March 28, 2009
Immigration on Marketplace
From Jean-Luc Renault:
My name is Jean-Luc Renault and I’m with the public radio show Marketplace. I just wanted to point out a post on our new blog, Scratch Pad, that addresses immigration. Since we’re a business show, it’s definitely got a business angle, but I just thought you might be interested.
Thanks so much.
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Monika Kalra Varma: Beyond Band-Aids for Darfur
See the Huffington Post for incisive analysis of the looming crisis in Chad and Darfur by my former student Monika Kalra Varma.
March 27, 2009
DHS finds USCIS Lacking
A new report, released on Thursday by Homeland Security Inspector General Richard Skinner, said USCIS lacked adequate baseline data to measure performance, failed to oversee or document lessons from pilot programs and other initiatives being executed by field offices, and lacked a formal agreement with the State Department to ensure timely processing of immigration benefits. Click here for a copy of the report.
US Seeks Greater Work Visa Restrictions
As more Americans lose their jobs, the U.S. government is actively discouraging the recruitment of foreign workers, from dude ranchers and fruit pickers to lifeguards and computer programmers. At least three avenues of legal immigration have seen roadblocks erected.
(1) Companies receiving federal bailout money now face extra hurdles before they can hire highly skilled guest workers on an H-1B visa.
(2) On Friday, the Labor Department will close a public-comment period for a proposal to suspend an agricultural guest-worker program, known as the H-2A.
(3) The State Department is asking some sponsors of the J-1 visa -- seasonal employers such as hotels, golf resorts and summer camps -- to reduce dependence on foreign labor.
For the full story in the Wall Street Journal, click here.
Mexico not on the Verge of Collapse, US officials Recant
Dennis Blair, the National Intelligence Director said that the Mexican government is not on the verge of collapse, the top U.S. intelligence official said Thursday, seeking to tamp down increasing alarm over the powerful and violent drug cartels operating in the country that is the United States' southern neighbor. Echoing the assessment of Mexico's leaders, Blair said the dramatic increase in killings in Mexico is a result of that government's crackdown on drug cartels.A U.S. military planning report issued in January warned that the escalating violence is dangerously destabilizing Mexico and warned its government could collapse. But Blair said there is no danger of that. For the full story in the Washington Times, click here.
Mexican Border said to be used by Hezbollah
The Washington Times reports that, according to US officials, Hezbollah is using the same southern narcotics routes that Mexican drug kingpins do to smuggle drugs and people into the United States, reaping money to finance its operations and threatening U.S. national security, current and former U.S. law enforcement, defense and counterterrorism officials say. Click here for the full story.
Take Five Actions to Support the DREAM Act
From Kyle de Beausset:
I just wrote the following post with 5 Actions You Can Take for the DREAM Act:
I would appreciate it if everyone could take the following actions, and get others to see them as well by digging, stumbling, redditing, mixxing, my post:
Give it a thumbs up on StumbleUpon (http://www.stumbleupon) too!
1. CALL - The National Council of La Raza has a page to help you call your congressional representatives in support of the DREAM Act.
2. FAX - America's Voice has a page to help you fax your congressional representatives in support of the DREAM Act.
3. EMAIL - Change.org has a page to help you email your congressional representatives in support of the DREAM Act.
4. PETITION - Dreamactivist.org has the official petition in support of the DREAM Act.
5. TEXT - Text "Justice" ("Justicia" for Spanish) to 69866 to be the first to know when the DREAM Act is introduced. FIRM's Mobile Action Network is an excellent way to stay connected and have maximum impact at just the right moment.
New Immigration Reform Strategy? Don't Forget Mexico
Peter Wallsten of the LA Times write of a possible new strategy for immigration reform that may get the support of a much-needed ally, organinzed labor. It would include an independent commission to look at foreign workers and a possible reduction in the number of workers.
Let us not forget that Mexico is critical to any reform efforts. The U.S. has three cabinet members and President Obama visiting Mexico very soon: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (March 25-26), Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano (April 1 and 2), and then the President on his way to the Summit of the Americas. Hopefully, with all the press on the drug wars on the U.S./Mexico border, they will not forget to talk about immigration.
