Saturday, November 29, 2008

Free Web Site Launched to Help Immigrants Learn English

The U.S. Department of Education launched U.S.A. Learns, a free Web site to help immigrants learn English. The Web site, which is located at, provides approximately 11 million adults who have low levels of English proficiency with accessible free English language training.

Measures like this to foster immigrant integration make a lot of sense, much more sense than efforts to build fences and what not.


November 29, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)

Election 2008: Not Such a Good Year for Restrictionist Candidates

Citizen Orange has a post about another restrictionist Congressman who is packing his bags.  America's Voice offers analysis of how immigration restrictionists fared in Election 2008.  Not so good, it appears.  For ImmigrationProf's day-after-the-election analysis, click here.


November 29, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Should the United States Consider a Retirement Visa? Why Not?

The International Herald Tribune has a story on an interesting idea that apparently has been floating around for awhile.  "Estate agents in the United States hope a new administration in Washington D.C. will kick start talks for a retirement visa, the so-called `silver card' which would allow foreigners to easily retire in the U.S."  Why not? 


November 29, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, November 28, 2008

Deported on ICE Air

Eric Palmer reports for the Kansas City Star

The MD-80 that took off Friday from Kansas City International Airport carried about 120 passengers. Some were headed for Mexico, others to Central and South America.Once off the ground, food and beverages would be served.

The flight was one of up to 180 flights flown each month by Kansas City’s only locally based airline. While most are to Central and South America, others are to such exotic locales as Indonesia, Nigeria, Pakistan and Palestine.

Yet most Kansas Citians will never get a seat on one of the flights — nor would want to.

The little-known Flight Operations Unit was established by Immigration and Customs Enforcement in 2006 to handle the repatriation of the surging number of illegal immigrants caught up in tougher enforcement. Click here for the rest of the story.


November 28, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Congolese Refugees Flee to Uganda

The Los Angeles Times reports:

Thousands of civilians fleeing fighting in northeastern Congo streamed into Uganda on Thursday, most after walking several days.

The U.N. refugee agency said 13,000 refugees had crossed the border near Ishasha in 48 hours -- 10,000 on Thursday alone. Most were from villages in the Rutshuru district of the Democratic Republic of Congo's North Kivu province. Click here for the rest of the story.


November 28, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Native Americans and Immigration Policy

Every Thanksgiving, this cartoon image of Native Americans building a fence to keep out the Pilgrims comes up. Happy Thanksgiving.


November 27, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)


180pxmeleagris_gallopavo_wild_turke Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.  I must say that with the now infamous turkey Statue_of_liberty_01 video from  Alaska, it has been a rather odd Thanksgiving season already.

November 27, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Cecilia Muñoz Named to White House Staff

Terrific news for the immigrant rights community:

November 26, 2008
Contact: Obama Transition Press Office, 202-540-3483

President-Elect Barack Obama Names Two New White House Staff Members

WASHINGTON – President-elect Barack Obama today announced two new members of the White House staff. Jonathan Favreau will serve as Director of Speechwriting, and Cecilia Muñoz will serve as Director of Intergovernmental Affairs.

“We’re continuing to build a White House team that can rise to the challenges facing this country – and I couldn’t be more excited to announce Jon and Cecilia. I’m confident that at a critical time in our history, this White House will restore openness and accountability to our Executive Branch and help to put government back in the hands of the people it serves.”

Jonathan Favreau, Director of Speechwriting
Jon Favreau served as Director of Speechwriting during the 2008 presidential campaign. He has worked for President-elect Obama since February 2005, when he joined Obama’s United States Senate office as Speechwriter. Previously, Favreau served as Deputy Director of Speechwriting on John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign. A resident of North Reading, Massachusetts, Favreau received a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the College of the Holy Cross in 2003.

Cecilia Muñoz, Director of Intergovernmental Affairs
Cecilia Muñoz currently serves as Senior Vice President for the Office of Research, Advocacy, and Legislation at the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), where she supervises all legislative and advocacy activities conducted by NCLR policy staff. Muñoz is the Chair of the Board of Center for Community Change, and serves on the U.S. Programs Board of the Open Society Institute and the Board of Directors of the Atlantic Philanthropies.  She is the daughter of immigrants from Bolivia and was born in Detroit, Michigan. In June 2000, she was awarded a MacArthur Foundation fellowship in recognition of her work on immigration and civil rights.


