May 16, 2009
Immigration Can Help the Rustbelt Economy
Terry Parris writes for Metromode:
Here in Southeast Michigan a study, called Global Detroit, is underway to address the issue of how immigrants can help the local economy. It has brought together 25 regional leaders to discuss, research, develop, and pursue specific strategies to make this area more attractive and welcoming to immigrants. Steve Tobocman, former state rep for Southwest Detroit and managing partner of New Solutions Group, LLC, is overseeing the project funded by the New Economy Initiative, the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce, and the Skillman Foundation.
"To have a strong Detroit, a strong Southeast Michigan, immigrants are a necessary component," Tobocman says. "We need a welcome mat for these citizens, housing services, and employer services. We're thinking on what some of these out-of-the-box strategies could be for immigration growth."
Global Detroit began in March of this year and Tobocman says they've already discussed dozens upon dozens of strategies, some of which have already been implemented in other states. Ideas like welcoming centers for new Michiganders, internship programs to retain foreign students after college graduation, or a regional center that pools foreign investment (of $500k or more) for local development -- which would create American jobs -- in return for a visa (called the EB-5). Click here for the full story.
Something to Look Forward To: Jon Stewart on the Naturalization Process
LATINA reports that Jon Stewart of The Daily Show is working on a two-hour special about the U.S. naturalization process for the History Channel called The Naturalized. The special reportedly will be a funny yet poignant look at eight people navigating the bureaucracy of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. It will also include interviews with immigrants.
I do look forward to Stewart's take on the various naturalization requirements, such as that of "good moral character" and attachment to U.S. constititional principles (like all those law-abiding folks writing memos on torture and the like in the Bush administration?), as well as the dramatic increase in fees ostensibly designed to reduce the backlog of petitions (but which have been accompanied by a greater backlog).
May 15, 2009
Hunger Strike at Port Isabel
The Texas Observer reports that detainees at the Port Isabel Processing Center, a detention facility north of Brownsville, have been on a hunger strike for more than two weeks. "articipating inmates say they’re protesting physical and verbal mistreatment, but they add that their message is larger than the conditions at Port Isabel, which holds 1,200 inmates. `The main reason is the prolonged detention we’re all subjected to,' R0a Carty, one of the strikers, tells the Observer in a phone interview."
Many of Port Isabel’s detainees have been transferred from various corners of the United States. Many are thousands of miles from their attorneys.
Hattip to Texas correspondent, Cappy White
Tragedy for Haitian Refugees Continues
Seems like everyday Haitian refugees fleeing their impoverished nation continue to die at sea. Friends, there has to be a better way.
Matt Sedensky reports for the Associated Press:
MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Rescuers searched an expanding stretch of the Atlantic off Florida on Thursday for survivors a day after an overloaded boat capsized and sank with about 30 people aboard, mainly Haitian immigrants fleeing their country's crushing poverty
At least nine people were known to have died, including an infant, U.S. Coast Guard officials said. Sixteen more people were pulled out of rough waters after the first survivors were discovered Wednesday.
Undocumented migrants from Haiti are almost always deported, a sore point for Miami's Haitian-American community because Cuban migrants who reach U.S. shores are allowed to stay under federal government policy. Cubans interdicted at sea are usually returned to the communist island. Click here for the rest of this story.
Manuel Roig-Franzia reported on a different group of Haitians two weeks ago in the Washington Post:
MEXICO CITY, May 4 -- At least 20 Haitian migrants died and 58 were missing Friday after an overloaded sailboat capsized off the Turks and Caicos Islands.
A U.S. Coast Guard cutter, accompanied by a helicopter and a C-130 plane, searched for survivors of the tragedy, which occurred during a dramatic upswing in illegal migration from the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. The Coast Guard said 704 Haitians were rescued at sea in April, nearly as many as were taken into custody in all of last year, when 769 rescues were recorded. Click here for the rest of this story.
Older Immigrants in the United States
The 4.5 million older immigrants residing in the United States in 2007 accounted for 12 percent of all senior citizens age 65 and older. Migration Policy Institute's Aaron Terrazas examines the socioeconomic characteristics, where they live, their health and disability status, and their sources of income.