March 26, 2009
DREAM Act is Re-Introduced
From the National Immigration Law Center:
HOUSE AND SENATE INTRODUCE DREAM ACT: A MEASURE TO ADDRESS THE PLIGHT OF IMMIGRANT STUDENTS
Washington D.C. - Today, the DREAM Act (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act) was introduced by Senators Richard Durbin (D-IL), Richard Lugar (R-IN), Russell Feingold (D-WI), Edward Kennedy (D-MA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Joe Lieberman (I- CT), Mel Martinez (R-FL), and Harry Reid (D-NV) in the Senate and Representatives Howard Berman (D-CA), Joseph Cao (R-LA), John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Devin Nunez (R-CA), Jared Polis (D-CO), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) in the House of Representatives. This bipartisan legislation addresses the situation faced by young people who were brought to the United States years ago as undocumented immigrant children, and who have since grown up here but are being denied the ability to fully contribute to society.
The DREAM Act would provide certain undocumented youth conditional legal status and eventual citizenship, if they attend college or join the military. It would also allow immigrant students access to higher education by returning to states the authority to determine who qualifies for in-state tuition. "This critical piece of legislation makes it possible for many deserving young people to realize their dream of a college education" said Marielena Hincapié, Executive Director of the National Immigration Law Center, "and thereby contribute to the future of this country."
For the first time since it was first introduced in 2001, the DREAM Act enjoys strong backing of House and Senate leadership, all of the relevant committee chairs and President Obama, who was an original sponsor of the legislation when he was in the Senate.
NILC commends the strong leadership shown by Senators Durbin and Lugar and Representatives Berman, Diaz-Balart and Roybal-Allard. "To be competitive in today's global economy, America depends on an educated and skilled population," said Adey Fisseha, Interim Federal Policy Director of NILC. "The DREAM Act realizes the benefit of having a more multicultural, multilingual U.S. workforce. We urge the House and Senate to pass the DREAM Act and President Obama to sign this important bill into law," added Fisseha.
To contact immigrant students, educators or for more information please contact: Adey Fisseha, Interim Federal Policy Director (Fisseha@nilc.org) 202-216-0261 ext.403
Removal Defense Seminar in LA
How to Defend Permanent Residents from Removal Seminar
Friday, April 10, 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
UCLA School of Law, 405 Hilgard Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90095
Presenters: Angie Junck and Nora Privitera, ILRC
Fee: $165 Regular / $90 Non-profit / $35 CA IOLTA
Deadline to register: 3/30/09
This seminar is designed to teach practitioners how to effectively defend permanent residents charged with being removable. Topics include the differing burdens of proof for admissibility, deportability, and applications for relief, defenses against the allegations in the Notice to Appear, the eligibility requirements for cancellation of removal, 212(h) waivers, 212(c), other forms of relief, and how to work with clients to elicit the evidence needed to defend their cases.
Angie Junck, ILRC Staff Attorney: At the ILRC, Angie focuses on the intersection between criminal and immigration law. She is a co-author of ILRC's publication Defending Immigrants in the Ninth Circuit: The Impact of Crimes under California and Other State Laws and is the co-author of the forthcoming ILRC publication, Remedies and Strategies for Permanent Resident Clients in Removal Proceedings. Her efforts to mitigate the difficult immigration consequences for criminal convictions of immigrants is at the core of the national Defending Immigrants Partnership to assist public defenders and the Immigrant Justice Network, a project to build a movement to shift public perception of immigrants in the criminal justice system. She represents detainees facing removal for crimes.
Nora Privitera, ILRC Special Projects Attorney & Lead Staff Attorney, Attorney of the Day (AOD) Consultation Service: Nora is the author of the ILRC publication, Hardship in Immigration Law: How to Prepare a Winning Case in Waiver and Cancellation of Removal Cases, and the forthcoming ILRC publication, Remedies and Strategies for Permanent Resident Clients in Removal Proceedings. Before joining ILRC, Nora was in private immigration practice for 12 years, handling all kinds of immigration cases, particularly deportation defense.
