Saturday, December 27, 2008
Focusing on the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility in Rhode Island, the New York Times looks at the immigrant detention industry and its various abuses, shortcomings, etc. Immigrant detention has skyrocketed since Congress passed immigration reform legislation in 1996. America's secret prisons, as portrayed vividly in the move The Visitor, have long been criticized. So the Times story is not really "news" but remains important nonetheless.
NPR has a story on "America's Toughest Sheriff," Joe Arpaio, the Sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, the subject of a Fox reality show. Clint Bolick (UC Davis Law alum)at The Goldwater Institute , described by NPR as a "conservative-libertarian outfit," just released a report titled: "Mission Unaccomplished: The Misplaced Priorities of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office." Bolick's report notes the violent crime rate in Maricopa County is up, far higher than in Phoenix. The response time for 911 calls is twice that of Phoenix. The sheriff's jails recently lost accreditation for not providing adequate health care to inmates. Bolick says that the sheriff's highly publicized immigrant sweeps have not netted a single major smuggler. "If you've got limited resources, who do you go after -– the guy who is here to work, or the guy who is making millions of dollars bringing in thousands of illegal immigrants?" Bolick says. "Certainly the latter."
Friday, December 26, 2008
There have been lots of stories suggesting that Mexican immigrants may be returning to Mexico in large part due to the economic recession that has resulted in increased unemployment. (Here and here.). Today, also linking immigration to the domestic labor market, a N.Y. Times op/ed expresses some optimism about reform to the current immigration system and observes that:
"In simplest terms, what [Hilda Solis, nominated by Senator Obama for Secretary of Labor] and Mr. Obama seem to know in their gut is this: If you uphold workers’ rights, even for those here illegally, you uphold them for all working Americans. If you ignore and undercut the rights of illegal immigrants, you encourage the exploitation that erodes working conditions and job security everywhere. In a time of economic darkness, the stability and dignity of the work force are especially vital."
For successful immigration reform, we must realize that immigration (and undocumented immigration) is directly related to the labor market. The United States need sensible immigration laws that address labor market needs; the most likely alternative is an undocumented population that, as we see today, fulfills labor market needs.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
In her initimable style, Michelle Malkin rips President Bush for pardoning a South Texas rancher convicted for hiring undocumented workers to harvest watermelons 16 years ago. The rancher had paid a fine and served two years of probation after his conviction.
Conservative bloggers like Malkin are especially critical because the President's latest pardons do not include Border Patrol Agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, who are in prison for shooting a fleeing drug smuggler.
Dan Kowalski jiokes that President Bush should pardon those indocumented workers convicted after the Postville raid.
For more information about President Bush's pardon of the rancher, click here.
Pamela Constable writes for the Washington Post:
A year ago, Yunis Sandivar's travel agency in Arlington County was doing a brisk business in round-trip holiday tickets to Bolivia, Peru, Guatemala and El Salvador. This season, she says, those ticket sales have fallen by 40 percent compared with last December, and a surprising number of customers are buying one-way tickets home -- temporarily giving up on the U.S. economy after years of legal residency.
"Normally at this time, we are full of people, but just look around. The office is empty. We would not survive except for the one-way tickets," Sandivar said. "Our community is facing a very crude reality right now. People have lost their houses, their jobs, their businesses. They are not going home to see their families -- they are going home until the situation here improves. It is going to be a very sad Christmas."
Among the estimated half-million Latin American immigrants in the Washington region, Christmas has long been a season of sentimental and physical reconnection. Extended families are separated by relatively short distances, united by Christian traditions and accustomed to exchanging gifts -- shipped by Hispanic-owned courier services -- including electric appliances and children's party clothes.
This year, however, the area's Latino communities have been hit hard by the national economic slump, with the construction trade devastated by the financial crisis, service industries laying off workers and immigrant small-businesses owners hurt because their customers are without work. Click here for the rest of the story.
For a great Christmas story from New America Media, click here. Activists organized a toy drive for children detained along with their immigrant parents behind the concrete walls and barbed wire fences of the infamous T. Don Hutto Detention Center. Santa Claus was only able to deliver the gifts after litigation and many protests.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Anna Gorman writes for the Los Angeles Times:
Consular officials in Los Angeles are urging Salvadorans to renew their immigration papers by a Dec. 30 deadline to avoid risking deportation.
