Saturday, February 9, 2008

Immigration Issue: Where for art thou?

Although John McCain is still harassed by some on the far right for his support for comprehensive immigration reform, his emergence as the likely Republican presidential nominee and the fact that both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton also support CIR signals the de-emphasis of immigration as a lightning-rod issue in the race.

Tim Gaynor of Reuters notes a similar trend:    

PHOENIX (Reuters) - What a difference a few weeks make -- at least when it comes to the U.S. presidential campaign and the hot issue of immigration.

When the White House race began in earnest with the first party nominating contests in Iowa in January, a broad field of Republican candidates vied to demonstrate their toughness on illegal immigration, pledging more border enforcement and a crackdown on illegal workers.

But with a narrowing of the races to secure the Republican and Democratic nominations ahead of November's general election, the issue could slip lower down the agenda as far as the candidates are concerned, analysts say. Click here for the rest of the story.


February 9, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

SEARAC on Vietnamese Repatriation Agreement

The Southeast Asian Resource Action Center (SEARAC) has posted documents on its website related to the potential deportation of Vietnamese nationals in the United States at its website:

The Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC) is a national organization advancing the interests of Cambodian, Laotian, and Vietnamese Americans through leadership development, capacity building, and community empowerment. We were founded in 1979 as the Indochina Refugee Action Center (IRAC) to facilitate the relocation of Southeast Asian refugees into American society and foster the development of nonprofit organizations led by and for Southeast Asian Americans. We serve as a coalition-builder and leader, carry out action-oriented research projects, and strengthen the capacity of community-based organizations such as mutual assistance associations (MAAs) and faith-based organizations (FBOs). We also foster civic engagement among Southeast Asian Americans, and represent our communities at the national level in Washington, DC.


February 9, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, February 8, 2008

Conference: Cities for All: Integrating Our Communities

Message from the Mexican American Political Association and a conference related to municipal IDs in San Francisco.

"Cities for All: Integrating Our Communities"

Dear Friends:
I personally invite you to attend, participate in any form available to you, and support this extremely important community-based conference, which seeks to bring our communities together and make local municipal governmnet relevant to all residents irrespective of their immigration status. The conveners of the conference are the leaders who were personally responsible for taking the initiative and proposing to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors the concept of the municipal I.D. for any and all residents. This was truly innovative and responsive to the most repressive public policy of denying I.D.s and driver's licenses to undocumented migrants, which prevails in the state of California. They found the way, and local government obeyed their petition and did the right thing. Yes, they did the right thing and demonstrated leadership and courage as municipal elected officials who represented those who elected them and those who do not, but together comprise the tax-paying residents of the community.

Can this experience be shared and exported to other municipalities throughout California? This is the challenge and the opportunity. For example, why not Los Angeles where the political elected leadership is a super-majority of self-described liberal Democrats - Latinos, African Americans, Jewish-Americans, and whites? Why not the city of Santa Ana where the majority of the city council and mayor is of Mexican immigrant stock? Why not San Jose, Fresno, Santa Maria, Salinas, Delano, and hundreds of other cities where Latinos and immigrants comprise the majority or super-majority residents of the respective cities?

This is the essence of the conference convened by such notable grassroots leaders as Miguel Robles and the committees and networks he and other leaders have successfully constructed over the years. They are building a broad consensus of reasonableness in favor of dignity - and we support them, as should you. Thank you.


Dear Organization/Community Member,
The city and county of San Francisco recently approved an ordinance to issue municipal identification cards to all its residents. The idea to issue identification cards arose from the desire that undocumented immigrants be respected as fellow residents and be given the dignity to verify their identities. This idea was then broadened to address the needs of other members of our community, such as the elderly, homeless and transgendered.

La Alianza LatinoAmericana por los Derechos de los Inmigrantes (ALDI), a grassroots, volunteer organization in the Bay Area which helped make this legislation a reality cordially invite you to the Conference:

"Cities for All: Integrating Our Communities".

Saturday February 16, 2008.
Women's Building, 3543 18th St #8
San Francisco, CA

We are inviting local government officials and organizations from said "sanctuary" cities around the state to come learn about the implementation of these ID cards. Through this conference we will discuss the need and the tools necessary to implement municipal ID cards as well as other policies and issues in recognizing and addressing the needs of marginalized groups in our communities. We hope that your organization can make this event. Moreover at this point we ask that you join our efforts by endorsing this conference and sending a donation, any amount is appreciated. So if you are interested in helping out and/or endorsing this conference please contact:

Miguel Robles at (415)368-8542 or at
Daniel Luna at (831)261-2493 or at

In Unity,

Alianza LatinoAmericana por los Derechos del Inmigrante (ALDI)

Here is what we anticipate the conference to look like:

Cities for All: Integrating Our Communities.

