March 7, 2009
Earth Passages: A Reading by Lora Jo Foo
From Lora Jo Foo, a former staff attorney at the Asian Law Caucus who (among other things) has had a fantastic career representing low income immigrant workers in the garment industry and other occupations:
Please join me for a book reading and signing of Earth Passages: Journeys Through Childhood, my memoir and book of nature photography at the Chinatown Branch of the San Francisco Public Library:
Saturday, March 21, 2009, 2:30 – 4 p.m.
Chinatown Branch Community Meeting Rood
1135 Powell Street (near Jackson)
San Francisco, CA
Looking forward to seeing you.
lora jo foo
PO Box 20758
Castro Valley, CA 94546
H1B visas predicted to run out again within days of filing date opening
In 2008, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) received about 163,000 petitions including 31,200 against the US advanced degree category in the first five days of filing, so a random lottery was conducted.
Similar procedure was followed in 2007. Even with a drastically reduced number of petitions, Nair said there is the likelihood that the quota would get capped in the first couple of days. For the full story in The Economic Times, click here.
Haitian Deportations Will Continue
Days after President Barack Obama's inauguration, advocates wrote to him and the new head of the Department of Homeland Security, asking that they stop deporting undocumented Haitians and allow those already here to stay legally.
The answer arrived Tuesday: No, for now.
'At this time, DHS intends to continue to coordinate the removal of Haitian nationals to Haiti,' wrote Susan Cullen, director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Office of Policy and Planning. For the full story in the South Florida Sun Sentinel, click here.
Brain Drain Reversal
The Washington Post reports that the economy and immigration bureaucracy is sending back home talented immigrants. For the full story, click here.
A recent study by Duke, Harvard, and Berkeley Universities confirms the brain drain reversal phenomena. As many as 100,000 Indians and an equal number of Chinese will return to their native countries in the next three to five years, a move that will greatly boost their economies and undermine technological innovation in America, a new US study warns. The study is found in the Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, available online at: http://hjb.sagepub.com/
Blogging from Shangahi, part 6
The United States is a nation of immigrants, but the United States is also a nation that loves to debate immigration policy. It's been that way since colonial times, and it was that way federally even during John Adams presidency. As I've explained to my students here in Shanghai, the U.S. has always been made up of citizens and policy makers who are pro-immigrant and those who are anti-immigrant (with a lot in between). Depending who is in control in any particular era, the U.S. emotes an openness toward immigrants or negativity toward immigrants. So sometimes the U.S. demonstrates its gratitude and appreciation toward immigrants by being more generous; other times the U.S. demonstrates an ungrateful side. When the U.S. entered into the Burlingame Treaty with China in 1868 encouraging open migration and trade, the U.S. demonstrated a generous, open attitude. When the U.S. enacted the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882, the U.S. showed a real lack of gratitude for all that the Chinese had contributed to agriculture, railroads, small business development, an culture in the U.S. up to that point. When the U.S. enacted the 1917 literacy laws and the quota laws of the 1920s, the U.S. demonstrated its more shameful side because those who didn't like Catholics, Jews, and eastern Europeans had wrested control of the policy. By the 1965 amendments, the U.S. (based largely on the egalitarian views and proposals of John Kennedy who was assassinated in 1963) made a bold statement to the rest of the world that we are committed to being a nation of immigrants.
Unfortunately, the debate rages on. Everyday, we see evidence of the ungrateful side of America in the form of the Joe Arpaios of the world and anti-immigrant local laws and hate crimes. But we see good the good side of America as well, when we hear the words of defenders of immigrants like Ted Kennedy, Luis Gutierrez, Tom Vilsack (when he was governor of Iowa), Maxine Waters, and Zoe Lofgren. People like they and countless others recognize the contributions of immigrants and they are grateful.
For many, the debate is over who is capable of being a "real" American. For me, we are all capable of being a real American, including all of my immigrant and refugee friends from all of the world who have reached the shores of the U.S. They have the true values and commitments to make America strong, and they are willing to work hard to prove it in the communities and neighborhoods. They understand, as famed Filipino American writer Carlos Bulosan put it several decades ago, that America is in the heart.
