April 25, 2009
Immigration Raids in France
Christopher Caldwell writes for the Times:
On Tuesday French riot police rounded up 200 migrants near an encampment called “the Jungle” outside Calais. To listen to Eric Besson, the French immigration minister, the immigrants themselves were a side issue. The raid’s real goal was to rid France of “traffickers”. Natacha Bouchart, the mayor of Calais, saw it differently. For her, the problem was “nos amis britanniques”. Once migrants set foot in Britain, she said, “their situation is too comfortable and we [in Calais] can no longer tolerate being taken hostage by that”. Britain’s overgenerous asylum and welfare policies were drawing the world’s poor to the ports of France. Click here for the rest of the story.
States Without Nations reports that Mark Lyttle, 31, born in North Carolina, was just released yesterday from the Fulton Jail in Atlanta after the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) violated arrested him Wednesday at the Atlanta Airport on the charge of illegal re-entry. Mark, a U.S. citizen, previously had been removed from the country.
April 24, 2009
"America's Toughest Sheriff"on the Colbert Show
For commentary from Immigration Impact on the Arpaio appearance, click on the link.
From the Bookshelves: The Birthright Lottery: Citizenship and Global Inequality
Ayelet Shachar, Professor of Law Canada Research Chair in Citizenship and Multiculturalism, University of Toronto Faculty of Law, has a timely new book The Birthright Lottery: Citizenship and Global Inequality (Harvard University Press 2009), which should be of interest to readers of this blog. The University of Toronto Law School blog has a description of the book and a link to an excerpt.
Here is the publisher's description of the book:
The vast majority of the global population acquires citizenship purely by accidental circumstances of birth. There is little doubt that securing membership status in a given state bequeaths to some a world filled with opportunity and condemns others to a life with little hope. Gaining privileges by such arbitrary criteria as one’s birthplace is discredited in virtually all fields of public life, yet birthright entitlements still dominate our laws when it comes to allotting membership in a state. In The Birthright Lottery, Ayelet Shachar argues that birthright citizenship in an affluent society can be thought of as a form of property inheritance: that is, a valuable entitlement transmitted by law to a restricted group of recipients under conditions that perpetuate the transfer of this prerogative to their heirs. She deploys this fresh perspective to establish that nations need to expand their membership boundaries beyond outdated notions of blood-and-soil in sculpting the body politic. Located at the intersection of law, economics, and political philosophy, The Birthright Lottery further advocates redistributional obligations on those benefiting from the inheritance of membership, with the aim of ameliorating its most glaring opportunity inequalities.
New Immigration Film: ANIMAS PERDIDAS (LOST SOULS)
ANIMAS PERDIDAS (LOST SOULS) DIRECTED BY MONIKA NAVARRO tells the story of two brothers who were deported from the United States to Mexico. Within two weeks one of the brothers overdosed on heroin in a seedy Tijuana hotel room, his body unclaimed for two months in a mass grave. Raised in the U.S. since childhood and military vets, these men were deported from the only country they knew, and had sworn to protect, to forge new lives in Mexico. Against the backdrop of increased attention to the U.S.- Mexican border, filmmaker Monika Navarro draws on her family’s experience to explore national identity and ties, the lives of immigrants and what happens after deportees are sent to a homeland they don’t consider home. Animas Perdidas (Lost Souls) travels from idyllic Southern California, where the filmmaker’s Mexican-American family has lived for more than four decades, to Guadalajara, the birthplace of her uncles, and the border towns of Mexico, piecing together the tragic events that led to her uncles’ deportations. Her surviving uncle has lived in Mexico now for six years and struggles every day to survive. Interviewing family members, and weaving together family photographs, letters, and veritè footage, an epic story emerges about an immigrant family with a dark history of abuse, addiction and resilience. What happens when a family confronts its past, and how they have survived despite the constraints imposed by and across the U.S. border is the focus of this compelling and emotional documentary.
Hate Crimes Legislation
Unfortunately, immigrants are often the victim of hate crimes. Here's a message from the Asian American Justice Center in Washington, DC:
Pass Federal Hate Crimes Law Now! Vote is coming soon! Take Action!
The Asian American Justice Center (AAJC) urges you to call upon your Representative to support the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act (LLEHCPA). This legislation brings much needed uniformity to federal hate crime laws and reflects the growing support for stronger hate crime legislation on the state level. State and federal governments should not tolerate any form of bias-motivated violence.