Click here for the registration form.
UNHCR Asylum Report
The United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees has issued this report: Asylum Levels and Trends in Industrialized Countries, 2008.
The report can be downloaded at the UNHCR webpage.
Immigrant of the Day: Claude Rains (England)
Claude Rains (1889–1967) was an award-winning actor and film star whose career spanned 47 years. He later held U.S. citizenship and was best known for his many roles in Hollywood films. In October 2008, a new biography, Claude Rains: An Actor's Voice by David J. Skal and Rains' daughter Jessica Rains, was published.
Born in England, Rains immigrated to the United States to puruse a career in Hollywood and became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1939. In 1951, Rains won a Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play for Darkness at Noon. He was also nominated four times for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), Casablanca (1942), Mr. Skeffington (1944), and Notorious (1946). He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, at 6400 Hollywood Boulevard.
March 25, 2009
UC Davis Immigration Clinic and Detention Cases
Earlier, Kevin Johnson blogged about the Amnesty International report that blasts the U.S. immigration detention system. We are very proud of the great work that the UC Davis Immigration Clinic contributes in the face of the overwhelming needs of detainees.
Ken McLaughlin writes in the San Jose Mercury News:
In a scathing report on the treatment of immigration detainees held in detention centers and more than 300 local facilities such as the Santa Clara County Jail, Amnesty International charges the federal government violates human rights by allowing tens of thousands of people to languish in custody every year without receiving hearings to determine whether their detention is warranted.
According to the 51-page report from the human rights group released today, the vast majority of the detainees have a hard time getting an attorney, some so desperate they ask to be deported even if they believe they're entitled to stay in this country.
"Officials are locking up thousands of human beings without due process and holding them in a system that is impossible to navigate,'' said Larry Cox, executive director of Amnesty International USA.
In the Bay Area, immigration detainees looking for free attorneys depend mostly on two groups: the Asian Law Caucus in San Francisco and the Immigration Law Clinic at the University of California-Davis School of Law. But those groups are inundated with requests.
Without representation, Amnesty says, many immigrants simply give up and return to their home countries, even if they feel they have a strong case that they're entitled to stay in the United States. Click here for the rest of the story.
Jailed Without Justice: New Report on US Immigration Detention Blasts System as Broken and Costly
Democracy Now! takes a look at a new report from Amnesty International USA lambasting the state of the immigrant detention system in this country. 400,000 people are arrested by immigration officials each year, some of them US citizens. The report, “Jailed Without Justice,” says that tens of thousands languish in immigration prisons in deplorable conditions without receiving a hearing to determine whether their detention is warranted.
Immigrant Integration in California--Legislative Briefing
California Immigration Policy Center legislative briefing
March 25 2009, Sacramento
State Capitol, Room 127
Integrating Immigrants into the Fabric and Economy of California
Opening Remarks: The Honorable Kevin de León, California State Assembly
Overview: How does immigrant integration help California’s economy?
• Bill Ong Hing, Professor, UC Davis School of Law
How does California’s budget play a role in immigrant integration?
• CIPC partners discuss budget and programs - RS open
o Social services: Sarah Sadhwani, Asian Pacific American Legal Center
o Healthcare: Elizabeth Landsberg, Western Center on Law and Poverty
o Federal children’s health: Tanya Broder, NILC
2009 immigrant-relevant legislation
• Overview and analysis of select bills
o Health and social services – Vanessa Cajina, California Immigrant Policy Center
o Immigrants and civil rights: Valerie Small Navarro, American Civil Liberties Union (invited)
o Language access issues: Leilani Aguinaldo-Yee, Asian Americans for Civil Rights and Equality
Reshma Shamasunder, Executive Director, California Immigrant Policy Center
Bravo to President Obama On Harold Koh Pick!
We applaud President Obama's decision yesterday to name Yale Law School Dean Harold Hongju Koh, a longtime critic of the Bush administration's antiterror policies, to be the U.S. Department of State's legal adviser. In that position, he will provide counsel on international law to the secretary of state and embassies around the world.
