March 14, 2009
Commentary: Immigrants didn't cause your problems
Ruben Navarrette's latest column is to those scapegoating of immigrants in these difficult economic times and stated fears by restrictionist groups that immigrants will "take" jobs created by the economic stimulus package passedd by Congress.
Condi, Like Bush, Regrets Administration's Failure on Immigration Reform
President Bush previously expressed his regrets about failing to pursue immigration reform early in his administration. Now, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is expressing a similar lament about the administration's failure to achieve immigration reform. The AP quotes Rice: "We need immigration reform. I don't care if it's for the person who crawls across the desert to earn $5 an hour, or for Sergey Brin, who came here from Russia and founded Google . . . "As a country, we can't have people living in the shadows. It's just wrong. It's not only ineffective, it's wrong." According to AP, Rice further stated that "immigrants were critical to the country's financial health, and that reform was needed to fuel the next round of economic growth."
We hope that this administration learns something from the past ones on immigration.
Crossover Appeal: South of the Border, Popular Ballads About the Perils of Illegal Immigration Have a Surprising Heritage: Made in -- and by -- the United States of America
From the the truth is stranger than fiction department, the Washington Post reports that " [i]n what may be among the lesser-known deterrents exercised by our nation's security forces, the Border Patrol is deploying up-tempo Mexican folk songs about tragic border crossings to dissuade would-be illegal immigrants."
The good news is that, unlike border fences, Operation Gatekeeper, etc., the songs are unlikely to result in the deaths of migrants.
Blogging from Shanghai, part 13
Vigilante racism and de-Americanization of Asians and Latinos. I have explained to my students here that the blatant exclusion of Chinese and other Asian immigrants ended on the heels of World War II. However, even though immigration categories no longer permit blatant racial and ethnic discrimination, selection policies and philosophies of the past have set the tone for much of what I call the “de-Americanization” of Asian Americans and Latinos that goes on today. Immigration policies, especially after 1965, have permitted the entry of immigrants from many parts of the world, and naturalization rules now permit immigrants, irrespective of ethnic background, to become U.S. citizens. So Americans come in all different shades and ethnic backgrounds.
Yet, the words of the Supreme Court eighty-five years ago perhaps best capture who many Americans - certainly vigilante racists - continue to regard as true Americans. In 1923, the right to citizenship through naturalization continued to be limited, as it had since 1870, to "White persons" and those of "African descent." That year, in United States v. Bhagat Singh Thind, the Court was confronted with a case involving an immigrant from India, who was a high caste Hindu of full Indian blood, who wanted to be naturalized. Thind offered ethnological evidence that high-class Hindus belong to the Aryan race, and that the Aryans came to India around 2000 B.C. Thus, Thind could establish, at least on the basis of the science of his day, a line of descent from Caucasian ancestors. The Court acknowledged that the phrase "White persons" and the word "Caucasian" are synonymous. But the unanimous Court essentially threw up its arms and held that there was no way that Congress intended to extend naturalization rights to any immigrants from India:
”What we now hold is that the words ‘free White persons’ are words of common speech, to be interpreted in accordance with the understanding of the common man, synonymous with the word ‘Caucasian’ only as that word is popularly understood. As so understood and used, whatever may be the speculations of the ethnologists, it does not include the body of people to whom the appellee belongs. It is a matter of familiar observation and knowledge that the physical group characteristics of the Hindus render them readily distinguishable from the various groups of persons in this country commonly recognized as White. The children of English, French, German, Italian, Scandinavian, and other European parentage, quickly merge into the mass of our population and lose the distinctive hallmarks of their European origin. On the other hand, it cannot be doubted that the children born in this country of Hindu parents would retain indefinitely the clear evidence of their ancestry. It is very far from our thought to suggest the slightest question of racial superiority or inferiority. What we suggest is merely racial difference, and it is of such character and extent that the great body of our people instinctively recognize it and reject the thought of assimilation.”
When the Court wrote ""free White persons' are words of common speech ... . As so understood and used, whatever may be the speculations of the ethnologists, it does not include the body of people to whom the appellee belongs," the Court essentially said that irrespective of science, a Hindu from India was not White.
When the Court wrote "It is a matter of familiar observation and knowledge that the physical group characteristics of the Hindus render them readily distinguishable from the various groups of persons in this country commonly recognized as White," the Court might as well have substituted the word "American" for "White."
