earth Advocacy Clinic. 

Duties include working collaboratively with other teachers in the clinical program; direct supervision of third-year students in client representation and project work; development of curriculum, simulations, and advocacy materials; and joint classroom teaching.

The initial position would be a visiting faculty position with the hopes of converting the position into a permanent position when the School acquires sufficient funding.  If the position became permanent the faculty member would be on our tenure-track system.  In addition to the teaching responsibilities, the faculty member would be expected to achieve excellence in scholarship and service to the school and community.  The position can begin as soon as January 1, 2009. 

The Barry University is a Dominican Catholic university.  The main campus is in Miami Shores, Florida.  The Barry University School of Law is located in Orlando, Florida, a vibrant and sunny place to live and to attend school. The Law School received full accreditation from the American Bar Association in December 2006. Barry University is an equal opportunity employer and people of color, women and others with diverse backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

J.D. degree or its equivalent. A minimum of three years of post-law school work experience is required and five years of such experience is preferred. Substantial experience in trial and appellate deportation defense is strongly preferred. Clinical teaching or supervisory experience is also preferred. A record of scholarship or evidence of the ability to produce scholarship is required.  Bar membership and willingness to seek admission to the Middle District of Florida Federal Court.

We will begin to review applications in early fall so interested candidates should apply as soon as possible. Please send resume and cover letter to:

Leonard Birdsong
Chair Faculty Recruitment Committee
Associate Professor of Law
6441 E. Colonial Drive
Orlando, FL 32807

October 6, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

It's the economy, stupid

Mccain_context Obamabarack This Wikipedia entry seemed particularly appropriate this election season.


October 6, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

A Message from Cambodia

OCTOBER 6, 2008

To all my friends and colleagues.

After 35 years of trial practice helping victims of torts and discrimination in the Sacramento area. I decided that it was time to begin a new life of giving to those who have absolutely nothing. What started out as a trip to see Southeast Asia , turned out to be a whole new life for me.

I have been in Cambodia for the last 3 years. I taught English one year and have been admitted to practice before the Extraordinary Chambers of the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) and that was no easy undertaking.. I have been accepted for membership and I am waiting to be admitted into the Cambodian Bar. The Cambodian Bar Association works at its own pace. It has been 1 year and they have not had a swearing in ceremony. You all know what happened here after the Vietnam War, when Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge came to power. Several million Cambodians with their families were slaughtered like cattle. It was a mad time. It has been 30 years and the Country is still reeling from that time.

The ECCC was established by the UN and Cambodia to try senior members of the Khmer Rouge for crimes against humanity. There is a victims unit that will represent victims of those years and is where I will help. The work is Pro Bono as there is yet to be a fund to pay anyone, however victims have an absolute right to be heard in that Court. The leaders here have arrested what is left of the Kilmer Rouge Cadre, especially Duch who ran the Toule Sleng prison in Phnom Penh were I live. However no-one in power wants a trial. Everyone wants to forget. Yet, I believe without some finality and justice, the echos of those times will never end. I do not know who is right. Western culture says yes, but imposing out view of what is good for Cambodians makes me very uneasy. The rule of law here is quite different then at home. Here there is a kind of social consensus that keeps most people in line. Those that have want more at any cost and do exactly what they want no matter who they hurt. If you have power, you are free to kill if you want as the rule of law that we are use to does not exist at the top end of this society. Here the notion of helping your fellow man is limited to only those in your family. No one wants to help strangers for fear that they will have to pay the police and be accused of causing the problems. That is why no-one ever stops after an accident to help the injured. An ambulance may come but if you have no money it will not take the injured to a hospital or even treat them.. In the hospital, l the family is provides nursing except in rare instances you help, you own it.

Seeing all this as well as the constant reminder and hopelessness was very hard for me, but I have learned that you walk by taking one step at a time. In spite of all the abuse and suffering, the people are wonderfully warm and have an incredible thirst for knowledge. So that has been my calling in these last few years to help the poor receive a higher education. Here, there are no student loans or Government help at all and you must pay for everything. Absolutely nothing is free. Either your family has enough to send to school or you spend endless years working to pay for one class at a time. The average salary is somewhere around $40.00 so you can see without help higher education is impossible without a sponsor. That is why I recently formed a foundation called the Cambodian Future Fund. Please go to my website at www.cambodianfuturefund.com and help educate a young person. I am calling on all my friends and colleagues that I gave to all my working life to assist in my desire to educate those without any hope but me. I have been educating students on my own, privately and now need some assistance. Please drop me an email at dmbblackman@yahoo.com, and let me know what you have been doing. Also, if any of you know how to fund raise I could sure use some help.