About 229,000 Salvadorans are eligible for temporary protected status, but only about 39%, or 90,340, have submitted applications, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
El Salvador's consul general in Los Angeles, Hector Hugo Herrera, said Tuesday he believed many haven't completed the paperwork because they cannot afford the $80 fee for the fingerprints and the $340 fee for the work permit.
"They are leaving it to the last moment because they don't have sufficient money," he said, adding that many have lost jobs or hours because of the declining economy. Click here for the rest of the story.
I ran aceoss an interesting blog that readers might find of interest, Feet in 2 Worlds: Telling the Story's of Today's Immigrants. Check out some recent stories:
- Online revolt against Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
- Obama’s Latino Problem: Disappointment over cabinet picks
- Turned Away at the Border: Poles shocked at treatment at NY airports
- Recession not pushing migrants back to Mexico after all.
States Without Nations has a story about David Lopez (a pseudonym), a U.S. citizen, was detained by ICE and subject to a removal order to Mexico, even though the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency has no jurisdiction over U.S. citizens.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
The Supreme Court of California today granted the appellants' petitions for review in Martinez v. Regents of the University of California. The court also denied the plaintiffs' separate petition for review.
The Supreme Court will review a California Court of Appeals decision ruling that a state law that allows undocumented immigrants to pay resident fees for the University of California and other California colleges conflicts with federal law. The court reversed a lower court's decision that there were no substantial legal issues and sent the case back for trial. Law professor Kris Kobach (Missouri-Kansas City) was an attorney for the plaintiffs, out-of-state students attending California colleges.
From Tampa Bay Online:
A five-day effort by law enforcement to target fugitive aliens has resulted in 110 arrests, including 11 in Tampa.
The operation was organized by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, and was aimed at illegal immigrants who ignored orders to leave the country. Of the 110 arrested, 81 fell under that category; the remaining 29 had other immigration violations.
ICE officials said 24 of those arrested had criminal histories.
In addition to the 11 arrested in Tampa, 47 arrests were made in Miami-Dade, 30 in Broward, 15 in Palm Beach and seven in Orlando.
"ICE will continue to arrest and deport aliens who have ignored an immigration judge's order to leave the country," Michael Rozos, field office director for the ICE Office of Detention and Removal Operations (DRO) in Florida, said in a press release issued today. "While we are a welcoming country, we expect those wanting to immigrate here to do so in a safe, legal and orderly manner. We will conduct these targeted fugitive operations to ensure that removal orders are carried out and locate these immigration violators who potentially pose a threat to public safety. Those that want to avoid arrest should comply with the law." Click here for the rest of the story.
The U.S.F. Law Review invites you attend a symposium on Friday, February 27th, 2009. The Symposium will focus on how contemporary society views, treats, and defines immigrant workers and the impact of the current legal structures on this reality. The morning plenary panels will consider the new legal methods and approaches that can be used to address immigrant worker rights, the parallels between chattel slavery and present-day U.S. immigration policy, and the treatment of female immigrant workers in the context of slavery, trafficking, and migrant farming. Among others, the morning panelists will include Professor Gerald Neuman of Harvard Law School, Dean Kevin Johnson of UC Davis School of Law, and Professor Adrienne Davis of Washington University in St. Louis School of Law. John Trasvina, General Counsel and President of MALDEF, will provide our keynote address. In the afternoon, attendees will select one of three, concurrently running breakout sessions to attend, which will cover the impact of the traditional practice of labor law, ICE raids, and the high-tech industry on immigrant workers. Breakout session panelists will include Professor Bill Hing of UC Davis School of Law, Professor Christopher Cameron of Southwestern School of Law, and Mr. Martin Lawler of Lawler & Lawler LLP, recognized as one of America’s leading immigration lawyers. As a precursor to the Symposium, consider attending the 5th Annual Pemberton Lecture on Workplace Justice, to be held the evening before the Symposium, on Thursday, February 26th, 2009, at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. This joint event will feature a lecture by Professor Juan Perea from the University of Florida Fredric G. Levin College of Law. Registration information for both events will be available on the Symposium's website, in mid-January 2009. Visit this website to review a detailed version of the Symposium’s schedule and a full list of its participants and for more information about the Pemberton lecture. Please contact the Law Review Symposium Editor, Jenica Mariani, at email@example.com, with questions about the Symposium and Professor Maria Ontiveros, at firstname.lastname@example.org, with questions about the Pemberton lecture.