When the Court wrote: "The children of English, French, German, Italian, Scandinavian, and other European parentage, quickly merge into the mass of our population and lose the distinctive hallmarks of their European origin," the Court was essentially limiting the ethnic backgrounds of who could become a real American to those who could merge into the masses, namely, English, French, German, Italian, Scandinavian, and other Europeans.
When the Court wrote: "the children born in this country of Hindu parents would retain indefinitely the clear evidence of their ancestry, [and w]hat we suggest is merely racial difference, and it is of such character and extent that the great body of our people instinctively recognize it and reject the thought of assimilation," the Court appeared to endorse a vision of true Americans being able to reject certain races with which to commingle.
In other words, the Court was saying to Thind, "We know an American when we see one, and you're not one." The Court endorsed a Euro-centric vision of Americanism that has endured in the psyche of much of the country. This Euro-centric vision, dominant throughout history, still pervades America, as is evidenced by the thoughts and actions behind those who engage in vigilante hate speech and crimes.
Do We Need High Skilled Immigration Reform as Part of the Stimulus Package?
The Hudson Institute has a report on high-skilled immigration reform. Download the_budgetary_effects_of_highskilled_immigration_reform1.pdf A Hudson article that discusses the report states: "Based on Congressional Budget Office estimates, . . . if comprehensive immigration reform had been enacted in 2007 then GDP would have been $180 billion greater over the next decade, and federal revenues would have been higher by $40 billion."
Representative Zoe Lofgren, a California Democrat and chair of the House Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law, made a similar point in a speech on March 10: “we need to jump start our growth through immigration.” Ms. Lofgren explained that the billions of dollars allocated to scientific research in the 2009 economic stimulus bill cannot be effectively spent without more H-1B (temporary) visas for foreign scientists, “because all this spending needs people to do research.”
Hat tip to Robert Gittlelson!
March 13, 2009
$1.2 Million Citizenship Grant Program
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today that a competitive grant program is being offered through Grants.gov for a $1.2 million grant program to support citizenship preparation programs for legal permanent residents. Download citzgrants_12mar091.pdf
Immigrants' Need for Counsel
The N.Y. Times today has a story on the difficulties of immigrants in detention securing lawyers. Second Circuit Judge Robert A. Katzmann believes that fact alone should summon the city’s legal profession to do more volunteer work in the immigration court system, where no defendant has the right to a court-appointed lawyer. But, as it turns out, that is easier said than done.
Immigrant of the Day: Lisa Kalvelage (Germany) RIP
Longtime peace activist Lisa Kalvelage, a German immigrant who marched against three U.S. military invasions and coordinated the San Jose Peace Center through the tumultuous Vietnam War era, died on Sunday at age 85. "The Cupertino mother of five is best remembered in a song by legendary folk singer Pete Seeger that she inspired. "My Name is Lisa Kalvelage" evolved from her 1966 act of civil disobedience, when Kalvelage and three other housewives parked themselves in front of a forklift loading shipments of napalm bombs headed from Alviso to Vietnam. Donning Sunday dresses, gloves and heels, the quartet entered the storage yard by climbing a fence, an act that would lead them to the county jail, where they were strip-searched and deloused. Seeger's song recounts the tearful testimony Mrs. Kalvelage gave in her resulting trial on trespassing charges, a courtroom scene that riveted the globe: "Hopefully, some day my contribution to peace will help just a bit to turn the tide," goes the song, which has also been recorded by Bruce Springsteen and Ani DiFranco. Mrs. Kalvelage was eventually convicted, but received a suspended sentence."
For an interview with Kalvelage, click here.
Albany Government Law Review: Immigration Symposium Call for Papers
The Albany Government Law Review inthe Fall 2009 issue will be publishing an issue regarding Immigration Policy in the United States. Our tentative title is “The Social & Economic Effects on Immigration Policy: The Government’s Response.” The journal is seeking articles addressing what policies could or should be adopted or changed to deal with the growing issues surrounding the changing economic and social situation and its effects on Immigration policy in the United States, and would welcome articles that address the government’s response on the Federal, State or local level.
The journal is seeking interesting articles related to this topic from both professors and practitioners. The deadline for submissions will be August 1.