Dismissal of Another Lawsuit Challenging Obama Eligibility for the Presidency
"This case, if it were allowed to proceed, would deserve mention in one of those books that seek to prove that the law is foolish or that America has too many lawyers with not enough to do. Even in its relatively short life the case has excited the blogosphere and the conspiracy theorists. The right thing to do is to bring it to an early end. ... Because it appears that the complaint in this case may have been presented for an improper purpose such as to harass; and that the interpleader claims and other legal contentions of plaintiff are not warranted by existing law or by non-frivolous arguments for extending, modifying or reversing existing law or for establishing new law, the accompanying order of dismissal requires Mr. Hemenway to show cause why he has not violated Rules 11(b)(1) and 11(b)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and why he should not be required to pay reasonable attorneys fees and other expenses to counsel for the defendants."
Caution: The copy of the order is not dated or date-stamped. Is there conspiracy on the air? Who was it on that grassy knoll? How did "they" "get to" Judge Robertson?
I am not a big Rule 11 sanctions fan but this just might be the case for them.
Ramji-Nogales on Negusie v. Holder
March 6, 2009
Student Volunteer for Court Observation Project
The National Lawyers Guild (San Francisco) is seeking a law student volunteer to assist with the Immigration Court Observation Project (ICOP). Currently, following a training, students attend detained master calendar hearings in San Francisco and report their observations back to the NLGSF chapter. The volunteer would assist in communicating with participants about upcoming ICOP trainings, scheduled appointments to observe in the Immigration Court, provide reminders regarding submission of participants’ observation notes, and generally follow-up on students’ participation. The volunteer would ideally be able to make a semester-long commitment.
If you are interested in volunteering, or learning more about the Project, please contact either Immigration Committee Co-chair, Chelsea HaleyNelson, Chelsea@haleynelsonlaw.com <mailto:Chelsea@haleynelsonlaw.com>, or Christine Stouffer, email@example.com <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Family First Immigration Enforcement Act
From Senator John Kerry:
Two years ago today, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raid on the Michael Bianco factory in New Bedford exposed, as never before, just how broken our immigration system has become. But now, with a new president in the White House who is committed to and understands the need for comprehensive immigration reform, we have a rare opportunity to get it right, finally. If we do, then raids like one which rocked New Bedford will become a thing of the past and the scars they left on this community will finally have a chance to heal.
Even after two years, though, it is hard to forget the nightmare of 361 workers rounded up and families broken apart, toddlers stranded at day care centers or turned over to siblings and elderly relatives. None of us will ever forget the memory of a breastfeeding seven-month-old infant hospitalized for dehydration because her mother remained in detention.
The raid at Michael Bianco prompted me to introduce the Families First Immigration Enforcement Act. I saw it as a way to stop other communities from experiencing the same kind of soul-wrenching event that had occurred in New Bedford. It included common-sense ideas, such as coordinating with state agencies to provide interpreters and social services and establishing humanitarian exceptions for the sick, elderly, pregnant or nursing mothers and others especially vulnerable to the consequences of detention.
ICE indicated it would adopt guidelines similar to those in my bill, but subsequent events suggested otherwise. Since the raid on the Michael Bianco factory, there have been eerily similar raids in at least nine states. It is noteworthy that a majority of the children affected by these raids are American citizens, according to a study by the Urban Institute, and no child should be left behind, to borrow a once popular phrase.
Consequently, with Secretary Janet Napolitano having taken over the Department of Homeland Security, I have asked her to consider the Families First Act as a blueprint for the badly needed overhauling of ICE so that the deplorable tactics used in New Bedford on March 6, 2007, will be abandoned as we try to fashion a comprehensive, common-sense reform of our immigration laws. Few people understand the need for large-scale immigration reform more than Secretary Napolitano, who was elected to two terms as governor of Arizona before joining the Obama administration.