Tentative Agenda
Cities for All: Integrating Our Communities.

Women's Building

Sabado 16 de febrero 2008, de 11:00 a.m. a 1:00 p.m.


a) Erik Quezada, "City ID" como herramienta de integracion social.
aprox.15 min.
Member of the community that can discuss the difficulties of integrating certain marginalized groups in the city. (immigrants, elderly, homeless, transgendered, foreign students, etc)

b) Tom Ammiano (Tentatively scheduled) San Francisco Supervisor
Alcance interinstitucional y justificaciones practicas. aprox. 20 min.
Supervisor Ammiano will discuss the strategy that was used with the municipal ID legislation, such as justifications to promote this project, collaboration with city departments and outreach.

c) Julia Mass (ACLU NC) and Daniel Luna (ALDI)
Formulacion legislativa. aprox. 20 min.
The legal mechanisms/issues that exist in implementing this legislation.

Preguntas y respuestas Question and Answer 20 min.

1:00 p.m. y 2:00 p.m. comida/Lunch

Sabado 2:00 a.m. a 5:00 p.m.

Por favor confirmennos su interes en atender esta conferencia y haganos saber en que area de talleres le interesa participar y los temas que le parece importante debatir.

Please let us know which workshop/s you are interested in and also what other topics you think we should discuss.

The first one would be about access to services in which service agencies participate to discuss difficulties they have experienced in offering services to people without proper identification, the human necessity that every person have a valid id without regard to age, race, gender, nationality, sexual orientation or immigration status, etc.

The second workshop will analyze the different ordinances and laws in different communities in CA and to evaluate their impact in the quality of life of the community and to discuss proposals to fully integrate all community members.

The third workshop would be about the media and its role in further marginalizing certain groups in particular the anti- immigrant discourse that has escalated since 9/11.

During the closing, we could read out loud resolutions made by the different workshops, announce a declaration of unity between sanctuary cities and make a national call in favor of creating an oasis of social integration for marginalized communities.

Sponsoring Organizations (building list)

Brown Berets de Watsonville,
Centro Latino Cuzcatlan,
Global Exchange,
Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC),
Hermandad Mexicana Latinoamericana,
Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LACLA),
La Raza Centro Legal,
Marin Immigrant Rights Coalition Mexican American Political Association (MAPA),
Migra Watch,
Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA),
Movimiento por una Amnistia Incondicional (MUA),
Proyecto Voz del Valle Central,
Religious Witness with Homeless People,
St. Peters Housing Committee,
Task Force on the Americas,
The Women's Building,
Voluntarios de la Comunidad.
Join us in this prolonged campaign for driver's licenses and visas for our families. The first step in making change is to join an organization that pursues the change we desire. We welcome you to our ranks.

Other organizations leading this movement include: Hermandad Mexicana Latinoamericana, Mexican American Political Association (MAPA), MAPA Youth Leadership, Liberty and Justice for Immigrants Movement, National Alliance for Immigrant's Rights, and immigrant's rights coalitions throughout the U.S..

Nativo V. Lopez, National President of MAPA (323) 269-1575


February 8, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Immigration Raids Continue

There has been another major immigration raid in Southern California, with possibly 100 people detained in Van Nuys. For the La Opinion report (in Spanish), click here.

UPDATE: Civil rights groups filed a petition in federal court on Feb. 15 seeking a restraining order against immigration officials who allegedly blocked workers detained in a raid at a Van Nuys manufacturing plant from consulting with their attorneys. When the workers were interviewed by federal agents their attorneys were not allowed to be present, according to the petition filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, the National Lawyers Guild and the National Immigration Law Center. The petition says workers were told they did not need attorneys even after they asked for one. Department of Justice attorneys are reviewing the claim.   The action comes a week after agents swept through Micro Solutions Enterprises, arresting 130 workers on immigration violations.


February 8, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)

AILF 2008 Teachers Resource Guide

The American Immigration Law Foundation has released its 2008 Teachers Resource Guide for K-12 educators.  Download 2008_teachers_resource_guide_lores.pdf  It helps teachers teach immigration to students who generally have open minds on teh subject.