Monday, December 22, 2008
"State legislatures continue tackling immigration issues in a variety of policy arenas at an unprecedented rate. As of November 30, 2008, no fewer than 1305 pieces of legislation related to immigrants and immigration had been introduced. In 41 states, at least one law or resolution was enacted, with a total of 205 laws and resolutions enacted nationwide. Three bills were vetoed by governors. The 2008 level of activity is comparable to last year, when 1,562 bills were introduced and 240 laws were enacted. As in recent years, the top three areas of interest are identification / driver’s licenses, employment and law enforcement. For a full report from the National Conference on State Legislatures, see Download report.pdf
A message from Jay Via del Rio:
I wish I had the time to call everyone...but time is a premium right now for the children and their moms in Hutto. We have less than 24 hours to make a difference...and shut Hutto down. We just learned about this over the weekend...that...
TOMORROW, Tuesday morning, December 23, when most folks will be focused on the holidays, the Williamson County Commissioners Court will vote to extend their contracts for Hutto with ICE and CCA.
Is there anything YOU or your organization can do write, call, fax and/or e-mail to stop such a decision that will only prolong the imprisonment and abuse of these innocent children?
Is there any kind of mobilization at the Williamson Country Commissioners Court tomorrow that you could help with today?
Below is a statement regarding the extension of Hutto...along with contact information. From Washington, D.C. to Washington State...please consider letting your voices heard.
Please read the following...and please share...
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Corrected email addresses: Gattis: "Bite Me"
Date: Sun, 21 Dec 2008 22:45:16 -0600
From: MARY ELLEN KERSCH <email@example.com>
WCCC Judge Gattis quoted in AAS re. TD Hutto vote: "Unless something jumps up and bites me, I will vote to renew."
Bite him. Before Tuesday’s vote!
Contact WCCC members and tell them to vote NO Hutto Renewal(See contact info below)
Putting non-criminal families, including little children, in prison for infractions comparable to running a stop sign is immoral and un-American.
Imprisoning people charged with no crime, while they await decision re. applications for citizenship and asylum, is NOT effective immigration policy, does NOT secure our borders, and has NOTHING to do with patriotism. It is a corrupt means to enrich an already wealthy corporation by exploiting the weakest among us!
As partners in the contract for the most expensive method to effectively assure that non-criminal immigrants appear at their hearings, the Williamson County Commissioners Court (WCCC) exhibits a disregard for fiscal responsibility with taxpayer dollars during a national economic crisis.
This prison is exempt from any governmental regulation and has no government oversight—and a continuing record of abuses. With the lapse of the only outside (court-ordered) oversight of this facility in August of 2009 those risks are greatly elevated in renewal. (Article in March 2008 NewYorker provides a good chronicle) http://www.newyorker.com/services/referral?messageKey=7bbcad5b16c75890c2f3d6cd883a63b9
Partnering with Corrections Corporation of American, with its less-than-admirable record of management, is a bad business practice, and exposes Williamson County taxpayers to financial risks from poor management, bad employees, and external lawsuits—all of which are beyond their capacity to control. (See attached “Letter to WCCC re CCA Business Practices.)
Williamson County’s reputation has been damaged as a result of a number of specific offenses relating to the operation of the facility, as well as its very existence. Contract renewal would affirm WCCC’s approval of the disgraces of T Don Hutto and further damage our image locally, nationally, and internationally.
Evidence presented at the September public forum (which WCCC boycotted) stated that T Don Hutto’s operation is probably a deterrent to future, clean, economic development in the area; renewal would send a very bad signal for the future of such growth; it is actually anti-economic development!