The Albany Government Law Review is a symposium based journal publishing two issues per year. Our most recent issue on the Subprime Mortgage Crisis and the Government’s response was published earlier this year. Our current issue regarding the RLUIPA Statute (Religion and Land Use), was part of a Symposium held in October of last year and included scholars from around the country. We have had several prominent legal scholars publish with us in the past, including Richard Hasen, Daniel Ortiz, Melvin Urofsky, Mark Tushnet, Saul Cornell, Carl Bogus, and Alan Weinstein. For further information regarding our journal, see http://www.albanygovernmentlawreview.org If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Dan Leinung at firstname.lastname@example.org or Kristin Wernig at email@example.com.
Cardinal Mahony at Detroit Mercy School of Law
The University of Detroit Mercy School of Law Annual McElroy Lecture on Law & Religion will be given this year by Cardinal Roger Mahony Archbishop of Los Angeles speaking on "Immigration, the Rule of Law and the Common Good" on Wednesday March 25, 2009 at 5:30 PM. What might the Catholic Church position on immigration contribute to the reform of the rule of law and the promotion of the common good in the United States? Cardinal Mahony will lay out the Catholic case for immigration reform at a time of economic crisis and in view of the globalization of world economies.
Fragomen: State Immigration Employment Compliance Handbook
Blogging from Shanghai, part 12
China is ready to boost its economic stimulus package if the world economic crisis continues to deepen, the country's prime minister Wen Jiabao said on Friday. His comments come after weeks speculation that China was preparing to add to the US$600 billion it pledged last November to stimulate its economy in the face of the world economic downturn. Although no timeframe or details was provided for any extra investment, Mr Wen said that China would respond with additional stimulus if and when it was required.
Asian markets soared Friday as the prospect of fresh stimulus measures in China and Japan and upbeat signals from major U.S. firms like Bank of America sparked hopes of a turnaround in the world economy. European markets opened higher.
China's recent economic stimulus moves are important to keep in mind in the United States, not just because of the effect on the global economy, but because of the effect on Mexican migration. In spite of NAFTA, in 2004, China overtook Mexico as the second biggest trading partner of the United States (after Canada). Mexico is still third, but in the meantime, China's vast manufacturing power has put many Mexican manufacturer's out of business. When Mexico workers lose jobs, many look across the border for work.
President Obama (while campaigning and even after his election) has recognized the need to invest in Mexico's economy as well. That's an idea that is well worth serious thought not just because of the effect on undocumented migration, but because of the effect on Mexico's economy, which is important to all of North America.
March 12, 2009
Teaching and Learning English
I've always encouraged my clients and immigrant audiences to learn English to add to their human capital. Here's something from Mary Ann Zehr of Education Week:
The New York Times Hosts a "Room for Debate" About Immigration
Yesterday, The New York Times launched what will be an on-going series of articles and opportunities for on-line discussion about immigration, with the first installment including commentary from experts and practitioners on how best to teach English-language learners.
Linda Mikels, the principal of Sixth Street Prep School, a charter elementary school in Victorville, Calif., makes the case that English-only instruction for ELLs has been successful in her school. Marcelo and Carola Suarez-Orozco, co-directors of immigration studies at New York University, argue that the best results for ELLs come from dual-immersion programs. In those programs, students who are dominant in English and students who are dominant in another language learn both languages in the same classroom.
Readers make the usual passionate arguments that English immersion is the most effective way to teach ELLs or that bilingual education is the way to go in schools.
Perhaps the coolest feature of the launch of this new forum is an interactive map that shows where people from different countries have settled in the United States. Plug in the Dominican Republic and you see that Dominicans have settled mostly in the northeast. Plug in China and you see that Chinese are largely settled on both of the coasts of the United States. Another feature is a searchable database that includes the history and ethnic diversity of every school district in the country.
But one important aspect of the education of ELLs is missing from this initial discussion launched by the New York Times. That's the fact that two-thirds of ELLs are born in this country. (See this chart of the breakdown of U.S.-born and foreign-born ELLs from Quality Counts 2009.) The initial discussion doesn't address how to educate English-language learners who may have little connection with the home country of their parents or grandparents yet enroll in school with limited English skills. The nation really needs to have a deep discussion about how best to motivate and support these U.S.-born ELLs. Click here for Mary Ann's blog and other links.
Professor Chacón Named as 2009 UC Davis Distinguished Teaching Award Recipient
We are pleased to announce that Professor Jennifer Chacón -- and one of the founding editors of the ImmigrationProf blog -- is the recipient of the 2009 UC Davis Distinguished Teaching Award. The award, which is supported by the generosity of Bill and Sally Rutter, honors "law teachers who give stellar performances in the classroom." Since joining the UC Davis law faculty in 2004, Professor Chacón has earned the reputation as a super teacher as well as scholar. She teaches Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, and Immigration Law and write extensively on these subjects.
