Saturday, May 9, 2009

No Hate Crime Justice: Vincent Chin and Luis Ramirez

Last week, two of the young white men who allegedly killed Mexican immigrant Luis Ramirez in Shenandoah, Penn. were acquitted by an all white jury. The case mirrors the first federal hate crime prosecution involving an Asian American--Vincent Chin--in the early 1980s. Carmina Ocampo has written an important essay linking the two sad events. Click here for the link to New American Media piece.

bh

May 9, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, May 8, 2009

Good News! Statue of Liberty crown to reopen on July 4, 2009

250px-Statue_of_Liberty%2C_NY AP  reports that, on July 4, 2009, the crown of the Statue of Liberty will reopen for the first time since September 11, 2001.   For an inspirational video from "The Today Show" on the Statue, click here

May 8, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

American Public Media's The Story Produces Segment on Family-based Immigration

American Public Media's The Story ran a great segment on the difficulties of seeking legal status in the United States.  The segment documents the story of John Adams, a U.S. citizen, who married a woman from Guatemala, for whom he sought resident status.  Once they were in the system, the problems began.  The segment can be heard here.   This segment is a great introductory piece to the family-based immigration section of a survey Immigration Law course.

LS

May 8, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

A Special View On Flores-Figueroa

From Charles M. Miller:

Charles M. Miller: Another Trumpet

Sometimes it is the most unlikely of persons that affect history. Such a person was Clarence Earl Gideon, another such person is Ignacio Flores-Figueroa.

By all accounts, Clarence Earl Gideon was a drifter with a long history of petty criminal convictions. Gideon was convicted of the 1961 burglary of the Bay Harbor Pool Room in Panama City, Florida, based on a tip that he was seen leaving the pool room in the early morning with bulging pockets and a pint of wine. When he was tried for the crime, Gideon asked for, and was refused appointed counsel. After representing himself, Gideon was convicted and sentenced to a five year prison sentence. From his Florida prison cell he applied for a writ of certiorari to the United States Supreme Court raising the Sixth Amendment’s right to counsel. That right to appointed counsel was confirmed by Justice Hugo Black writing for the majority in Gideon v. Wainwright. Gideon was later retried and acquitted. Gideon v. Wainwright is credited with expanding the need for the public defender system and widening the right to appointed counsel. In a subsequent case, Miranda v. Arizona, the Warren Court found the right to appointed counsel extended to a criminal police interrogation.
Generations of law students, many of them future public defenders, were inspired by GIDEON'S TRUMPET, a 1964 book by New York Times’ legal reporter Anthony Lewis, describing the story behind Gideon v. Wainwright.

In 1963, U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy remarked about the Gideon case: "If an obscure Florida convict named Clarence Earl Gideon had not sat down in prison with a pencil and paper to write a letter to the Supreme Court; and if the Supreme Court had not taken the trouble to look at the merits in that one crude petition among all the bundles of mail it must receive every day, the vast machinery of American law would have gone on functioning undisturbed. But Gideon did write that letter; the court did look into his case; he was re-tried with the help of competent defense counsel; found not guilty and released from prison after two years of punishment for a crime he did not commit. And the whole course of legal history has been changed."

The second unlikely subject of a historical U.S. Supreme Court case, Ignacio Flores-Figueroa is a Mexican citizen who had worked illegally for an Illinois steel plant. In 2000, Flores provided the steel plant with a false name and false Social Security number. In 2006, he told his employer that he wanted to be known by his real name and presented counterfeit Social Security and alien registration cards that showed his real name, but the numbers on both cards were assigned to other persons.

Flores’ employer reported the name change request to the U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. ICE discovered that the numbers on Flores’ new documents belonged to other people and charged him with aggravated identity theft. He was convicted and sentenced to the additional two years mandated by the law.

Flores’ case arrived at the Supreme Court the same way Gideon’s did, upon a grant of a writ of Certiorari. Justice Breyer’s decision for the 9-0 Supreme Court emphasized that the plain English of the aggravated identity theft statute required specific intent to knowingly use the identity of another person. In Flores’ case the Government could not prove that he knew that the documents’ numbers were assigned to other people.