The LLEHCPA strengthens the ability of the federal, state, and local governments to investigate and prosecute hate crimes based on race, ethnic background, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, and disability. The bill helps state and local anti-bias efforts by enabling the Justice Department to assist them in the investigation and prosecution of all hate crimes, not just those that prevent the victim from exercising a federally protected right.
Every year, Asian Americans find themselves the victim of a hate crime. Over the years, AAJC has documented hundreds upon hundreds of bias-motivated crimes. It is important to our communities that the federal government be able to address cases that state and local authorities either cannot or will not investigate or prosecute properly. All hate crimes need to be taken seriously because they have a crippling effect on not only the victim, but on whole communities.
Act Now! Tell your Representative to support the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act that will be introduced in the House. The more support the bill has, the better the chance of passing this landmark legislation and putting an end to hate crimes in America.
Civic Engagement of Elderly Immigrants
Project Shine has released a report Community Treasures: Contributions of Older Immigrants and Refugees thatt analyzes the motivations of immigrant elders engaged in civic roles. Many older immigrants and refugees are involved in a variety of activities that benefit their families and communities. Family caregiving is a major contribution made by many older immigrants and refugees. Some immigrant and refugee communities have maintained their cultural traditions of giving elders authority and power. In such communities, many older adults recognize their responsibility to serve as leaders and assume the "elder role," despite limited English skills or professional experience. Cultural values and practices and political systems in native countries influence why and how older immigrants become engaged in their communities. Trusted ethnic-based organizations and religious institutions, immediate and extended family units, and informal social groups serve as civic connectors that facilitate elder engagement and can also serve as access points for more formal opportunities.
April 23, 2009
REAL ID to Be Revisited?
Stateline.org reports that Congress and the Obama administration are considering ceding key ground in a long-running battle between the federal government and the states over Real ID, the federal law that requires all states to start issuing more secure driver’s licenses by the end of the year. Proposed legislation being circulated on Capitol Hill would give states more time, flexibility and money to meet federal Real ID requirements.
New Politics of Immigration on Display
New Senators from New York and Colorado looking good on immigration. From America's Voice:
Washington, DC – As Rahm Emanuel told a group of Latino journalists earlier this year: “The arrow is pointing in a different direction in relation to immigration politics in this country." Recent statements from key Senate moderates illustrate Emanuel’s case precisely, while leaders from the Minutemen continue their campaign to drive the GOP into a full-throated embrace of nativism.
On the Democratic side, kudos to newly-appointed Senators Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY) and Michael Bennet (D-CO). The new Senator from New York, Gillibrand (D), has traveled the state listening to constituents’ views about the need for comprehensive immigration reform. This month, she announced her support for the DREAM Act, legislation that would allow immigrant children who have grown up in America but lack immigration papers to go to college and legalize their status: “America is the only home many of [these students] know, yet they are being denied the opportunity to achieve their full potential. This legislation says that if they work hard and play by the rules, then they will have the opportunity to get a good education and earn their way to legal status.”
This week, Senator Bennet (D-CO) also expressed strong support for common sense immigration reform. During a series of town hall meetings, Bennet said that he has spoken with farmers, health care officials, and law enforcement in Colorado who want Congressional action on the issue. He acknowledged that the politics of immigration reform are still “frail” in Colorado, but his vocal support for reform is a clear sign that pragmatic politicians are rejecting the Tancredo approach to immigration policy.
Meanwhile, the Republican Party continues to be dogged by hard-liners who oppose practical solutions. Yesterday, Minuteman Civil Defense Corps founder Chris Simcox announced his candidacy for U.S. Senate, challenging Senator John McCain (R-AZ) in the 2010 elections. Simcox is a single-issue candidate who opposes McCain because of his role as a leader in the fight to have Congress enact comprehensive immigration reform. Simcox is not the only Minuteman engaged in electoral politics. Another Minuteman leader named Rosanna Pulido ran as the Republican nominee in Illinois’ 5th district, to replace Rahm Emanuel. She garnered less than a quarter of the vote in her loss.
This result tracks with other results of the 2008 election. Analysis conducted by America’s Voice showed that in 20 of 22 battleground races where immigration was an issue, the candidate supporting a more comprehensive approach to immigration reform won. Similarly, candidates who spent significant campaign resources on immigration attack ads were unable to use the issue to their advantage.
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, “We are very pleased that two newly-appointed Democrats get that the public wants their leaders to lean into tough problems and forge pragmatic solutions. At the same time, the Republican Party is going to have to come to grips with the fact that the public’s desire for real solutions means moving away from candidates like Rosanna Pulido and Chris Simcox, and towards leaders like John McCain. Their viability as a major political party may well depend on it.”