Professor Chacón was selected for the honor by a committee including a faculty member, alumni member, and current student.
Professor Chacón will be honored at a dinner next week.
Cover Fellowship Information
Blogging from Shanghai, part 11
Students enrolled in the graduate law program here at the East China University of Political Science and Law are required to learn English and to pass an English proficiency test. All of my lectures here at the university have been in English. In fact, many of the law students here take other foreign languages as well, such as Italian.
What a great concept: encouraging students to learn at least one second language and promoting the value of learning other languages in our global economy and society. What a contrast with the backward, anti-immigrant English-Only movement in the United States.
The modern English-only movement has met with rejection from the Linguistic Society of America, which passed a resolution in 1986–87 opposing "'English only' measures on the grounds that they are based on misconceptions about the role of a common language in establishing political unity, and that they are inconsistent with basic American traditions of linguistic tolerance."
Linguist Geoffrey Pullum, in an essay entitled "Here come the linguistic fascists" charges English First with "hatred and suspicion of aliens and immigrants" and points out that English is far from under threat in the United States, saying "making English the official language of the United States of America is about as urgently called for as making hotdogs the official food at baseball games."
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has stated that "English Only" laws are inconsistent with both the First Amendment right to communicate with or petition the government, and the right to equality because they bar government employees from providing non-English language assistance and services. On August 11, 2000, [President Bill Clinton signed Executive Order 13166, "Improving Access to Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency." The Executive Order requires Federal agencies to examine the services they provide, identify any need for services to those with limited English proficiency (LEP), and develop and implement a system to provide those services so LEP persons can have meaningful access to them.
While the judicial system has noted that the laws are largely symbolic and non prohibitive, public school staff often interpret them to mean English is the mandatory language of daily life. In one instance, an elementary school bus driver prohibited students from speaking Spanish on their way to school after Colorado passed its legislation. In Scottsdale, a teacher claimed to be enforcing English immersion policies when she allegedly slapped students for speaking Spanish in class. In Kansas City, a student was suspended for speaking Spanish in the school hallways.
We should be promoting bilingualism. The modern English-only movement has its roots in part with Dr. John Tanton and Senator S. I. Hayakawa who founded a political lobbying organization, U.S. English. Tanton was the founder of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), an immigration reductionist group. That may be all we need to know about why the English-only movement should be resisted.
March 11, 2009
New N-400 Naturalization Application
A new version of the N-400 dated 1/22/09 has been posted on the USCIS website. This OMB edition expires 12/31/09. The instructions say that the following editions: 1/22/09. 10/15/07, 07/30/07, 11/01/06, 05/31/01 can be used but no other editions will be accepted.
N-400s are to be mailed to the lockbox address.
P.O. Box 21251
Phoenix, AZ 85036
Imprisoning Immigrants for a Profit
An interesting article by Tom Barry
There is a codependent relationship between the private prison industry and the federal government's immigration enforcement apparatus. Both GEO Group and CCA say that the deepening economic downturn has several silver linings for their business, including new incentives for government to privatize given increasing difficulty of securing tax income for prison construction and an increased supply of cheap labor. As GEO's Zoley sees it, the prison industry will benefit from a new "national imperative" in these difficult economic times "to protect American workers by detaining and deporting immigrants."
See full article here.
