April 18, 2009
The Last of the Fence Lawsuits Rejected
A federal judge rejected the last of the objections from one of the border fence’s fiercest opponents Thursday, giving the government immediate possession of her land and clearing the way for construction to begin.
U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen issued his order in Brownsville, denying the arguments from Eloisa Tamez that the government failed to provide enough information about the fence it will build, the access that will be available from her land in El Calaboz and its offer of compensation. For the full story, click here.
Napolitano Says Work Raids to Continue, Against Employers?
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano says raids by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents will continue once again, but will focus on specific targets, including workplace employers 'who consistently and intentionally use and exploit the labor market for their own gain.'
Napolitano says there will be no halt to arrests of illegal workers their investigations uncover, but ICE agents will primarily target employers found to be in violation of labor laws, Los Angeles-based La Opinión reports. For the full story, click here and here.
Award Winning Documentary: Bracero Stories
Bracero Stories is a bi-lingual video documentary exploring the personal experiences of five former “guest workers” who participated in the controversial U.S./Mexican government program granting temporary work contracts to several million Mexican laborers between 1942 and 1964.
Immigration Policy Library from Immigration Advocates Network
Recent reports document the economic and social contributions of immigrants to our society and underscore the dislocations that would result from the deportation of an estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants and their US citizen children. Much information on immigration policy issues is available through the Immigration Advocates Network (IAN), The "Immigration Policy" library contains: -
Two reports by the Pew Research Center's Pew Hispanic Center, "US Population Project 2005-2050" at http://www.immigrationadvocates.org/link.cfm?12362 (login required) and
"A Portrait of Unauthorized Immigrants in the United States" at http://www.immigrationadvocates.org/link.cfm?12363 (login required).
These reports analyze the projected growth of the Latino population and the family situations of undocumented immigrants.
- An article, "Obama Administration Takes on Immigration Reform", by the ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project, discusses the importance of judicial review in the context of a comprehensive immigration reform statute that Congress may ultimately enact at http://www.immigrationadvocates.org/link.cfm?12364 (login required)
- A report, "Building Washington's Future: Immigrant Contributions to Our State's Economy", by OneAmerica, discusses immigrants' contributions to the economy of the state of Washington at http://www.immigrationadvocates.org/link.cfm?12365 (login required)
- A report by the Eagleton Institute of Politics, "Destination New Jersey: How Immigrants Benefit the State Economy", at http://www.immigrationadvocates.org/link.cfm?12366 (login required)
Other Materials on Immigration Policy: ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project The ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project website includes information about the importance of the BIA's Compean decision on due process rights for immigrants at http://www.aclu.org/images/asset_upload_file558_38744.pdf
American Bar Association Commission on Immigration The American Bar Association Commission on Immigration website includes a discussion on immigrants' right to counsel at http://www.abanet.org/publicserv/immigration/right_to_counsel_for_Immigrants.pdf
American Immigration Law Foundation The American Immigration Law Foundation and the Immigration Policy Center website offers an article, "New Americans in the Sunshine State: Florida's Immigrants and Latinos are a Political and Economic Powerhouse" at http://www.immigrationpolicy.org/images/File/factcheck/Florida%20Demographic%20and%20Economic%20Makeup.pdf, also available on IAN at http://www.immigrationadvocates.org/link.cfm?12367(login required)
Migration Policy Institute The Migration Policy Institute website includes an article, "Collateral Damage: An Examination of ICE's Fugitive Operations Program" that analyzes the fugitive operations program and makes recommendations for procedures that safeguard immigrants' due process rights at http://www.migrationpolicy.org/pubs/NFOP_Feb09.pdf
National Immigration Law Center The National Immigration Law Center website contains a listing of pro-immigrant media campaign links at http://www.nilc.org/links/index.htm#media
The Advocates for Human Rights The Advocates for Human Rights website includes "Joint Written Statement on Human Rights Education Submitted to the UN Human Rights Council" at http://www.mnadvocates.org/The_Advocates_Signs_Joint_Statement_to_the_UN_Human_Rights_Council_on_Human_Rights_Education.html
Join the "Made in LA" May Day Campaign
Made in L.A. is an Emmy award winning film that follows the remarkable story of three Latina immigrants working in Los Angeles garment sweatshops as they embark on a three-year odyssey to win basic labor protections from a trendy clothing retailer. In honor of May Day, the makers of the film have launched a nationwide screening campaign from April 15th to May 31st and beyond. They are inviting student groups, grassroots organization, congregations and individuals from all over the country to join the efforts to use the film as a catalyst for dialogue, debate and, ultimately, a change towards humane labor and immigration reform. Details and a short new web video on the May Day Campaign can be found at http://www.MadeInLA.com/MayDay.