As part of that reform, we need to refocus our immigration enforcement priorities so that there is a greater emphasis on cracking down on employers that exploit immigrant workers and defy our immigration laws. For that reason, it was gratifying to see the president and principal shareholder of Michael Bianco Inc. sentenced to 12 months and a day in prison and fined $30,000. That action follows a federal court order requiring the company to pay a fine of $1.51 million and restitution of $46,000 for overtime owed to employees.
President Obama has reaffirmed his commitment to push for immigration reform along the lines of the measure originally proposed by Senators Ted Kennedy and John McCain with a renewed emphasis on the employer side — rather than the employee side — of workplace enforcement. With John Morton, an experienced career federal prosecutor, chosen by Secretary Napolitano to oversee ICE, the administration is taking an important step in making good on the president's promise.
Immigration reform has become increasingly politicized, playing on the fears and worries of many Americans. We can all agree that the kind of raid we saw ICE conduct in New Bedford two years ago should not be repeated anywhere — and that the trespasses of parents , whatever they are, should not be visited upon the children. And most importantly, we can use this anniversary to recommit ourselves to a more humane and just system that lives up to the highest ideals of a nation of immigrants — and a nation of laws.
Blogging from Shanghai, part 5
When my father first immigrated from China in 1915, he could have stayed in San Francisco, but he went on to settle initially in Phoenix. He worked in a restaurant, where local customers taught him English. He had an outgoing personality, and one of his customers, the owner of a local flour mill, was so impressed, that he lent my father $1000 (a fortune at the time!) and advised him to open a supply store for miners in a mountain community southeast of Phoenix. My father took the advice, and made his way to an area called Queen Creek. He set up shop, recruiting a couple other cousins, and within a year, he paid back his benefactor. That's how my family ended up in what became Superior, Arizona, and that's where I spent the first eighteen years of my life.
Mexican Asylum Claims on the Rise
NPR reports that, as Mexico's drug war continues, the number of Mexicans requesting asylum more than doubled from fiscal year 2007 to 2008. The story tells of a journalist who claims to have been threatened by the Mexican government and is seeking asylum in the United States.
Have You No Shame, Senator McCarthy!!! CIS Attempts to Make Political (Immigration) Capital on Chandra Levy Tragedy
Few knowledgeable observers view the Center for Immigration Studies as an impartial research institute. The latest embarrassment of the center is its attempt to make political hay out of the recent indictment in the Chandra Levy murder case. We will not dignify the CIS missive on the Levy case with a response but leave it to our readers to decide what they think.
March 5, 2009
New Film: Lives for Sale
A special program will be airing on the Hallmark Channel on Sunday, March 8 at 7 a.m. Lives for Sale is a film that exposes the painful, rarely seen human side of illegal immigration from Mexico to the U.S., including the growing black market trade in human beings. The program will be available online Monday, March 9 at www.odysseynetworks.org Here is the link to the film on Odyssey Networks. For more details, here is a link to the film site. Here is a link to a clip of the film.
GAO Critical of 287(g) Arrangments
From the Immigration Policy Center:
Yesterday the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released its congressionally commissioned report on the 287(g) program. The Government's review of this program, which deputizes local law-enforcement officers to act as immigration enforcement agents, confirms what community members and criminal-justice experts have been saying for some time: the program is not being used to target dangerous criminals, and there has not been adequate federal oversight of the local police departments participating in the program.
Findings of GAO Report:
The GAO report found that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has not clearly articulated the objectives of the 287(g) program or the guidelines that participating police departments must follow, thereby creating confusion and mismanagement. Furthermore, ICE has not demonstrated effective oversight of the 67 partnership agreements and 950 officers who have been trained, potentially resulting in "misuse of authority." Finally, participating police agencies have not consistently documented their activities, making it impossible to measure the success or failure of the program, or to justify the high costs associated with it.