November 26, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (21) | TrackBack (0)

287(g) Suit Filed in Maryland

CASA de Maryland filed suit Tuesday in Montgomery County Circuit Court, requesting the immediate release of information regarding the county's relationship with the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which oversees the 287(g) program. For the full story, click here.


November 26, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

DOJ Complaint faults Long Island Police for Failing Latinos

In a complaint to the U.S. Justice Department, the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund  Justice contended that the Suffolk County Police Department, where the hate crime against Marcelo Lucero took place, discourages Latinos from reporting crimes.  For the full story, click here.


November 26, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

US Justice Foundation Set on Challening Obama's Citizenship

A lawyer who is playing a key role in a California lawsuit urging officials to prevent the state's 55 Electoral College votes from being recorded for Barack Obama until questions about his citizenship are resolved says he's organizing plans to challenge, even after the inauguration, every order, every proposal, every piece of paperwork generated by Obama.

'We will file lawsuits on his actions, every time. As long as we have money , we will keep filing lawsuits until we get a decision as to his citizenship status,' Gary Kreep, chief of the United States Justice Foundation, told WND today. For the full story, click here.


November 26, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

Post-Raid Postville Seeking Federal Disaster Aid

The Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Division expressed doubt Tuesday that it could provide assistance following the Postville City Council's declaration of the town as a humanitarian and economic disaster area.

Disaster declarations are based on natural emergencies, 'so I don't know how that would qualify,' said division spokesman Bret Voorhees.

The resolution, passed unanimously by the council Monday night, was sent to state officials Tuesday in an effort to secure financial assistance for the community devastated after a May 12 federal immigration raid that led to the recent closing of town's leading employer, kosher meatpacker Agriprocessors Inc.   For the full story, click here.


November 26, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Asian American Attitudes on Immigrants

Kimberly Sanfeliz reports for the Boston Globe:

A new survey by the University of Massachusetts at Boston's Institute for Asian American Studies attempts to fill what the authors say is a gaping hole in the research on immigrants.

"There's been a lot of attention paid to immigration rights and policy," said the institute's director, Paul Watanabe, at the survey's unveiling last month. "But the fact is, there is virtually no [statistical data] based upon Asian immigrants and the Asian community."

The institute's study, "Interest and Action: Findings from a Survey of Asian American Attitudes on Immigrants, Immigration, and Activism," found that 80 percent of the 412 Asian-Americans surveyed pay either a great deal of attention or some attention to immigration issues.

It also found that 58 percent said they were very sympathetic or somewhat sympathetic to the Latino community's stance on immigration issues, and 52 percent support a legalization process for undocumented immigrants.

The survey also asked respondents about their likelihood of participating in activities supporting greater rights for immigrants. While 33 percent said they were very likely to sign a petition, only about 9 percent said they were very likely to work with others in an organization, or to participate in a march or demonst ration.

Edwin Argueta, an organizer for Massachusetts Jobs with Justice, was present at the survey's unveiling to discuss the implications of its findings. He said it is important for more politically active communities, specifically Latinos, to connect with immigrants from other countries to create a multilayered immigrant narrative and a stronger political force.

"It's not going to be done by Latinos only," Argueta said at the event. "It has to be done by the Asian community and the African community. We need to be a little more inclusive."


November 26, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Fourth Circuit Adds to "rising tide of criticism" of Immigration Decisions

Federal Courts of Appeals judges, especially Judge Richard Posner of the Seventh Circuit, have bveen critical of ther immigration bureuacracy's reasoning in removal cases.  The Fourth Circuit, perhaps the most conservative circuit in the United States, in an opinion by Judge Diana Gribbon Motz adds to the "rising tide of criticism":

"An IJ cannot have it both ways, finding an applicant and his documents incredible for one purpose and yet relying on them for another. ... This sort of judicial sleight of hand constitutes the very definition of an abuse of discretion. ... Before concluding, we note that academic literature and court decisions have grown increasingly strident in their criticism of the immigration review process. Our finding today adds to this rising tide of criticism."  (emphasis added).

Zhu v. Mukasey (4th Cir. Nov. 25, 2008).