The ultimate historical effect of the Supreme Court’s decision in Flores-Figueroa v. United States will be written later. It is clear that the estimated 8-12 millions of persons that are working in the shadows of the United States’ economy may never need to face aggravated identity theft charges because the undivided Roberts Supreme Court found the need for specific intent for such a conviction.

Millions of persons live in the U.S. without current legal status. Historians may find that the root causes of our country’s immigration problems are found in the legal immigration system. Its disrepair and disequilibrium may well be a major cause of our immigration failures.

The Obama administration has signaled that it will ask Congress to look to comprehensive immigration reform as a means to legally introduce millions of workers into the tax and entitlement systems. If the failed 2007 immigration reform efforts are any indication, there will be broad issues of disagreement as to the legalization of existing workers, border security and worksite verification responsibilities.

Nevertheless, a unanimous Supreme Court found that the Government failed to prove that Ignacio Flores-Figueroa knew that the Social Security and Alien Registration numbers he used belonged to other people. Millions of persons, like Flores-Figueroa, should not be considered aggravated identity theft felons for the reasons found by Justice Breyer. The Government may try to deport Ignacio Flores-Figueroa after he is released from federal prison in Georgia. But like Clarence Earl Gideon, his Supreme Court case will surely affect how millions of other persons are treated by the legal system. In that respect, both men changed legal history.

bh

May 8, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigrant of the Day: Linda Katehi (Greece)

Katehi Our Immigrant of the Day is Linda Katehi, currently provost and vice chancellor of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  The University of California Board of Regents has approved the appointment of Katehi as the Chancellor of the University of California, Davis.  She will assume the position on August 17.

A native of Greece, Linda Katehi earned her a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the National Technical University in Athens, Greece and her master’s degree and doctorate in electrical engineering at UCLA.. The new UC Davis chancellor served on the faculties of Purdue University and the University of Michigan before going to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

In addition to serving as Provost, Katehi currently holds a joint faculty appointment in the Gender and Women’s Studies Program.

Linda Katehi is well-known for her electrical and computer engineering research.  She has 16 U.S. patents and several national and international awards. A member of the National Academy of Engineering, she was selected by President George W. Bush to chair the President’s Committee on the National Medal of Science.

Welcome to UC Davis, Chancellor Katehi!

KJ

May 8, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

And the Next Supreme Court Justice Will Be?

225px-DavidSouter As readers of the ImmigrationProf blog well know, there has been a fair amount of immigration action at the U.S. Supreme Court in the last few months.  The Nation asked a number of law professors and political observers to offer thoughts on the "ideal" replacement for Justice Souter.  Click here to read about the suggested nominees.

KJ

May 7, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Napolitano Supports DREAM Act

From America's Voice:

Napolitano Supports DREAM Act, Lays Out Priorities for Immigration Reform

Washington, DC – Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committee chaired by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D - VT) held an oversight hearing on the Department of Homeland Security, focusing on immigration and border enforcement.   During the hearing, Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) asked Secretary Napolitano about the DREAM Act, a bill that would legalize undocumented students who want to go to college or serve in the military.  Napolitano responded: “This is one of those areas that everyone wants the immigration laws enforced, but also deal with the human issues that arise here.  I supported [the DREAM Act] as a governor and I support it now.  The DREAM Act is a good piece of legislation and a good idea.”  To listen to their exchange please click here.

“Secretary Napolitano’s support for the DREAM Act is the latest in a series of signs pointing toward action on comprehensive immigration reform this year,” said Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice.  “Clearly, the new Administration understands the need for tough, smart, and effective immigration enforcement as well as common sense immigration reform.  With the leadership of Senator Durbin, Majority Leader Reid, and others in the House and Senate, I am confident that common sense reform will move forward this year.”

bh

May 7, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Niken v. Holder: Impact on Stays of Removal and Beyond

Niken v. Holder: Impact on Stays of Removal and Beyond By Thomas K. Ragland discusses the Supreme Court's recent decision on stays of removal pending appeal of removal orders.  Ragland also discusses the Solicitor General's flip-flop in the Kucana case, a motion to reopen case that the Supreme Court recently granted cert in.