Statement by Angela Kelley, Director of the Immigration Policy Center:
"The GAO report is sounding an alarm we're confident the Homeland Security Secretary will hear. The report echoes the conclusions reached by others who have studied local law enforcement of immigration laws. The costs of these policies are enormous to communities' safety, civil rights, and pocketbooks. As Secretary Napolitano and her staff begin their review of immigration enforcement tactics, we urge them to consider the totality of evidence coming from the community and acknowledge the full scope of the problems presented by 287(g). We are confident that this administration will find a new way forward and advance policies that restore the rule of law and respect civil rights."
Blogging from Shangahi, part 4
The United States is an ungrateful nation. Anti-immigrant ordinances, the fear of deportation, job scarcity, and the uncertainty of comprehensive immigration reform have caused many hard-working Mexicans to give up in the U.S. and return to Mexico. The stories are pretty common now, and that's a shame. These families have contributed much to the economy of the country and to the social fabric of local communities.
Here in Shanghai, I'm seeing a parallel situation. I've interviewed several Chinese families who lived in the U.S. for many years, working hard in middle class upper middle class occupations. The contrbuted to high tech industries as well as important medical and financial institutions. Yet, they never felt totally welcomed in the U.S. They often felt excluded from social and political institutions, and never felt an embrace of a community. They assure me that they tried, but they never fit in. So many have come to Shanghai, even though they may have originally been from Taiwan or Hong Kong. Here they are able to find a comfortable social niche immediately. So they are contributing to the vibrancy and economy of a new neighborhood and community.
The U.S. really ought start thinking about a major integration program for immigrants, or else we'll continue to lose many of our assets.
March 4, 2009
Congressional Hearing Sheds Light Unto Misguided Enforcement Priorities
Today, the House Committee on Homeland Security held a hearing to examine the 287g agreements, the federal/local agreements that allows local police to enforce federal civil immigration law. (For a Washington Post story about conflicting perspectives on local involvement in immigraction enforcement, click here.) Recent reports, including a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report released today, have called attention to the program's lack of federal oversight and how the program is being implemented at the local level.
The following is a statement by Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum, a non-partisan pro-immigrant advocacy organization in Washington:
The facts are piling up that 287g agreements are expensive to implement, both in terms of dollars and in community trust. As newly released independent and government reports expose, implementation of the 287g agreement by 67 local and state law enforcement agencies has been devoid of appropriate federal oversight, resulting in excessive use of force, civil rights abuses, and costly lawsuits. Efforts to combine civil immigration and criminal law enforcement distract local police from their duty to protect communities. Rather than following the original intent of the agreement and focusing on dangerous criminals, most jurisdictions with 287(g) agreements waste valuable resources chasing immigrant workers and family members, minor traffic offenders, and others who don't pose a threat to our country. Look no further than Maricopa County Arizona's Sheriff Joe Arpaio as the prime example of enforcement priorities out of whack; with a stack of 40,000 felony warrants, more than 2,700 civil rights complaints and residents afraid of calling the police to report a crime, he has shamelessly compromised community safety in his search for headlines. In this case, nobody wins-county law enforcement can't do its job, and there is a lack of trust and communication between immigrants and the police. A thorough review of the program is urgently needed, and decisions must be made regarding how to limit or end this program. Without a true commitment from Congress and the new Administration to reform our immigration system, patchwork enforcement schemes will continue and continue to miss the mark. President Obama needs to lead the country forward to a better, safer, more humane immigration system, rather than continuing to rely upon the failed policies of the past Administration to shore up our broken system.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) of the 287(g) program, which deputizes local law-enforcement officers to act as immigration enforcement agents, confirms what community members and criminal-justice experts have been saying for some time: the program is not being used to target dangerous criminals, and there has not been adequate federal oversight of the local police departments participating in the program. Findings of GAO Report: The GAO report found that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has not clearly articulated the objectives of the 287(g) program or the guidelines that participating police departments must follow, thereby creating confusion and mismanagement. Furthermore, ICE has not demonstrated effective oversight of the 67 partnership agreements and 950 officers who have been trained, potentially resulting in "misuse of authority." Finally, participating police agencies have not consistently documented their activities, making it impossible to measure the success or failure of the program, or to justify the high costs associated with it. Here is the statement about the report by Angela Kelley, Director of the Immigration Policy Center: "The GAO report is sounding an alarm we're confident the Homeland Security Secretary will hear. The report echoes the conclusions reached by others who have studied local law enforcement of immigration laws. The costs of these policies are enormous to communities' safety, civil rights, and pocketbooks. As Secretary Napolitano and her staff begin their review of immigration enforcement tactics, we urge them to consider the totality of evidence coming from the community and acknowledge the full scope of the problems presented by 287(g). We are confident that this administration will find a new way forward and advance policies that restore the rule of law and respect civil rights."
