Saturday, February 23, 2008
"Illegal immigrants should not be allowed to drive, Kobach said, because they often come from underdeveloped countries and have little to no experience in driving a car. "So they come here and start driving and people die," he said."
Even assuming that Kobach's facts are true (a dubious bet at best), does his logic hold? "Illegal" immigrants can't drive well so we should not safety-train and test their driving? Recall that Kobach joined the Mitt Romney team as it geared up the immigration enforcement engine before the campaign ran out of steam. Is Kobach becoming the Tom Tancredo of immigration law professors?
Postscript from Luis Rumbaut of the Washington Independent.
The UN News Service report on one of the oldest refugee situations in the world:
Seeking to end one of the most prolonged refugee situations in the world, the United Nations is appealing for $34 million to assist 218,000 Burundians who fled to neighbouring Tanzania to escape violence in their homeland over 35 years ago.
The so-called "1972 Burundians" are among the hundreds of thousands of Burundians who sought refuge in neighbouring countries that year to escape ethnic violence which killed an estimated 200,000 people. They are distinct from Burundian refugees who arrived in Tanzania in the 1990s.
The appeal made by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) covers the voluntary repatriation and reintegration of some 46,000 refugees who wish to return to Burundi. Click here for the rest of the story.
With all the talk of African American/Latino immigrant conflict, our readers might be interested in a relatively new grass roots group, the Black Alliance for Just Immigration, based in Berkeley, California. According to its website, the mission of the group is to engage African Americans and other communities in a dialogue that leads to actions that challenge U.S. immigration policy and the underlying issues of race, racism and economic inequity that frame it.
The Black Alliance for Just Immigration is a group of African Americans and black immigrants who are working towards uniting communities for just and fair immigration reform in the United States. The group's four uniting principles are:
• All people, regardless of immigration status, country of origin, race, color, creed, gender, sexual orientation or HIV status deserve human rights as well as social and economic justice.
• Historically and currently, U.S. immigration policy has been infused with racism, enforcing unequal and punitive standards for immigrants of color.
• Immigration to the United States is driven by an unjust international economic order that deprives people of the ability to earn a living and raise their families in their home countries. Through international trade, lending, aid and investment policies, the United States government and corporations are the main promoters and beneficiaries of this unjust economic order.
• African Americans, with our history of being economically exploited, marginalized and discriminated against, have much in common with people of color who migrate to the United States, documented and undocumented.
At a conference yesterday at UC Berkeley, I saw Gerald Lenoir, the group's coordinator, thoughtfully discuss immigration, tensions between communities of color, and the need for multiracial coalitions.
Dowell Myers for the Immigration Policy Center writes "Immigration has not only begun to level off, but immigrants are climbing the socio-economic ladder, and will become increasingly important to the US economy as workers, taxpayers, and homebuyers supporting the aging Baby Boom generation." Click here for the full report.
Dr. Richard Murray has taught at the University of Houston since 1966 and is currently the Bob Lanier Professor of Political Policy in the Department of Political Science and Director of Surveying for the UH Center for Public Policy. His academic interests are in Houston and Texas politics. Here are Lanier's opinions from the early voting (click here for an explanation) in the Texas primary:
"After with two days of early voting completed, four clear trends have emerged, all of which point to big trouble for the Texas campaign of Senator Clinton."
"First, voting is very heavy, especially in the Democratic primary."
"Second, early voting is especially light in heavily Hispanic neighborhoods."
"Third, African-American early voting is quite robust."
" Fourth, and in my opinion most important, there is unprecedented Democratic primary voting in heavily Republican areas."
Click the link above for further analysis.
Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey today announced higher civil fines against employers who violate federal immigration laws. The announcement was made in a joint briefing pn Friday with Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff about newly enacted border security reforms put in place by the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security. Under the new rule, which was approved by Attorney General Mukasey and Secretary Chertoff, civil fines will increase by as much as $5,000. The new rule will take effect on March 27, 2008, and will be published in the Federal Register early next week.
Friday, February 22, 2008
The March 4 Texas primary is part of the next critical step in the Democratic primary race. Here's an interesting analysis from the Immigration Policy Center:
Politics and Power: Immigration, Latino Voters, and the Texas Primary
Anti-Immigrant Politics Failing as
Texas Latino and Immigrant Voters' Influence Growing
Texas is one of the three delegate-rich states remaining to vote in the presidential primaries. On March 4, all eyes will be on Texas-in part, to see the impact of the large Latino electorate in this important primary. Record-breaking turnout of Latino primary voters in states as disparate as California, Connecticut and Missouri portend an important role for Latinos voting in the upcoming Texas primary where they constitute 22.4 percent of the registered voters in Texas. Read on to learn more about the influence of Latinos and immigrants in the Lone Star state.