KJ  

May 7, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

AN OPEN LETTER TO BARACK OBAMA: REPEAL THE MODERN-DAY SLAVE LAW

This appeared on Twin Cities Indy Media

AN OPEN LETTER TO BARACK OBAMA: REPEAL THE MODERN-DAY SLAVE LAW

Dear President Obama: 

As you begin to take on the issue of immigration reform, we call on you to provide the leadership necessary to repeal the modern-day slave law that has devastated the lives of so many working people in this country: the Employer Sanctions Provisions. We write on behalf of communities of citizen and immigrant workers who are organizing to improve our conditions. We have seen how even before the economic crisis came to a head, because of Employer Sanctions, conditions for working people in the U.S. had grown worse than ever.
 
Employer Sanctions was part of a law passed under the Reagan Administration during the immigration reform in 1986. This law is a sanction on employers in name only. In reality, "Employer Sanctions" criminalizes immigrants by creating an underclass of labor with no rights or protections under the law. Ever since the first chattel slave laws in this country were abolished, there have been new laws that have adjusted to current economic conditions in order to reinstitute slavery in new forms.(1) As we see today, it doesn't take physical chains to enslave workers. Like the slave laws before, under Employer Sanctions undocumented workers are stripped of the freedom to sell their own labor.
 
The result of this modern slave law is deteriorating conditions for everyone. Because of this law, the underground economy is expanding, dividing native-born, documented and undocumented workers. It has created cutthroat competition and keeps workers from organizing together, causing all workers' wages to plummet and making life unbearably hard. Good jobs have become bad jobs, and unionizing is undermined time and time again because documented workers are forced to compete with an underclass of labor that has no rights. Not only workers, but even law-abiding businesses can no longer survive.

Some are proposing stronger Employer Sanctions Provisions, claiming that this slave law is a good law just enforced badly. They advocate for stronger, harsher punishments for employers. But we have seen that stronger enforcement will only push the underclass further underground, not eliminate it. It will push conditions down further and faster, making it impossible for workers to survive--creating increased mass unemployment, while forcing others to be completely overworked. This law should not be amended, it should be abolished.
 
All undocumented workers should be provided with a means to adjust their immigration status, but not at the expense of criminalizing others who come afterward. The proposed legalization and guestworker programs will open a path for some undocumented to get papers. However, these measures are like paroling a few pardoned criminals out of jail while incarcerating thousands more. This will create another layer of slave labor. It will only further the effects of employer sanctions, expanding the underclass and continuing the deterioration of conditions for all workers.
 
You have announced that in May you will begin discussing immigration reform proposals. We are calling on you, as the Chief of State to this nation, to:
 
1. Repeal Employer Sanctions Provisions
2. Legislate Equal Rights for All Workers
3. Create an on-going mechanism for undocumented workers to adjust their status.
 
Repealing employer sanctions will be a bold step towards justice and send a strong message that our country is finally ready to eliminate slavery once and for all. This will pave the way for workers to come together, native-born and immigrant, to organize for a better life for us all.

Signed:
Break The Chains Alliance
and endorsing organizations
Chinese Staff & Workers' Association - New York, NY
National Mobilization Against SweatShops - New York, NY
Border Workers Association - El Paso, TX
Chicago Workers' Collaborative - Chicago, IL
Somali Justice Advocacy Center - Minneapolis, MN
Border Agricultural Workers Project - El Paso, TX
Tonatierra Community Development Organization - Phoenix, AZ
 
(1.) Examples of this include the Northern "free states" before the Civil War where slaves from the South fled to escape slavery, but needed a document declaring they were freed slaves in order to work; the Jim Crow laws; the Chinese Exclusion Act; the Bracero Program.