There is a New Sheriff in Town: DOJ to Investigate America's Toughest Sheriff
According to a Department of Justice (DOJ) letter dated March 10 (Download usdoj_letter_to_arpaio1.pdf ), the Civil Rights Division will be investigating Sheriff Joe Arpaio (Bill Hing blogged yesterday about a protest over Arpaio's methods) of the Maricopa County (Arizona) Sheriff's Office (MCSO) focusing on "…alleged patterns or practices of discriminatory police practices and unconstitutional searches and seizures conducted by the MCSO, and on allegations of national origin discrimination…" The MCSO has a 287g agreement with the Department of Homeland Security to conduct immigration enforcement actions and Sheriff Arpaio was recently described by Ali Noorani as "the poster boy for all that is wrong with the 287g program," in a Wall Street Journal article. The following is a statement by Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum:
We welcome the Department of Justice's investigation because when a local elected official takes the law into his own hands, the role of the federal government is to protect the people from abuse. The Sheriff's over-the-top publicity-seeking has made him a flashpoint for those concerned that immigration enforcement practices are out of control, but DOJ needs to keep a close eye on any Sheriff more concerned with headlines than the Constitution and the law. In the mean time, the Sheriff's 287g agreement with the federal government should be suspended pending the outcome of this investigation. Just because the Congress has not passed immigration reform is no excuse for the federal government to abdicate enforcement to local sheriffs, especially when some of those local police have abused their power. How and when local police should enforce federal immigration law and how the 287g program has been administered has been ignored by Washington for too long. Issues raised by a series of government and non-government reports (link, link, link) clearly indicate that more oversight is needed and not just from the Department of Justice. These developments put additional pressure on Congress to address immigration reform. State and local governments and law enforcement are rightly calling for action, the American people want to know when someone will act to address immigration, and immigrant communities that feel under siege want clear next steps towards reform. We need solutions that restore the rule of law, prioritize hardened criminals - immigrant and non-immigrant - for enforcement, and get the vast majority of hard working immigrants integrated into our communities and on the road to citizenship. That would be progress and much more constructive than this Arizona Sheriff's stunts, which may be found to have been in violation of federal law.
Public Citizen: Federal Agencies Have Stymied Access To Records Showing Impact of Texas-Mexico Border Wall Public Citizen Argues That Delays and Denials Violate Freedom of Information Act
A Press Release from from PUBLIC CITIZEN:
Federal officials are illegally withholding documents that would allow the public to determine the full impact of the 700 miles of fence being built along the Texas-Mexico border, Public Citizen argued in a suit filed in U.S. district court today on behalf of a member of the University of Texas (UT) Working Group on Human Rights and the Border Wall.
Denise Gilman, a clinical law professor at [the University of Texas Immigration Clinic], submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request in April for records that would show where the fence would be built, including maps, surveys and appraisals of affected properties. She also requested information about the criteria for deciding where segments of the wall would be built and agency assessments of the impact of the wall on surrounding communities. Almost a year later, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have not complied with Gilmans request. Despite initial indications that the agencies possessed volumes of records responsive to Gilmans request, the corps of engineers denied part of her request outright and released only a few documents with substantial redactions. DHS referred her entire request to CBP, which released a mere two redacted documents in December. On Jan. 30, CBP told Gilman that it was still processing her request despite a federal requirement that it respond to her April request within 20 days. UTs Working Group on Human Rights and the Border Wall was formed to study and investigate the impact of the wall on property owners, indigenous communities and the environment. A full analysis is difficult without the documents showing where the wall will be built and the criteria on which those decisions were made. With what little information is available, researchers have found significant differences in the income and race of property owners whose land will be affected and those who will not. For example, news outlets have reported that the wall will skip a wealthy country club on the border while having a devastating impact on some poorer neighborhoods and Native American communities. The Working Group at UT believes that the information we are seeking is necessary to allow a serious look at this massive border wall project moving forward at great expense to taxpayers, likely in the billions of dollars, Gilman said. We sincerely hope that the Obama administration, which has pledged greater transparency and accountability in government, will release the requested documents so that informed debate and consultation regarding the border wall can take place before there is any further construction. The Working Group at UT is launching a Web site to make the limited information available about the wall more publicly accessible. The site provides information gathered and prepared in the process of analyzing the human rights impacts of the border wall, including the limited FOIA responses received, other primary and secondary source materials, and the Working Groups own analyses. The Web site is at http://www.utexas.edu/law/academics/centers/humanrights/borderwall/ . The refusal to respond to Professor Gilmans requests in a timely manner and each agencys referral to another agency for a response constitute blatant disregards for the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act, said Margaret Kwoka, the Public Citizen attorney representing Gilman. These agencies should not be allowed to move forward with a project of such a scale and impact without being accountable to the public. In the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Public Citizen asks the court to order the agencies to make the requested records available to Gilman. The suit also challenges the redactions taken in some key documents, including information about property ownership in affected areas. Public Citizen is representing Gilman as part of its Public Interest FOIA Clinic (http://www.foiaclinic.org) which was launched last year and is designed to give comprehensive assistance to other nonprofit organizations seeking government-held information. Through the clinic, Public Citizen provides direct FOIA litigation assistance to public interest organizations. Public Citizen also collects and analyzes information about recent FOIA litigation conducted by public interest organizations to identify and address common FOIA problems.
To read the lawsuit, go to http://www.citizen.org/documents/GilmanvDHSComplaint.pdf