Border Task Force Report
From Fernando Garcia:
Friends, colleagues and allies,
A Policy Priorities document developed by the US-Mexico Border and Immigration Task Force was presented to White House and DHS officials, and Congressional offices, in the recent trip of a border delegation to Washington (April 21-24, 2009). The Task Force offers a new paradigm for immigration and border enforcement. It challenges dated ideas about enforcement and recognizes that the “border” is a dynamic concept, that border communities have important ties to both the United States and Mexico, and that these ties create a unique set of opportunities and challenges that affect both the border areas and the broader national interest. The Task Force’s work is built around ideas grounded in the complex realities of border life and a practical understanding that border and immigration policies must be formulated and implemented in ways that respect the rights and needs of border communities.
The report, Accountability, Community Security, and Infrastructure on the U.S.-Mexico Border, can be downloaded here.
Fernando Garcia, Executive Director
Border Network for Human Rights
1101 E. Yandell
El Paso, TX 79901
Under Siege: Life for Low-Income Latinos in the South
The Southern Poverty Law Center reports on life for Latinos in the New South:
"In Tennessee, a young mother is arrested and jailed when she asks to be paid for her work in a cheese factory. In Alabama, a migrant bean picker sees his life savings confiscated by police during a traffic stop. In Georgia, a rapist goes unpunished because his 13-year-old victim is undocumented. These are just a few examples of the injustices that confront Latino immigrants as they struggle to gain a foothold in the South. The region is now home to the fastest growing population of Latinos in the country, many of them lured by the manufacturing and construction jobs created during the economic boom of the 1990s. But many in Dixie aren't treating their new neighbors with any semblance of Southern hospitality. In fact, Latinos in the South — many of whom came here to escape crushing poverty in their home countries — are encountering widespread hostility, discrimination and exploitation."
What About the Children?
The NY Times considers the impacts on children losing their immigrant parents (and parents losing custody of their children) swept up in enforcement efforts.
Immigrants Revitalize Urban Downtowns
Immigrant Power has a story about how immigrant families are revitalizing downtown Cleveland and Philadelphia. This is a long ignored immigrant story.
April 22, 2009
No Relief for You: You Do Not Look Gay Enough!
The good immigration decisions keep rolling in today! Dan Kowalski referred me to this "Great decision from the Tenth Circuit," which "[b]lasts the IJ for [grantiong relief from removal] to a Moroccan gay man based on the judge's perceptions that respondent did not `look' gay enough." Download Razkane 10 4-21-09
Dare to DREAM (Act)
There is lots of news on the DREAM Act. Here is a NY Times "debate" on the act, with contributions from Tamar Jacoby, ImmigrationWorks, USA Mark Krikorian, Center for Immigration Studies Nick, Dream Act Portal, Prerna, promigrant.org, and Hiroshi Motomura, UCLA law professor.
In addition, the College Board (this page includes a link to the report) yesterday released a new report, 'Young Lives on Hold: The College Dreams of Undocumented Students.' The report supports the passage of The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, which would allow undocumented immigrant youth to obtain legal permanent resident status if they remain in school through high school graduation and go on to college or military service. While federal law does not prohibit undocumented students from attending college, these students face major obstacles in admissions, access to in-state tuition and access to financial aid.
BREAKING NEWS: S Ct Rejects U.S. Government's Argument on Standard on Stay of Removal
SCOTUS blog has the scoop on the latest immigration decision from the Supreme Court. In Nken v. Holder (click here for a previous posting on oral argument in the case), Chief Justice Roberts, in a workmanlike opinion, wrote for the 7-2 majority:
"This case involves a statutory provision that sharply restricts the circumstances under which a court may issue an injunction blocking the removal of an alien from this country. The Court of Appeals [for the Fouth Circuit] concluded, and the Government contends, that this provision applies to the granting of a stay by a court of appeals while it considers the legality of a removal order. Petitioner disagrees, and maintains that the authority of a court of appeals to stay an order of removal under the traditional criteria governing stays remains fully intact, and is not affected by the statutory provision governing injunctions. We agree with petitioner, and vacate and remand for application of the traditional criteria."
In so holding, the Court resolved a split betweem the Fourth and Eleventh Circuits, on one side, and the Second, Third, Fifth Sixth, Seventh, and Ninth Circuits on the other.