Contact the Break the Chains Alliance at [email protected]

May 7, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

"Shut Down ICE!": 30 Arrested in Civil Disobedience at Minnesosta Immigration Facility

Tired of waiting for comprehensive immigration reform to come to them, about 30 activists were arrested as they blocked the entrances to the Bloomington, Minnesota  Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility as a support rally took place nearby, reports Twin Cities Indymedia. Immigrant rights activists and allies held a press conference to demand that Presidentt Obama sign an executive order to end all raids and deportations pending the passage of a just immigration reform act. After the press conference the legal demonstration continued while those who planned to commit civil disobedience moved into place.

KJ

May 7, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

New Immigration Article

Kevin Cunningham-Parmeter has posted a new article on immigrant workers to SSRN, entitled Redefining the Rights of Undocumented Workers.  He discusses the rights of undocumented workers under Title VII and the FLSA and proposes a broader framework for analyzing immigrants' workplace rights. You can find it here.

LS

May 6, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

The Latest Chapter in the Long Saga of John Demjanjuk

235px-John_Demjanjuk_3 SCOTUS Blog reports the latest in the long saga of John Demjanjuk, now 89, a retired auto worker who lives in Ohio.  Demjanjuk has been at the center of a decades-long legal fight over claims that he was a Nazi guard at German death camps during World War II.  Today, he asked, based on his failing health, the Supreme Court to delay his deportation to face possible war crime charges in Germany. Demjanjuk asked for a stay until he can complete a new round of legal challenges to his removal.

The application was filed with Justice John Paul Stevens as the Circuit Justice.  UPDATE  Justice Stevens denied the application, without an opinion.

Demjanuk has been twice stripped of his U.S. citizenship, first in 1981.  He was sent to Israel, convicted of war crimes, and sentenced to death but the Israel Supreme Court overturned the conviction. He then returned to the United States. Demanjuk was denaturalized again in 2002 and the Supreme Court declined to review the case. In March, German officials ordered his arrest on charges of war crimes. Since then, Demjanjuk has been challenging his deportation.

As always, SCOTUS blog has lots of links to materials in the Demanjuk case.

UPDATE:  The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced that, on May 12, Demjanjuk was deported to Germany.

KJ

May 6, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Enforcement Now, Enforcement Forever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

160px-ObamaBarack The L.A. Times reports that President Obama will ask Congress for $27 billion for border and transportation security "and set[] the stage for immigration reform by first addressing enforcement." The 8% increase in spending will allow the administration to hire more aboder patrol gents and enhance security at ports of entry. "Obama also will request more money to expand screening for illegal immigrants in jail and to improve a Web-based program for verifying workers' employment eligibility." The funding is part of the 2010 budget Obama will present to Congress on Thursday. I am not sure I am convinced but the Anna Gorman and Peter Nicholas of the Times opine that

"[t]he border and immigration budget underscores differences with the Bush administration, which emphasized border fence construction, increased detention space and more teams to raid work sites. Obama has already changed the game on work-site enforcement, giving immigration agents new guidelines that shift the emphasis from illegal workers to employers who break the law by hiring them."

How can we be sure that the other parts of comprehensive immigration reform will ever come to pass?  To this point in the Obama Presidency, the best that can be said is that his immigration enforcement is not as harsh as that of the Bush administration.  We can only hope that the President's faith in Congress on immigration reform -- and his ability to persuade -- is warranted.

KJ

May 6, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

May 12 Day of Action in Arizona

The Border Action Network is planning a Day of Action at the Arizona State Legislature on May 12. Click here for more information and to register.

bh

May 6, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Immigrant Legal Resource Center Celebrates 30 Years

Dear Friends,

On behalf of ILRC’s Board of Directors, staff, community partners and many supporters, we invite you to be part of the 2009 Phillip Burton Immigration & Civil Rights Awards Dinner on May 21st, being held at the Marine’s Memorial Club and Hotel in San Francisco.  We hope you will join us and 300 of our closest friends to celebrate the ILRC’s 30th Anniversary!