Cable news caricatures immigration issue: They Keep Coming!
Remember Pete Wilson's television advertisements in support of Proposition 187 in 1994, which showed shadowy images of people along the U.S./Mexico border, with the narrator's ominous words, "They Keep Coming." (BTW, we all know who the "they" are.). If you do, and watch just a bit of television, it is not really that suprising but a Media Matters "analysis found that reports about immigration policy on CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News frequently feature footage of people apparently crossing the U.S.-Mexico border illegally. The footage distorts the issue; it does not address in any meaningful way the reality of their lives or the nation's challenges in dealing with the issue."
Did You Wake Up Canadian Today?
PHRED DVORAK in the Wall Street Journal reports on a new Canadian law that went into effect yesterday that may "bestow citizenship Friday on what its government believes could be hundreds of thousands of unsuspecting foreigners, most of them Americans." The amendment to Canada's Citizenship Act automatically restores Canadian nationality to many people forced to renounce it when they became citizens of another country. It also grants citizenship to their children. The Canadian government believes that most of the persons affected are U.S. citizens. According to the WSJ, "U.S. Department of Homeland Security records show 240,000 Canadians were naturalized in the U.S. from 1948 to 1977; the new law fixes problems that occurred during those years." The Canadian government is reaching out to its new citizens through an upbeat (really hilarious) video on YouTube entitled "Waking up Canadian." It is hard to imagine our Department of Homeland Security ever doing something like this -- advertising rights to citizenship!
For more information on the change in the law, see here.
Hat tip to our Canadian correspondent, Donna Shestowsky.
April 17, 2009
How To Defend Permanent Residents From Removal
From the Immigrant Legal Resource Center:
Webinar: Thursday, April 23, 10:00 am – 11:30 am PDT
This webinar 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. Click here to register.
What Do Immigrants Want From Schools?
From Mary Ann Zehr of Education Week:
What Do Immigrants Want from Schools? Then and Now
Americans who perceive that immigrants who come to the United States these days are resistant to learning English and making new demands of schools to cultivate their native languages are wrong, argues a sociologist in the May 2009 issue of American Journal of Education. His article about immigrant trends is called: "What Have Immigrants Wanted from American Schools? What Do They Want Now? Historical and Contemporary Perspectives on Immigrants, Language, and American Schooling." (Only an abstract is available free online.)
Michael R. Olneck, a professor of educational policy studies and sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, contends that Mexican-Americans and Puerto Ricans who support bilingual education in schools are part of a continuum of immigrant groups who have made the transition to learning English while also retaining their ethnic identity. Latino immigrants, he writes, "appear akin to late 19th-century Germans in welcoming the public schools' assistance in language maintenance." He adds that Latinos today don't expect full developmental bilingual education. Rather, a limited program for Spanish speakers in the elementary grades, such as what Cubans have in Miami, is satisfactory to them.
He notes, however, that Asians tend to oppose bilingual education.
Olneck goes on to say that support for bilingual education among Latinos has declined. He cites a 1989-90 National Latino Political Survey that found about 80 percent of Mexican, Puerto Rican, and Cuban respondents said they "strongly support" or "support" bilingual education. But a 1999 poll by another polling group found that 59 percent of Latino respondents believed that students should be able to take some courses in their native language in public schools. Click here for the rest of the piece.
Revisions to Adjudicator's Field Manual to Include New Chapter on Illegal Entrants and Immigration Violators
Section 212 (a)(6) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, Illegal Entrants and Immigration Violators, Revisions to Adjudicator's Field Manual (AFM) to Include a New Chapter 40.6 (AFM Update AD07- 18); USCIS, Mar. 3, 2009: "This memorandum provides guidance, through the creation of a new chapter 40.6 of the Adjudicator's Field Manual (AFM), regarding the interpretation of the grounds of inadmissibility contained in section 212(a) (6) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (the Act), addressing illegal entrants and immigration violators." [43 pages, 2.2MB]. For the CIS announcement, click here.
DHS Southwest Border Initiatives Detailed
DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano announced at the White House last month a major set of Southwest border initiatives designed to support Mexico’s campaign against violent drug cartels by limiting the flow of firearms and cash from the United States to Mexico. These initiatives bring more personnel to the Southwest border and place additional technology at strategic locations in order to crack down on the illegal activities that fuel the drug war in Mexico.
DHS has formalized the following operational enhancement plan, building from last month’s announcement, which lays out specific information about how each initiative will be implemented. The initiatives will be budget-neutral to the Department, funded by realigning from less urgent activities, tapping available fund balances, and, in some cases, reprogramming to deploy resources where they are currently needed the most.