Harold Koh is an ideal person to lead a return to the rule of law in U.S. conduct around the world. He is the dean of Yale Law School and Gerard C. and Bernice Latrobe Smith Professor of International Law. Koh began teaching at Yale Law School in 1985 and has served since 2004 as its fifteenth Dean. From 1998 to 2001, he served as U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, and previously had served on the Secretary of State's Advisory Committee on Public International Law. Before joining Yale, he practiced law at Covington and Burling from 1982-83 and at the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice from 1983-85. Dean Koh is a leading expert on public and private international law, national security law, and human rights. He has argued before the United States Supreme Court and he has testified before the U.S. Congress more than twenty times. He has been awarded eleven honorary doctorates and three law school medals and has received more than thirty awards for his human rights work. He is recipient of the 2005 Louis B. Sohn Award from the American Bar Association International Law Section and the 2003 Wolfgang Friedmann Award from Columbia Law School for his lifetime achievements in International Law. He is author or co-author of eight books.
A Korean-American native of Boston, he holds a B.A. degree from Harvard College and B.A. and M.A. degrees from Oxford University, where he was a Marshall Scholar. He earned his J.D. from Harvard Law School, where he was Developments Editor of the Harvard Law Review, and served as a law clerk for Justice Harry A. Blackmun of the United States Supreme Court and Judge Malcolm Richard Wilkey of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
The conservative bloggers already (see, e.g., National Review) are attacking Dean Koh. Let it be known that we support him from the outset" Koh's unswerving commitment to human rights and the rule of law, is a much-needed antidote to the last eight long years. IntLawGrrls Diane Marie Amann has posted a nice response to the anti-rule of law bloggers opposing Dean Koh.
Immigrant of the Day: Miguel Blas-Matus (Mexico)
Our Immigrant of the Day is Miguel Blas-Matus who grew up with seven siblings in a one-room, dirt-floor house in his homeland of Juchitan, Oaxaca, Mexico. He completed medical school in Mexico but came to the United States and had to face many immigration and professional challenges. Click the link above to see how Miguel persevered and is puurusing his medical education in the United States.
March 24, 2009
Administration Will Spend More Money at the Border
The Obama administration announced a major increase in security funding and agent deployments along the U.S.-Mexico border Tuesday.
The changes are part of what the White House characterized as a sweeping new federal plan to beef up resources in a region increasingly plagued by drug-related violence.
The administration is trying to help the Mexican government break up drug cartels believed to be responsible for the killing of roughly 6,500 people in Mexico last year, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said.
The plan commits $700 million to bolster Mexican law enforcement and crime prevention efforts. The funds will provide, among other things, five new helicopters to increase mobility for the Mexican army and air force as well as new surveillance aircraft for the Mexican navy.
"Our role is to assist in this battle because we have our own security interests in its success," Napolitano said at the White House.
Border states such as Texas and Arizona are experiencing a notable spike in violence as a result of the accelerating Mexican drug war.
click here for the full story.
Obama Aunt Deportation Hearing Set for April 1
The Boston Globe reports that President Obama's aunt, a Kenyan immigrant whose presence in the country subject to deportation was leaked (perhaps by a high level ICE official) on the eve of the election, has returned to her public housing unit in Boston. She has an April 1 deportation hearing. "When her case emerged in the waning days of the presidential race last year, Zeituni Onyango, a tall, frail-looking woman in her late 50s who walks with a cane, fled the media attention to stay with relatives in Cleveland."
Immigrant of the Day: Yulkendy Valdez (Dominican Republic)
Until four years ago, Yulkendy Valdez, now age 14, lived with her family in a town south of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. With hopes for a better life, her family came to the United States when she was 10 and settled in the St. Louis, Missouri area.
Yulkendy Valdez had to learn English from scratch. She did. Last week, Yulkendy, now an eighth-grader, won first place in the Post-Dispatch Spelling Bee. She will travel to Washington, D.C., in May to participate in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Keep in mind that she has only spoken English for four years.
Hat tip to Jim Hacking of Hacking Law Practice!