Anti-immigrant Strategy Goes Thud: While Democratic candidates Sens. Clinton and Obama are stepping up their courtship of the Latino vote in Texas, Republican candidate Sen. McCain has all but sewn up the nomination. Analysis of the Republican candidates and their positions on immigration is well captured in a recent Washington Post editorial headline: "Nativism's Electoral Flop, Bashers of Illegal Immigration are Failing at the Polls." As the editorial suggests, Republican primary voters aren't lured by the shrill alarms sounded by anti-immigrant candidates. Bumper sticker slogans with no solutions, offered by Republican candidates like Tom Tancredo and Mitt Romney, have fallen on deaf ears.
Texas Latinos as Business Owners and Buyers: The Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia estimates that Hispanic consumers in Texas accounted for $153.7 billion in purchasing power in 2007-amounting to nearly 20 percent of the state's total buying power. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were 319,340 Hispanic-owned businesses in Texas in 2002, which accounted for 18 percent of all businesses in the state.
Immigrants and Texas' Economic Health: A 2008 study by the conservative Americas Majority Foundation found that the 10 states with the highest percentage of immigrants, including Texas, experienced the highest Gross State Product. The study found that a large immigrant population and recent increases in immigrant population are associated with elevated levels and growth rates in Gross State Product, personal income, per capita personal income, disposable income, per capita disposable income, median household income, and median per capita income.
Undocumented Immigrants' Contributions to Texas Are Significant: A 2006 study by the Texas State Comptroller found that "the absence of the estimated 1.4 million undocumented immigrants in Texas in fiscal 2005 would have been a loss to our Gross State Product of $17.7 billion. Undocumented immigrants produced $1.58 billion in state revenues, which exceeded the $1.16 billion in state services they received."
Contact: Tim Vettel
The I-130 is the basic form that is used by US citizens and LPRs wishing to petition for relatives:
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
Office of Communications
February 19, 2008
USCIS Revises Filing Instructions for Petition for Alien Relative
Form I-130s to be filed with the Chicago Lockbox
WASHINGTON— U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has revised the filing instructions for the Petition for Alien Relative (Form I-130). Effective immediately, all petitioners filing stand-alone Form I-130s must file their petitions with the Chicago Lockbox instead of a USCIS Service Center. A USCIS Update was issued on December 3, 2007, encouraging petitioners to file with the Chicago Lockbox while the form was being revised. Now that the revision is complete, filing with the Chicago Lockbox is required.
Petitions filed with the Chicago Lockbox will be routed to, and adjudicated at, the appropriate USCIS Service Center. This routing will be based on the petitioner’s place of residence in the United States.
Two separate post office box addresses (see below) have been established that correspond to the appropriate USCIS Service Center (either Vermont or California) that will process and adjudicate the petition. Although Form I-130 must be filed with the Chicago Lockbox, petitioners will receive receipt notices from either the Vermont or California Service Center.
Petitioners who reside in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin or Wyoming must file their stand-alone Form I-130s with the Lockbox using the following address:
P.O. Box 804625
Chicago, IL 60680-1029
Petitioners who reside in Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, U.S. Virgin Islands, West Virginia or District of Columbia must file their stand-alone Form I-130 with the Lockbox using the following address:
P.O. Box 804616
Chicago, IL 60680-1029
The revised form and filing instructions are available through the USCIS’ Web site at www.uscis.gov.
The N.Y. Times website allows one to both watch the video of the debate last night in Austin Texas between Democratic contenders Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. By following the links, it is possible to watch (and see the transcript of) the part of the debate devoted to immigration. There were no real surprises in the discussion of immigration. However, Senator Obama explicitly recognized that the national debate over immigration has in the past led toward charged rhetoric -- and even hate crimes -- directed at Latinos. Senator Obama also expressed support for the DREAM Act.
Both candidates voted for the Secure Fence Act but expressed concern over how the fence was being constructed by the Bush administration. I also sensed a move by both candidates away from support for a border fence.
The L.A. Times earlier this weelk ran a wonderful story on our Immigrant of the Day, Joe Cook, a Cambodian refugee who survived the Khmer Rouge genocide to escape to the United States. Cook has spent the last five years trying to turn the former killing fields of his homeland into fields of dreams -- by bringingbaseball to Cambodia. Along the way he's lost his life savings, his car and nearly his marriage. And, Cook insists, some people in Cambodia would like to see him dead. "I want to walk away from this. I do. But these kids," he said, pointing to a photo of three shoeless children in torn clothes toting bats and gloves through a rice paddy, "baseball brings smiles to their faces."
A restaurant worker in Alabama, Cook, with some help from among others Major League Baseball, has brought youth baseball leagues to Cambodia. In December, thanks to Cook, Cambodia fielded a national baseball team for the first time in the Southeast Asian Games in Thailand.