DHS and the Southwest Border
Guard against violent crime spillover into the United States
Support Mexico's crackdown campaign against drug cartels in Mexico
Reduce movement of contraband in both directions across the border.
For the DHS press release, click here.
Critical Race Revisited
Yesterday evening, Yale Law School kicked off a conference on Frontiers in Social Justice Lawyering: Critical Race Revisited with Derrick Bell introducing keynote speaker Ian Haney Lopez, who delivered an excellent keynote on Post-Racial Racism: Policing Race in the Age of Obama. Today, a series of panels will examine the future of Critical Race Theory, immigration law, and clinical education.
Photos Telling Immigrant Stories
For some phenomenal photographs taken in Afghanistan by Kuni Takahashi, a photographer for the Chicago Tribune, see here. His website includes photos documenting human rights abuses and conflicts in Afghanistan, Haiti, Iraq, India, South Africa, and other countries. Takahashi's work has been effectively utilized in by immigrants in removal proceedings. Takahashi just did an amazing piece combining photography and sound on Mariana, an undocumented immigrant woman with a terminal illness and her story of migration, separation, and struggle.
Many comprehensive immigration reform proposals include provisions for a guest worker program. The United States unfortunately has not had the best experiences with ensuring that guest workers' wage and condition protections are honored. Perhaps the most glaring example is the Bracero Program, which brought temporary workers from Mexico to the United States from WWII to the early 1960s.
The documentary BRACERO STORIES is a bi-lingual video documentary exploring the personal experiences of five former “guest workers” who participated in the Bracero Program. Reminiscences by the “Braceros” are interwoven with archival materials, forming a composite history of the Bracero experience. Though many of their stories detail the hardships encountered in the program, Braceros generally consider the experience a valuable one, and their recollections invariably convey a great sense of dignity. One rarely gets the feeling that they felt like “victims,” but that they were merely doing what had to be done under difficult economic circumstances. This collective portrait also reveals the considerable pride that former Braceros still feel regarding their important contribution to U.S. society. Discussions in the media, past and present, generally represent the opinions of government and corporate policy makers, seldom focusing on the lived experience of the workers. By focusing on the their perspective, the film offers a little-known human story that remains vitally relevant to this day. Juxtaposed with the personal recollections, interviews with other participants in the historic program assess the program’s effectiveness—and its justness, mirroring contemporary concerns about illegal immigration and the possible implementation of a new guest worker program. Ultimately, the film seeks to put a personal face on the concept of foreign “guest worker.”
April 16, 2009
Obama Administration Reconsidering Haitian Deportation (Not Interdiction) and Cuba Travel Policies
The Miami Herald quotes Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as stating that the administration is reconsidering policies of deporting Haitians and easing travel restrictions with Cuba. This is good news. But there will apparently be no reconsideration of the Haitian interdiction policy.
EXCLUSIVE (NOT): Guess Who May Be the Grandson of a Paper Son?
A high level cabinet official in the Obama administration may be the grandson of a "paper son." Guess who? For the story, click here.
Obama Can Solve Illegal Immigration -- Bail Out Mexico
The White House announcement that it will tackle comprehensive immigration reform this year is good news for the roughly 12 million undocumented immigrants in the United States and their supporters. However, if the package does not include at least the first steps toward helping Mexico improve its economy and infrastructure, undocumented Mexican migration will not be solved permanently.
See the rest of my comments at New American Media.
Road Trip: President Obama, DHS Secretary Napolitano Head South to Mexico
The DHS reports that "Following an all-day tour of the Southwestern border that will take her and President Obama’s Homeland Security Adviser John Brennan to El Paso, Texas, Columbus, N.M., and Nogales, Ariz., Secretary Napolitano will fly to Mexico City where she will join President Obama. The President will be in Mexico on Thursday to meet with Mexican President Calderón and other officials and he has asked Secretary Napolitano to join."
No doubt that immigration will be a topic of discussion.
Afghani Women Resist!
Jessica Slavin blogs about the courageous resistance of Afghani women to patriarchy. This reminds me of the super article (Cultural Dissent) a few years ago by my colleague Madhavi Sunder, who now is working on a book on the subject entitled The New Enligtenment.
Don't Forget Middle Class Immigrants
Aaron Terrazas of the Migration Policy Institute looks at middle class immigrant households in a breef report. Analysis of immigrants' income in the United States typically focuses on the extremes: low-wage immigrants who often work in low-skilled jobs, and high-wage immigrants who also tend to be very highly skilled.