With your help, we look forward to remembering our three decade history through your eyes and those of others who have been there to help the ILRC and the communities we serve. The event will be an opportunity to celebrate our collective accomplishments and connect with colleagues, catch up with old friends and make new friends in a casual and relaxed atmosphere. Join us for an evening of good food, entertainment and conversation while raising money for the ILRC’s programs! Click here for more information.

Lisa Spiegel,
ILRC Board Chair

bh

May 5, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Carens: The Case for Amnesty

The Boston Review  has an article by Joseph H. Carens on "The Case for Amnesty" with responses by a star-studded cast of immigration experts:   T. Alexander Aleinikoff,  Mae M. Ngai,Peter H. Schuck, Arash Abizadeh, Carol M. Swain, Gara LaMarche, Douglas S. Massey, Gerald L. Neuman, Ranier Bauböck, Mary Lyndon Shanley, Linda Bosniak, Rogers M. Smith, Eamonn Callan, Jean Bethke Elshtain, Marc R. Rosenblum, and Roberto Suro. Joseph H. Carens responds.

KJ

May 5, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

The Prospects of the DREAM Act

The Chronicle of Higher Education has a story, which is free for a few days to non-subscribers, on the political prospects of the DREAM Act.

The bottom line: "While the bill has failed several times since 2001, supporters and opponents of the measure say it stands a good chance of passing this year, given President Obama's support (As a senator, he was a cosponsor in 2007) and the large Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress."

KJ

May 5, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Cox, Huntington, Schuck: Immigration Discussion in PENNumbra

PENNumbra, the University of Pennsylvania Law Review's online supplement, just published a dialogue between Adam Cox (Chicago) ("Immigration Law’s Organizing Principles"), Clare Huntington (Colorado) ("A House Still Divided "), and Peter Schuck (Yale) ("Immigration Law’s Organizing Principles: A Response").

KJ

May 5, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigrant of the Day: Rihanna (Barbados)

220px-Rihanna-brisbane Robyn Rihanna Fenty (born February 20, 1988), better known as Rihanna, is a singer and model. Born in Saint Michael, Barbados, Rihanna moved to the United States at the age of sixteen to pursue a recording career. She subsequently signed a contract with Def Jam Recordings  In 2005, Rihanna released her debut studio album, Music of the Sun, which peaked within the top ten of the Billboard 200 and features the Billboard Hot 100 hit single "Pon de Replay". Less than a year later, she released her second studio album, A Girl Like Me, peaking within the top five of the Billboard albums chart and produced her first number one single, "SOS". Rihanna's third studio album, Good Girl Gone Bad (2007), peaking at number two on the Billboard 200, released three number one hit singles—"Umbrella", "Take a Bow", and "Disturbia". The album was nominated for nine Grammy Awards, winning Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for "Umbrella."

Rihanna had sold over eleven million albums worldwide and has received the 2007 World Music Awards for World's Best-Selling Pop Female Artist and Female Entertainer of the Year, as well as the 2008 American Music Awards for Favorite Soul/R&B Female Artist and Favorite Pop/Rock Female Artist. She also serves as the cultural ambassador for Barbados.

KJ

May 5, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Home Office name hate promoters excluded from the UK

Today, the United Kingdom's Home Office announced that, from last October to this March, 22 noncitizens seeking entry into the UK had been excluded from the country because of their history of fomenting hatred against various groups.  Last year, the Home Secretary introduced new measures against such individuals, including creating a presumption in favor of exclusion for all those who have engaged in spreading hate.

6a00d8341bfae553ef01156f6a1afe970c-800wi With this announcement, the Home Office published a list of 16 of the 22 people excluded from the United Kingdom for fostering extremism or hatred between October 2008 and March 2009. Among the noncitiizens listed by the Home Office as excluded was someone who many of you have heard about:  "Michael Alan Weiner (also known as Michael Savage) Controversial daily radio host. Considered to be engaging in unacceptable behaviour by seeking to provoke others to serious criminal acts and fostering hatred which might lead to inter-community violence."

UPDATE:  Savage is threatening to sue for defamation

 KJ

May 5, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)