November 26, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Supreme Court to Review Stay Standard in Removal Case

The Supreme Court granted cert today in an immigration case.  The case is Nken v. Mukasey (08-681). The Court has the opportunity to clear up a conflict on the standard for barring deporation pending judicial review of an alien’s plea for asylum or other relief from being deported. The specific question is whether a federal law barring courts from issuing binding orders to block deportation of an alien only applies to injunctions, or also applies to requests for postponement of removal pending court review.

The case involves Jean Marc Nken, a native of Cameroon who fears persecution from the regime that now governs his home country. His wife and son are U.S. citizens. His family has been active in political protests in his homeland. He had been denied a stay of a deportation order while he pursued review of the denial of his asylum claim. The Justices ordered expedited briefing in the case, and set it for oral argument at 1 p.m. on Wed., Jan. 21. In the meantime, the Court blocked his deportation “pending further order.”

Issue: Whether the decision of a court of appeals to stay an alien's removal pending consideration of the alien's petition for review is governed by the standard set forth in 8 U.S.C. 1252(f)(2) or instead by the traditional test for stays and preliminary injunctive relief. * Application for stay pending appeal

Response to application

Reply of applicant


November 26, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Immigrants Aid Pittsburgh--Pirates!

Earlier today, I posted a story about how immigrant entrepreneurs and workers have helped the economy of Pittsburgh. Now here's a story from the sports world about the first professional baseball players recruited from India!

Alan Robinson writes for the Associated Press:

The Pittsburgh Pirates hope Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel really do have million-dollar arms. The two 20-year-old pitchers, neither of whom had picked up a baseball until earlier this year, signed free-agent contracts Monday with the Pirates. They are believed to be the first athletes from India to sign professional baseball contracts outside their country.

Singh and Patel came to the United States six months ago after being the top finishers in an Indian reality TV show called the "Million Dollar Arm" that drew about 30,000 contestants. The show sought to find athletes who could throw strikes at 85 miles per hour or faster.

While neither pitcher threw hard enough to earn the $1 million prize, Singh made $100,000 from the contest and Patel made $2,500, plus his trip to the United States.

The contest was sponsored by a California sports management company that believed it could locate major league-worthy arms in a country of more than 1 billion. After working extensively with Southern California pitching coach Tom House since May, the pitchers staged a tryout in Tempe, Ariz., on Nov. 6 that was attended by 30 major league scouts.

"The Pirates are committed to creatively adding talent to our organization," Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said Monday. "By adding these two young men, the Pirates are pleased to not only add two prospects to our system but also hope to open a pathway to an untapped market. We are intrigued by Patel's arm strength and Singh's frame and potential.

Both threw the javelin in India, a country best known for producing cricket players, and neither the right-hander Patel nor the left-hander Singh had left his small village before coming to the United States. Singh was born in Bhadoni, Uttar Pradesh, and is the youngest of nine children. Patel is from Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, and has four brothers and sisters.

The 5-foot-11, 185-pound Patel hit 90 mph on the radar gun during his tryout, and the 6-2, 195-pound Singh topped out at 84 mph. Each has thrown harder during workout sessions that weren't attended by scouts. Click here for the rest of the story.


November 25, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

Immigrants Aid Pittsburgh

From Richard Herman:

Sunday's Cleveland Plain Dealer ran a front-page story on Pittsburgh's economic resurgence, which it attributed in part to Pittsburgh's growing ability to attract high-skill immigrant talent:  students, researchers, workers, and entrepreneurs.

PIttsburgh has a long way to go on this front, but it has worked hard over the past few years at building a welcoming environment for immigrant talent, foreign-born entrepreneurs, and international capital.


November 25, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

A Pleasant Surprise: Virginia Commission on Immigration Recommendations May Aid, Not Punish, Immigrants

Over the last few years, parts of Virginia have been know for taking a tough line on immigration.  Things may be changing.  The Washington Post reports that:

"Virginia, known for some of the nation's toughest policies on illegal immigration, appears to be abandoning its hard-line approach as state officials consider proposals to help foreign-born residents assimilate, including increasing the number of English classes.

In the coming weeks, the Virginia Commission on Immigration will send Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) two dozen recommendations, most of which would help immigrants instead of penalizing them."