Thank you,

David Blackman

October 6, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

University of Houston Immigration Clinic Opening

Following is a job announcement for a clinical professor for the immigration clinic at the University of Houston Law Center. If anyone is interested or wants to apply, please note that you should contact Janet Heppard. Her contact information is at the end of the announcement.

Clinical Legal Education Program:  Immigration Clinic

The following is a position announcement for a clinical position at the University of Houston Law Center for academic year 2009 - 2010. The Law Center seeks applicants for a clinical faculty position in the Clinical Legal Education Program to teach and administer the Immigration Clinic. The Faculty member is designated as Clinical Assistant Professor, Clinical Associate Professor, or Clinical Professor, depending on qualifications and experience. The non-tenure track appointment will have the possibility of a multi-year, renewable contract with the first two years being a probationary period. The salary range for the position is $60,000 to $80,000 for a ten-twelve month academic year. The position is responsible for teaching and administering the Immigration clinic, one of our in-house clinics.

The individual appointed to clinical ranks in the Clinical Legal Education Program must, at a minimum, hold a JD Degree from an ABA-accredited law school and be licensed to practice law. Qualified candidates must have strong academic credentials and practice experience in the field of Immigration Law.  Strong preference will be given to candidates with prior clinical teaching experience. The University of Houston is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity employer. Minorities, women, veterans, and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply. Interested candidates should send a resume or c.v. to:

Janet Heppard, Acting Director, Clinical Legal Education, University of Houston Law Center, 100 Law Center, Houston, TX 77204-6060. Telephone: 713-743-2094. Fax: 713-743-2195. E-mail: JHeppard@Uh.Edu


October 5, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

Iraqi Refugees in Michigan

We have reported many times on the refugee crisis created by the U.S. invasion of Iraq. While the United States has admitted some Iraqi refugees, addressing their their needs can be a burden on state and local governments. Gregg Krupa reports for the Houston Chronicle:

Michigan's economy is so bad that the State Department is sending fewer Iraqi refugees to the area because of concerns that their future would not be bright.

After a request by relief workers, the policy of bringing Iraqis to metro Detroit if relatives or friends live in the area was changed to allow only those with immediate family to settle here, according to the State Department.

"The State Department has taken the measure of things and decided it would be better to send them somewhere else, where they might be self-sufficient, instead of coming to Michigan, because the economy is very bad here, and we have the highest unemployment in the country," Belmin Pinjic of Lutheran Social Services of Michigan said.

The Christian population of Iraq is under intense pressure as extremists root them out from villages and homes, officials say. But Muslims, especially those who have been employed by the United States in Iraq, also are seeking refuge in America.

State Department officials said the policy change was implemented in late June partly because relief workers were having difficulty finding the refugees jobs. Click here for the rest of the story.


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

The Profit of Detention and the Growth of the Immigrant Detention Industry

The Washington Post reports on investors seeking to profit off of the growth of immigrant detention.  In Farmville, Virginia, construction is proceeding on "what could become the largest immigration detention facility in the mid-Atlantic region, a $21 million project fueled by the aggressive policies some Virginia localities have adopted toward identifying illegal immigrants and handing them over to the federal government.

The 1,040-bed facility . . . is a private venture aimed at capitalizing on the massive influx of detainees into the Immigration and Customs Enforcement system over the past year. A small group of Richmond investors looks to reap millions of dollars in profit . . . ."

There are many issues that could be discussed at length here.  To mention three:  Should the U.S. government be contracting out public services to private agencies?  Shouldn't the past problems in inmmigrant detention by private entities make the U.S. government cautious about expanding the outsourcing?  How do we ensure that detainees' constitutional and basic human rights are not violated?


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

Death of Detained Immigrant Inspires Online Game

The N.Y. Times is reporting on an item that appeared on the ImmigrationProf blog on Sept. 25:  "The death last year of Boubacar Bah, a Guinean tailor held in a New Jersey jail for overstaying his visa, showed immigration detention to be one of the most secretive corners of American life. But now Mr. Bah’s story is being retold in an unusually public way: in an online video game."


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