February 8, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

New SSRN Immigration Articles

Check out these new immigration articles at the Social Science Research Network (

Global Migrations and Imagined Citizenship: Examples from Slavery and Chinese Exclusion and When Questioning Birthright Citizenship, Ernesto Hernandez Lopez, Chapman University School of Law

Immigration, Trade and Product Differentiation Roger White, Franklin and Marshall College - Department of Economics The Democratic Right to Full Bilingual Education Thomas Kleven, Texas Southern University - Thurgood Marshall School of Law

Poverty and Migration: The Ugandan Experience Stephen Kaduuli, Africa Leadership Institute

A Global Approach to Secret Evidence: How Human Rights Law Can Reform Our Immigration System Jaya Ramji-Nogales, Temple University - James E. Beasley School of Law

Getting the Numbers Right: International Engineering Education in the United States, China, and India Gary Gereffi, Duke University Vivek Wadhwa, Duke University - Pratt School of Engineering Ben Rissing, Harvard Law School - Labor and Worklife Program, Duke University - Pratt School of Engineering - Master of Engineering Management Program Ryan Ong, Duke University - Department of Sociology


February 8, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Arizona Law Upheld -- Appeal Forthcoming

It iis no big surprise given that the district court previously denied a TRO in the case but a federal judge yesterday upheld the new Arizona law that mandates the closure of businesses that knowingly hire undocumented immigrants. Judge Neil Wake rejected the arguments of business and immigrant-rights groups, which sued saying the law was prempted by federal immigration law. For the L.A. Times story on the ruling, click here.

Here is a copy of the decision.  Download Valle.Decision.2.7.08.pdf   Expect an appeal to the Ninth Circuit!

UPDATE  The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Arizona, the National Immigration Law Center (NILC), and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) have announced that they will appeal the district court's ruling to the Ninth Circuit.  Lawyers on the case include Omar Jadwat, Lucas Guttentag and Jennifer C. Chang of the ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project; Daniel Pochoda of the ACLU of Arizona; Jonathan Weissglass, Stephen Berzon and Rebecca Smullin of Altshuler Berzon LLP; Kristina Campbell and Cynthia Valenzuela of MALDEF; and Joaquin, Monica T. Guizar and Karen C. Tumlin of NILC.

As the N.Y. Times observes, courts have recently upheld state or local immigration laws in Arizona, Missouri, and Oklahoma.  Is the tide turning?  Stay tuned.


February 8, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Sundance Premiers Touch on Immigration

For interesting discussion of several films premiering at the Sundance Film Festival that touch on immigration, borders, and multiculturalism, click here.


February 8, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Surviving Spouses Against Deportation: Demanding an End to the Widow Penalty

Check out the website 204_jacquelinecoastguard Surviving Spouses Against Deportation:  Demanding an End to the Widow Penalty.  It includes recent filings in the class action lawsuit challenging the "widow penalty," and also the recent court opinions.  All filings can be found at the website.

What is the widow penalty?  Consider two examples from the SSAD website:  Marlin Coats didn't hesitate to jump in the water to try to save two drowning teens caught in a riptide at San Francisco Beach Park. He lost his life that Mother's Day in 2006, but because of his heroism those two teenagers survived. So why is the U.S. now responding to Coats' ultimate sacrifice by deporting his wife Jacqueline Coats? U.S. Army contractor Todd Engstrom of Illinois gave his life for his country when he was killed in Iraq, and now the federal government is telling his wife Diana Engstrom she too must go.

Because of a flaw in the law, women and men who entered this country legally are facing deportation when their spouses die during the lengthy administrative visa process. There over one hundred of these cases across the country affecting women, mothers and children.


February 8, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Immigrant of the Day: Joseph Brodsky (USSR)

Brodsky_trudy_i_dni Joseph Brodsky (1940–1996), born Iosif Aleksandrovich Brodsky, was a Russian poet and essayist who won the Nobel Prize in Literature (1987) and was chosen Poet Laureate of the United States (1991-92).  Brodsky was born in Leningrad and survived the Siege of Leningrad.

In 1963, Brodsky was arrested and in 1964 charged with parasitism by the Soviet authorities and sentenced to five years of internal exile with 18 months of labor. The sentence was commuted in 1965 after prominent Soviet and foreign literary figures, including Jean Paul Sartre, protested. In 1964, Leonid Brezhnev came to power. Brodsky refused to publish his writings censored and most of his work has appeared only in the West.