November 25, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

New Immigration Articles from SSRN

Here are abstracts and links to interesting new immigration articles posted on the Social Science Research Network (

"In Democracy's Shadow: Fences, Raids and the Production of Migrant Illegality" Stanford Journal of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, Forthcoming Univ. of Wisconsin Legal Studies Research Paper No. 1068 DANIEL IBSEN MORALES, University of Wisconsin Law School

Why is the United States building a border fence and raiding workplaces? How has it come to harbor 12 million people without legal status? This article proposes that we can understand these phenomena as the product of a legal culture which privileges the desires and perspective of the demos over nearly every other value. Accordingly, government is structured so that it approaches immigration in a way that flatters this democratic epistemology, instead of a judicious, effective and humane policy perspective. Put into practice, the current emphasis means that immigration regulation is an exercise in symbolic action. We see the effects of this majoritarian architecture in the construction of the border fence, which the Congressional Research Service has acknowledged does little to control illegal immigration, but succeeds in increasing the rate of migrant border deaths. Nevertheless, the fence prevails as policy because it confirms and assuages the polity's fear of racial invasion; that it does little to prevent undocumented migration is irrelevant. The article also considers how the United States engages in these kinds of actions and still maintains its outward image as liberty enlightening the world. Part II illustrates how the adoption of antidiscrimination provisions in immigration law were intended to preserve this enlightenment image, but had the practical effect of facilitating the employment of unauthorized migrants, leading the polity to demand visible action, which in turn produced stigmatizing employer raids. Finally, the article explores the way in which courts maintain the narrative of the United States as an open-armed refuge, while managing the radical potential of the Fourteenth Amendment's birthright citizenship provision. All these political and legal forces combine, then, to produce the 12 million stigmatized illegal migrants who live in democracy's shadow.

"AFL-CIO v. Chertoff: A Hollow Victory for Immigrants, Workers and Businesses" MATT W. EDWARDS

The October 2007 preliminary injunction issued against the Department of Homeland Security's "Safe-Harbor Procedures for Employers Who Receive a No-Match Letter" provides a good case study of the role judicial review can play in agency rulemaking. In AFL-CIO v. Chertoff the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California issued a preliminary injunction against enforcement of DHS's rule based on three objections: the rule was ultra vires; DHS gave no reasoned analysis for the rule change; and DHS was obligated to conduct a regulatory flexibility analysis pursuant to the Regulatory Flexibility Act. The court erroneously rejected arguments that the rule contravened its underlying statute, the Immigration Reform and Control Act. The court's order put no pressure on DHS to revise the rule's crucial substance. As a result, a "bad" procedural law will soon be in effect. Had the court come to the opposite conclusion regarding whether the rule contravened its statute, DHS would probably have revised the rule to accomplish its goals while causing far less injury to immigrants, workers, and small businesses. This case thus illustrates how more critical judicial review is important to the formulation of good administrative agency rules.

"The Undocumented Immigrant Tax" UNDOCUMENTED HISPANIC IMMIGRANTS IN AMERICA: PROBLEMS, BENEFITS AND PROSPECTS, University of North Texas Press, 2008 FRANCINE J. LIPMAN, Chapman University - School of Law