ABA Commission: FIGHT NOTARIO FRAUD!!!
- A variety of legal resources including statutes, pleadings, consumer education, and training materials accessible to the public (here);
- A national on-line referral system through which pro bono attorneys interested in bringing civil litigation against fraudulent notarios are connected with possible victims seeking legal relief; and
- A listserv for interested attorneys to stay up-to-date with developments on notario-fraud related legal issues.
A Story Funny Only to Immigration Afficionados
The BBC reports that a Mexican migrant was stopped as he entered the UK when a search of his luggage uncovered a good luck card for his "new life in the UK." Claiming that he planned a brief visit, the search uncovered a bunch of Mexican recipes and the card. When pressed, the chef admitted that h eplanned to work as a chef illegally.
Halt the Deportation of Haitians
From the National Network of Immigrant & Refugee Rights:
Dear NNIRR Members, Partners, Allies & Friends:
We are asking you to take three immediate actions by calling President Barack Obama to grant Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians and to demand a halt to the deportation of all Haitians.
NNIRR is supporting this on-going action organized by the Fanm Ayisyen Nan Miyami/Haitian Women of Miami and the Florida Immigrant Coalition with other grassroots and advocacy organizations in Florida and other parts of the country.
Please take these three actions today to support TPS for Haitians and a halt to all deportations!
1. We are asking organizations to sign and fax the below letter to President Obama on your organization’s letterhead.
2. Pick up the telephone and call the White House. Tell President Obama to end the Bush Administration’s inhumane policy towards Haiti and grant TPS to Haitians. Your call to the White House is critical to demanding a halt to Haitian deportations, pending a full review of the policy (see fact sheet below for talking points).
3. Sign an on-line petition that asks President Obama to grant TPS to Haitians and halt deportations: http://www.petitiononline.com/TPS2009/petition.html
Blogging from China, part 3
"Middle-aged women from Shanghai are strong." That's what a female student from East China University of Political Science and Law tells me as she and I are walking through a fabric district in Shanghai. "Why do you say that," I ask. "Just they they are so active, full of energy, in their work, their daily exercise," she responds. Awhile later, I'm standing their in awe as she bargains down the price of 200 grams of expensive jasmine tea for me in a local tea store. This student was so persistent, so stubborn, I was getting a bit embarrassed. After the purchase, we walk away, and I asked where did she get that skill from? She responds, "My mother. She's a strong, middle-aged Chinese woman."
When immigration from China to the U.S. started in significant numbers in the 1800s, the numbers began to cause concern in the minds of anti-Chinese activists. Many folks think of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 as the first anti-Chinese law at the federal level. In fact, in 1870, when the Naturalization laws were extended to those of African descent after the Civil War, Congress specifically rejected the extension to Chinese immigrants. Then in 1875, the Page Law denied the admission of Chinese women who were allegedly entering for "immoral purposes" (e.g., prostitution). The law was interpreted to broadly, that few Chinese women could enter. After the 1882 exclusion was enacted, Chinese women were included in the class of laborers that was denied entry. What was all this about? In my view, this was a way to control the Chinese laborers who were here, and to prevent the growth of the population. No women and anti-miscegenation laws meant that few families could be formed, and the population could be controlled.