Cook, whose legal name is Joeurt Puk (he began using Cook after taking his first restaurant job), said he spent nearly half his childhood in Cambodia living off tree bark, insects and grass in labor camps run by the Khmer Rouge. Along the way he lost his father and two sisters, was nearly killed when a booby trap exploded next to him, then survived an artillery barrage that pounded the road he and hundreds of others were following on their escape to a Red Cross camp across the border in Thailand.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Senator Barack Obama published an op/ed today in the Dallas Morning News talking about improving U.S./relations with Mexico. Among other things, he states:
Finally, we have to recognize the connection between our rhetoric and our relations – both with Mexico and within our own borders. We can and should have a robust debate about immigration reform, but we should never demonize or scapegoat any ethnic group. Already, we have seen an unacceptable spike in hate crimes aimed at Latinos across America. This has proven divisive here at home, and it risks poisoning our relations with Latin America.
Matthew Bender announces the Seventh Annual Daniel Levy Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement in Immigration Law to be presented at the 2008 AILA Conference in Vancouver, B.C. A member of the Editorial Board of Bender’s Immigration Bulletin, Daniel Levy died at the age of 48 on September 14, 2001, in Los Angeles after a long battle with cancer. Mr. Levy was a prolific author, litigator, and scholar, and was widely known and loved by many in the immigration bar. With this annual award Matthew Bender seeks to honor an individual who emulates the values that informed Mr. Levy’s life and work: - enthusiastic advocacy on behalf of immigrant clients; - deep scholarship in immigration law; and - an expansive vision of justice. We welcome nominations of all persons (not only attorneys), who have been working on the local and/or state level, as well as those who are known on the national level, and those who have been quietly toiling on behalf of immigrants, wherever they may be located. Readers are encouraged to forward nominations to Ellen Flynn at firstname.lastname@example.org by May 1, 2008.
The Office of Immigration Statistics (OIS) has released the report *ESTIMATES OF THE LEGAL PERMANENT RESIDENT POPULATION IN 2006*. Click ESTIMATES OF THE LEGAL PERMANENT RESIDENT POPULATION IN 2006.
This report provides estimates of the legal permanent resident population and population eligible to naturalize as of January 2006.
Samuel Taylor Barnes Gompers (1850-1924) was a famous American labor union leader. Gompers founded the American Federation of Labor and was president of the organization for all but one year from 1886 until his death in 1924. Gompers formed alliances with the Democratic Party at the local, state and national levels.
Gompers was born in London, England into a family that had recently arrived from the Netherlands. He left school at age 10 to become an apprentice, first as a shoemaker and then as cigar maker. The family immigrated to the United States in 1863, settling on Manhattan's Lower East Side in New York City.
Gompers became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1872.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
The National Immigration Forum is conducting a survey of naturalization applicants. Please distribute:
Naturalization Applicant Report Form
Name of applicant:_____________________________________________________
City/ State where applicant lives:__________________________________________
Age: How long have you had your green card?_________
When did you send in your citizenship application?____________________
Why do you want to become a U.S. citizen (check all that apply)?
I want to vote.
I want better opportunities for myself and my family.
My family and I will be better protected from discrimination.
My family and I will be better protected from deportation.
I want to petition for relatives that I wasn’t able to before, or so that my relatives will be able to immigrate more quickly.
My children can become citizens.
I want better job opportunities.
I consider the U.S. my home now.
Other (please explain):
Can you tell us in your own words why you’d like to become a U.S. citizen?
How have the delays in citizenship affected you?
Have you done anything to try to move your case forward? Please provide details.
Would you be willing to speak with newspapers, radio or TV regarding your citizenship story?
Contact information (of either the applicant or the contact organization):
Email address: ____________________________
Please return this form to Maurice Belanger at the National Immigration Forum, email@example.com by Friday, February 29. Thanks.
In signing the legislation that restores the ability of all legal residents to obtain drivers' licenses, Governor Jennifer Granholm (herself an immigrant from Candada and previous Immigrant of the Day) applauded lawmakers for their bipartisan cooperation in passing the legislation. There are approximately 400,000 foreign business people, students, and their families in Michigan on nonimmigrant (temporary) visas, including many employed in the auto industry and other important sectors as well as visiting foreign students and scholars. For more on this story, click here.
We previously blogged on the issue. The new law was prompted by an opinion by the Michigan Attorney General that caused the secretary of state to stop issuing new driver's 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 had 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 Washington Post has a story today about immigrant assimilation. As chief of the U.S. Office of Citizenship, Alfonso Aguilar has spearheaded a new federal initiative to get immigrants to embrace English and American political values at a time of surging immigration -- a trend that he warned could lead to a "country of enclaves." The article notes that more political debate today focuses on immigration reform than on encouraging immigrant integration, which unquestionably is true. If one really wants to promote the assimimilation of immigrants into American social life, then the first step is reducing the naturalization backlogs, which we have written about extensively.