This proposal fails the simple “risk vs. benefits” of any business undertaking. The less than $16,000 monthly maximum that Williamson County collects under this contract cannot be reasonably argued to compensate for the negatives that exist.
WCCC has had a very rough record re. contracts to date; re-entering this partnership does nothing to convince citizens that WCCC has been learned anything from those previous costly contract mistakes.
Please Contact :
Judge Dan Gattis: firstname.lastname@example.org(512) 943-1550
Commissioner Lisa Birkman: email@example.com ( 512) 733-5380
Commissioner Cynthia Long: firstname.lastname@example.org(512) 260-4280)
Commissioner Valerie Covey: email@example.com (512) 943-3370
Commissioner Ron Morrison: firstname.lastname@example.org (512) 846-1190
Phone, email, by end of business Monday and tell them NO to Hutto! And broadcast this plea on behalf of good government and the babies in jail.
Our Immigrant of the Day is another immigrant vet who gave his life for the United States. In this time, we could list one every day. Here is what the L.A. Times (and here) tells us about Juan de Dios Garcia-Arana, age 27 at his death.
Army, Staff Sergeant
Based: Camp Hovey, South Korea 5th Battalion, 5th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division Supporting: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Died: April 30, 2005 Khaldiya (near Fallouja), Iraq
Married , 1 child
Hometown: Los Angeles
High School: John C. Fremont Senior High (Los Angeles)
Country of Birth: Mexico
Burial: Buried in Guadalajara, Mexico
"You would never find that guy sad or depressed. He was one of the most joyful guys around." — Edgardo Garcia, brother
Garcia-Arana was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, and moved to Los Angeles in 1993. His younger brother Edgardo followed him into the military and came home from Kuwait on emergency leave when he was killed.
"I KNEW JUAN FROM HIGH SCHOOL. HE WAS A VERY GOOD FRIEND. I WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER JUAN AS A FIGHTER. ALWAYS WANTED THE BEST FOR HIS FRIENDS AND FAMILY. REST IN PEACE MY FRIEND..." — JOSE DOMINGUEZ
The WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY JOURNAL OF LAW & POLICY recently published an immigration symposium that is worth a look. Here are the contributions:
Legomsky, Stephen H. Introduction. 27 Wash. U. J.L. & Pol'y 1-5 (2008).
Hollifield, James F., Valerie F. Hunt and Daniel J. Tichenor. Immigrants, markets, and rights: the United States as an emerging migration state. 27 Wash. U. J.L. & Pol'y 7-44 (2008).
Chacón, Jennifer M. Citizenship and family: revisiting Dred Scott. 27 Wash. U. J.L. & Pol'y 45-70 (2008).
Family, Jill E. Threats to the future of the immigration class action. 27 Wash. U. J.L. & Pol'y 71-122 (2008).
Lukes, Timothy J. and Minh T. Hoang. Open and notorious: adverse possession and immigration reform. 27 Wash. U. J.L. & Pol'y 123-137 (2008).
Moore, Jennifer. The alchemy of exile: strengthening a culture of human rights in the Burundian refugee camps in Tanzania. 27 Wash. U. J.L. & Pol'y 139-159 (2008).
In addition, a new article by Nancy Morawetz (NYU), who does first rate scholarship, also is worth a look: Morawetz, Nancy. Rethinking drug inadmissibility. 50 Wm. & Mary L. Rev. 163-209 (2008).
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Media Corp News reports:
Hollywood actor Ben Affleck and British rock luminary Mick Jagger have launched a media campaign to draw awareness to the refugees hit by the recent conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
At the centre of the campaign is the 23-minute “Gimme Shelter” video directed by Affleck and filmed by John Toll, both Academy Award winners.
The footage was shot in the strife-torn North Kivu region of Congo, where thousands fled their homes after heavy fighting resumed in August.
The UN’s refugee agency (UNHCR) hopes to raise US$23 million in the war-ravaged African nation to pay for emergency aid and clean water. Click here for the rest of the story.
For supporters of comprehensive immigration reform, the politics surrounding immigration in this bad economy will no doubt prove to be both complex and difficult. One thing is clear -- bot advocates and opponents of comprehensive reform remain. Click here for a story offering a glimpse into the political morass facing reformers.