On June 4, 1972 Brodsky was expelled from the USSR. He became a U.S. citizen in 1977. His first teaching position in the United States was at the University of Michigan. He was Poet-in-Residence and Visiting Professor at Queens College, Smith College, Columbia University, and the Cambridge University in England. He was a Five-College Professor of Literature at Mount Holyoke College. Brodsky achieved major successes in his career as an English language poet and essayist.

In 1978, Brodsky was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Letters at Yale University, and in 1979, he was inducted as a member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. In 1981, Brodsky received the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation's "genius" award. In 1986, his collection of essays Less Than One won the National Book Critic's Award for Criticism. In 1987, Brodsky won the Nobel Prize for Literature, being the fifth Russian-born writer to do so.

In 1991, Brodsky became Poet Laureate of the United States. His inauguration address was printed in Poetry Review.


February 8, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Nonimmigrant of the Day: Amy Winehouse Denied Visa -- Then Granted; She Will Stay in London for Grammys

220pxamy_winehouse_eurockeennes_200 Troubled English singer Amy Winehouse, who is being treated for drug addiction, will not be attending the Grammy Awards this weekend.  The U.S. government reportedly denied her a visa.  The singer instead will perform and accept any awards via video feed, reports, citing a music executive involved with the Grammys.

UPDATE:  On Friday, the State Department changed its mind and granted Winehouse a visa but, according to the N.Y. Times, it was not in time for her to make the trip to Sunday's Grammy Awards. Winehouse will stick to her plan of performing live by satellite from London.  Winehouse has been nominated for Grammys in six categories.


February 7, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Lawsuit to be Filed on Border Searches of Electronic Devices

The Washington Post reports that the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Asian Law Caucus, two civil liberties groups in San Francisco, are filing a lawsuit to force the government to disclose its policies on border searches, including the rules that govern the seizing and copying of the contents of electronic devices. They also want to know the boundaries for asking travelers about their political views, religious practices and other activities potentially protected by the First Amendment.  The lawsuit was inspired by some two dozen cases, 15 of which involved searches of cellphones, laptops, MP3 players and other electronics. Almost all involved travelers of Muslim, Middle Eastern or South Asian background.


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

ICE Head Halloween Party Photos Released!

Julie_myers_lg The U.S. has released to CNN more than 100 photographs of a Halloween party that temporarily threatened to derail the nomination of a top Department of Homeland Security official. Check out a couple of pictures from the halloween party at the CNN website.  We previously reported on the controversy and Myers' confirmation.

At the party, Julie Myers, then-acting chief of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), part of the Department of Homeland Security, gave an award for "most original costume" to an employee wearing prison stripes, a wig with dreadlocks and face-darkening makeup.


February 7, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

No License for You

While most Presidential candidates try to duck-and-cover on the issue, driver's licenses for immigrants continue to cause big problems on the ground level.The Inside Higher Education reports that the battle over driver’s licenses for undocumentedimmigrants has complicated life in Michigan for foreign students with visas, i.e., noncitizens lawfully in the United States. An opinion by Michigan’s attorney general prompted the secretary of state to stop issuing new licenses to temporary residents as well as undocumented immigrants. The former group includes people on student visas.  Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land’s interpretation of the opinion prompted an immediate outcry from businesses and universities concerned that the law had snagged international students and workers residing on temporary but legal visas. The result is that thousands of Michigan’s students from foreign countries have potentially been left without the right to obtain a license, disproportionately affecting graduate students who live off-campus and rely on cars to travel to and from class.

The law of unintended consequences at work again?


February 7, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Angelina Jolie Visits Iraq

200pxjolie2 We have reported regularly about the refugees who have fled the war in Iraq.  CNN reports that Angelina Jolie is visiting Iraq to boost what she sees as lagging efforts to deal with the problems of 2 million internally displaced people in the wartorn country.  A goodwill ambassador for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, Jolie wants to find ways to help the agency be more active inside Iraq.

February 7, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (18) | TrackBack (0)

Immigrant of the Day: Yo-Yo Ma (France)

220pxyoyo_ma Yo-Yo Ma (b. October 7, 1955) is a French-born American cellist and winner of multiple Grammy Awards. His official website is here.

Yo-Yo Ma currently resides in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Ma was born in Paris to Chinese parents.. His mother was a singer and his father was a conductor and composer. His family moved to New York when he was seven years old.