Justice Kennedy filed a concurring opinion joined by Justice Scalia, which emphasized that there is a demanding standard for the issuance of a stay and suggesting that the Ninth Circuit is perhaps overly liberal in granting stays.
Justice Alito, joined by Justice Thomas, dissented, emphaszing that "[t]he Court's decision nullifies an important statutory provision that Congress enacted when it reformed the immigration laws in 1996."
UPDATE Jenner & Block associate Lindsay Harrison represented Jean Marc Nken on a pro bono basis. Harrison told the ABA Journal the Supreme Court oral argument was her first appellate argument in any court..
AILF Announces New Director of the Immigration Policy Center
The American Immigration Law Foundation (AILF) has announced that Mary Giovagnoli will become the new Director of the Immigration Policy Center (IPC) replacing Angela Kelley who has accepted the position of Vice President for Immigration Policy at the Center for American Progress. Ms. Giovagnoli brings a wealth of experience and an incredible knowledge of immigration law and policy to IPC, most recently serving as the Senior Director of Policy for the National Immigration Forum. She also served as a trial attorney and associate general counsel with the Immigration and Naturalization Service and as an associate chief counsel for United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). During that time she specialized in refugee and asylum law. In 2005, she became the senior advisor to the Director of Congressional Relations at USCIS. She was awarded a Congressional Fellowship from USCIS to serve for a year in Senator Edward M. Kennedy's office where she worked on comprehensive immigration reform and refugee issues. She received an M.A. in rhetoric and a J.D. from the University of Wisconsin.
The Immigration Policy Center (IPC), established in 2003, is the policy arm of the American Immigration Law Foundation. IPC's mission is to shape a rational national conversation on immigration and immigrant integration. Through its research and analysis, IPC provides policymakers, the media, and the general public with accurate information about the role of immigrants and immigration policy on U.S. society. IPC is a non-partisan organization that neither supports nor opposes any political party or candidate for office.
April 21, 2009
Supreme Court Hears Case Involving English Language Learners
From Mary Ann Zehr of Education Week: In today's oral arguments in Horne v. Flores, the long-running ELL case in Arizona, U.S. Supreme Court justices questioned what is sufficient academic progress for ELLs. Justice Antonin Scalia at one point asked: "Do you really think you haven't complied with adequate funding of ELL programs until you raise all of the ELL students up to the level of native-English speakers?" It sounds a lot like a question that a lot of educators ask about the No Child Left Behind Act. Is it appropriate for the federal education law to require ELLs to meet the same standards as native-English speakers? Click here for the rest of her blog and links. Here is additional coverage. bh
Bringing together Immigrants and African Americans
Kevin Johnson and I have written about the need for a joint effort by immigrants and African Americans to lead a new civil rights movement. See The Immigrant Marches of 2006 and the Prospects for a New Civil Rights Movement, 42 HARV. CIV. RIGHTS-CIV. LIB. L. REV. 99 (2007). We recognize the attempt by anti-immigrant forces to divide people of color over immigration issues.
An impressive effort to challenge this divisive strategy took place this past weekend in Baltimore with the formation of the Black Immigration Network. Eric Ward discusses the network and its goals at Imagine 2050:
The hate group the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) has used dubious data to argue that economically immigrants negatively impact U.S. born black families. Like most of FAIR’s assertions these bigoted myths were debunked by Steven Pitts at the UC-Berkeley Labor Center, who in his presentation to BIN, showed that in a study of metropolitan areas there was no correlation between black employment and immigrant populations. “Racial discrimination in employment, anti-union organizing and poor education are the major barriers to U.S. born blacks having access to jobs,” said Somali organizer and executive director of the Center for Intercultural Organizing Kayse Jama. “Black immigrants and refugees have a special responsibility to demand an end to structural racism that seeks to disenfranchise U.S.-born blacks,” Jama said.
April 20, 2009
Journalists Who Revealed Sheriff Arpaio's Activities Win Pulitzer Prize
Today, reporters Ryan Gabrielson and Paul Giblin of the East Valley Tribune in Mesa, Arizona (Giblin is now with the Arizona Guardian) were awarded a Pulitzer Prize for their local reporting on Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a frequent subject of commentary on this blog. . Over the past several years, "Sheriff Joe" has transformed his police department into an immigration-enforcement agency -- running up costs, conducting large-scale neighborhood sweeps, and neglecting other crime-fighting activities. The award-winning series revealed the Sheriff's "focus on immigration enforcement and how it endangered investigation of violent crime and other aspects of public safety," says the Pulitzer website