"Illegals do NOT pay taxes." As a law professor researching and writing about undocumented immigrants and their tax issues I see this comment in my email inbox and hear it during outreach efforts routinely. Every time I hear or read this or a similar comment, my whole body cringes. This short statement truly embodies the exploitation of the immigration debate. While this statement is often delivered from mainstream individuals, its origin can be traced to extremist rhetoric. Anti-immigrant and anti-Latino extremists have used outright bigotry to frame the immigration debate to advance their own supremacist agenda. By positioning themselves as legitimate advocates against illegal immigration in America these groups have broadened their base and mainstreamed their message. These groups "are frequently quoted in the media, have been called to testify before Congress, and often hold meetings with lawmakers and other public figures." As a result, in many American communities immigrants live in fear and suffer a toxic environment in which hateful rhetoric targeting immigrants has become an acceptable part of daily news and discourse. This Essay is an answer to this insidious vilification and arrant racism. This Essay will debunk the short, but maladroit statement that "illegals do NOT pay taxes." First, calling a group of people "illegals" is hateful, "racially loaded, imprecise, and pejorative." Scholars, and children, understand that language and discourse can contribute to vile acts including crime, abuse and other social problems. Historical and current atrocities including the Holocaust, Darfur and the murder of Matthew Shepard are horrific examples of this intolerable truth. The term "illegals" is patently dehumanizing and inappropriate terminology, and its persistent use by extremists, as well as mainstream media and the general population, must stop now. Second, as a low-income taxpayer and human rights advocate, I understand that pervasive misunderstanding regarding undocumented immigrants evinces the frustration and fear that many Americans feel about the challenging state of the U.S. and global economies. Restrictionists feed this frustration and fear with inflammatory propaganda about undocumented immigrants and our tax systems. Because of overwhelming complexity and lack of transparency in this system it is easy to misrepresent and distort the facts. As a result, some Americans believe the absolutely irrational and self-delusional assertion that undocumented immigrants do not pay any taxes. This gross falsehood is counterproductive for the speaker, the subject, and the U.S. and global economies. Finally, as a tax professor I am charged with teaching tax and these comments broadcast loudly and boldly how misinformed Americans are about our tax systems. The well documented facts evidence that undocumented immigrants have paid hundreds of billions of dollars in American taxes to date. In most cases undocumented immigrants pay more in tax each year than similarly situated U.S. citizens. This additional tax, which is first exposed and labeled here as "the undocumented immigrant tax," is the subject of this Essay. This Essay will describe the depth and breadth of undocumented immigrants as a resource for tax payments made to government coffers across the country. The depth and breadth will be evinced by describing the myriad of different federal, state and local taxes undocumented immigrants are subject to and pay. But most notably this Essay will verify that not only do undocumented immigrants pay the same taxes that U.S. citizens and documented residents pay, but in addition they are subject to and pay what I am describing as "the undocumented immigrant tax." The undocumented immigrant tax is effectively an additional tax burden, a surtax or tariff on undocumented immigrants and their families. As a result, not only do undocumented immigrants pay taxes, but they bear a greater tax burden than similarly situated U.S. citizens and documented residents.


November 25, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

A Legal Analysis of Postville: Butchering Statutes: The Postville Raid and the Misinterpretation of Federal Law

Peter  Moyers, a judicial clerk to Chief Judge Linda R. Reade during criminal proceedings after the Agriprocessors raid in Postville, Iowa, has written a law review article on the criminal prosecutions, which will be published by the Seattle University Law Review in April 2009. The title is "Butchering Statutes: The Postville Raid and the Misinterpretation of Federal Law."  Here is the working draft.

ABSTRACT:  On Monday, May 12, 2008, the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement led an immigration raid at the Agriprocessors, Inc. meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa. The local U.S. Attorney's Office pursued criminal complaints against approximately 300 migrant workers. The raid at Postville remains the nation's largest criminal immigration raid. I aim to provide a detailed and accurate account of the investigation of Agriprocessors, the raid, the criminal prosecutions, the sentencings and the aftermath. In so doing, I argue that a confluence of factors explain the number of individuals arrested and the accelerated criminal proceedings. I describe how the investigation of Agriprocessors led to the raid and criminal prosecutions. I show that the defendants, though not technically coerced, were the victims of systemic coercion. Such systemic coercion produced prompt resolutions of their cases, which propelled the guilty pleas and sentencings. I then argue that the accelerated process was premised upon two flawed interpretations of federal law, without which the guilty pleas and removal orders could not have been achieved. First, the USAO employed section1028A(a)(1) of Title 18, aggravated identity theft, which imposes a two-year mandatory, consecutive sentence to any defendant convicted under it, to leverage expedited plea agreements. The interpretation is erroneous, because the statute was intended to cover only true identity thieves, not those who did not know whether the means of identification they used belonged to another actual person. Second, I address section 1228(c)(5) of Title 8, judicial removal, which permits a federal district court to enter an order of removal against a criminal defendant as part of a plea agreement with the government. I argue that the district court improperly applied the statute, because the statute only applies to defendants who are lawfully admitted to the United States. The Agriprocessors employees were never lawfully admitted to the United States. Such orders of removal were invalid on their own terms. I argue that these mistaken applications of federal law are prone to repetition, because the relevant players cannot be relied upon to insist on the proper application of the operative statutes. Finally, I argue rectifications of these misinterpretations are likely to diminish the feasibility of future raids followed by imprisonment.


November 25, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)