Ma currently plays with his own Silk Road Ensemble, which brings together musicians from diverse countries all of which are historically linked via the Silk Road, and records on the Sony Classical label.

Ma's primary performance instrument is the Domenico Montagnana 1733 cello built in Venice and nicknamed Petunia. This cello is more than 270 years old and valued at $2.5 million.  Another of Ma's cellos, the Davidov Stradivarius, was previously owned by Jacqueline du Pré who passed it to him upon her death.

In 1997, Yo-Yo Ma was featured on John Williams' soundtrack to the Hollywood film, Seven Years in Tibet. In 2000, he was heard on the soundtrack of the blockbuster film hit Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. He collaborated on the original score for the 2005 film Memoirs of a Geisha.

Yo-Yo Ma has over 75 albums: 15 of which are Grammy Award Winners.


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

Hoover Institution Report: Illegal Immigration and the American Workforce

The Hoover Institution has released an interesting report on "Illegal Immigration and the American Workforce" As one blog reader noted, the Hoover fellows disagree on the appropriate immigration policy:

Timothy Charles Brown: "We need a holistic approach that looks at illegal immigration not as a political problem but as a business opportunity," Brown explains. "By transforming illegal immigration from a large-scale, off-the-books, black-market operation into a revenue-producing program that manages the movement of workers in and out of the U.S. economy, we could maximize its benefits to all four major stakeholders—the workers, their employers, the countries the workers come from, and the American taxpayers."

Victor Davis Hanson (author of Mexifornia): "…by closing the borders, the U.S. would stop subsidizing Mexican failure." Hanson states Mexico must rid itself of the corruption, elitism, and cronyism that has continued to stagnate its economy and forces its citizens to cross the border in search of opportunity. The solution to ending illegal immigration, Hanson believes, lies in the hope that someday, "Tijuana might become as prosperous as San Diego." The goal of the United States, Hanson explains, should be to help Mexico by providing the "tough love" it needs.

Stephen Haber: if the United States were to pull the plug on illegal immigrants, Mexico could face widespread political and social instability, resulting, over time, in serious consequences for its closest neighbor, the United States. And, Haber warns, "there is no scenario in which a politically and socially unstable Mexico is in the interest of the U.S."


February 7, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (11) | TrackBack (0)

Hazleton Mayor to Run for Congress

Barletta Salena Zito on her blog Primary Colors writes that the Mayor of Hazleton, PA, who made a name for himself with an anti-immigrant ordinance that was struck down last summer by a federal court, is running for Congress:  "On Thursday, Republican Mayor Lou Barletta, of Hazleton, Luzerne County, plans to announce his candidacy against Rep. Paul Kanjorski, a Democrat representing the 11th Congressional District. Barletta brings a high profile to this race thanks to his city ordinance that took on landlords who rented to illegal immigrants and punished businesses that hired them."


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

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Texas Jail Wants ICE Training

An ICE program that trains local jails on the art of identifying undocumented immigrants apparently is quite popular:

James Pinkerton writes in the Houston Chronicle:

The federal immigration training program Harris County Sheriff Tommy Thomas wants for a dozen jailers has been successful in identifying illegal immigrants in Arizona and Oklahoma, officials there said.

Harris County would be the first law enforcement agency in Texas to receive training from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, joining 34 departments from Florida to California that have undergone the training. Thomas announced Friday that he authorized his department to pursue the program.

The training would give employees the ability to interview inmates more thoroughly about their immigration status and authorize them to detain those in the country illegally.

Seventy departments are on a training waiting list, including four in Texas, but an ICE official would not identify them until formal agreements are signed. Click here for the rest of the story.


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

Latina/os, Asian Americans Supported Clinton, McCain in California

FROM THE CNN Political Ticker:

"Sen. Hillary Clinton can thank Latino and Asian voters for her projected victory in California. Early exit polls indicate that Sen. Barack Obama carried white voters in California because of his overwhelming support among white men. White women, as in other states, more often supported Clinton. Black voters overwhelmingly favored Obama but Asian voters, whose numbers are comparable to blacks, went overwhelmingly for Clinton. The deciding factor may have been Latinos, who make up roughly 30 percent of California's Democratic vote. They went for Clinton by a two-to-one margin. UPDATE: Meanwhile, exit polls show Latino and Asian Republicans may also have played an important part in John McCain's victory in the GOP primary. Mitt Romney led among white Republican voters but McCain led among Latinos and Asians, the second- and third-largest voting blocs behind whites among California Republicans."


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