Bernanke on Immigration
From Immigration Daily:
An USA Today editorial points out the self-defeating nature of our immigration policy which forces thousands of foreign graduates with sought-after skills and brainpower to leave the country. It quotes Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. " "Our immigration laws discriminate pretty heavily against highly talented scientists and engineers who want to come to this country and be part of our technological establishment," Bernanke told a congressional panel. By opening doors to more people with top technical skills, he predicted, "you'd keep companies here, and you'd have more innovation here, and you'd have more growth here." "
Mexican Census Data Shows Decline in Mexican Emigration
Census data from the Mexican government indicate an extraordinary decline in the number of Mexican immigrants going to the United States.The recently released data show that about 226,000 fewer people emigrated from Mexico to other countries during the year that ended in August 2008 than during the previous year, a decline of 25 percent. All but a very small fraction of emigration, both legal and illegal, from Mexico is to the United States. For the full story, click here.
Jayne E. Fleming of Reed Smith: 2009 Matthew Bender Daniel Levy Award Recipient
Jayne E. Fleming of Reed Smith has been named the 2009 Matthew Bender Daniel Levy Award Recipient. Since January 2007, Fleming has led Reed Smith’s 50-attorney Human Rights Team to 30 straight asylum-, SIJS- and detention-related victories for refugees from around the world. Jayne, has handled more than 20 pro bono asylum cases, which have involved matters of racial, political, religious and gender-based persecution; forced labor and human trafficking; and the rights of immigrant children. To date, none of her clients have ever been deported, and several of the published decisions in her cases have had major impacts on U.S. immigration law in recognizing the rights of women, LGTB clients and child refugees. Fleming serves on the Executive Committee of the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies and on the Board of Directors of Survivors International. She runs pro bono mentoring programs at UC Berkeley School of Law’s California Asylum Representation Clinic and the University of Pennsylvania Law School’s Immigrant Rights Project. Fleming’s work includes an ongoing mission in Central America to network with relief agencies and examine the root causes of violence and poverty in the region. In this work, she is intimately involved with several international organizations and San Francisco-based Legal Services for Children (LSC) and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights.
The award ceremony and reception will be held at the American Immigraion Lawyers Association conference in Las Vegas, Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009, 8:00 – 9:00 P.M.,
A member of the Editorial Board of Bender’s Immigration Bulletin, Daniel Levy died at the age of 48 on September 14, 2001, in Los Angeles after a long battle with cancer. Mr. Levy was a prolific author, litigator, and scholar, and was widely known and loved by many in the immigration bar. With this annual award Matthew Bender seeks to honor an individual who emulates the values that informed Mr. Levy’s life and work: - enthusiastic advocacy on behalf of immigrant clients; - deep scholarship in immigration law; and - an expansive vision of justice.
UPDATE: Here are Jayne Fleming's remarks upon receipt of the award.
A City of Ruins: Postville One Year After
In May 2008, the U.S. government descended upon rural Postville, Iowa to make a statement on its willingness to enforce the immigration laws with a massive workplace raid followed by criminal prosecutions of undocumented workers. Now -- one year later -- is an appropriate time to look at the fallout and thinkabout the future. As Jens Manuel Krogstad of the WCF Courier puts it, he has "been writing obsessively about how Postville looks one year later." Click the link above to see how much "good" the 2008 immigration raids have done for Postville, Iowa.
May 14, 2009
Justice Souter's Voice Will Be Missed
Justice Souter's retirement from the Supreme Court will be a sad day for those of us who believe in civil rights, fair and equal treatment, due process, and justice. A reminder of Justice Souter's commitment to the fair treatment of immigrants can be found in his long and thoughtful dissent in Demore v. Hyung Joon Kim, 538 U.S. 510 (2003). The majority held that Congress could--consistent with the Fifth Amendment's due process clause--require that deportable aliens be detained without bail for the period necessary for removal proceedings under 8 USC § 1226(c), But Justice Souter really understood the importance of LPR status as well as the importance of being able to get out on bond to better prepare for a removal hearing. Here are some excerpts from his dissent:
The constitutional protection of an alien's person and property is particularly strong in the case of aliens lawfully admitted to permanent residence (LPRs). The immigration laws give LPRs the opportunity to establish a life permanently in this country by developing economic, familial, and social ties indistinguishable from those of a citizen. In fact, the law of the United States goes out of its way to encourage just such attachments by creating immigration preferences for those with a citizen as a close relation, 8 USC §§ 1153(a)(1), (3)-(4) [8 USCS §§ 1153(a)(1), (3)-(4)] and those with valuable professional skills or other assets promising benefits to the United States, §§ 1153(b)(1)-(5).
Once they are admitted to permanent residence, LPRs share in the economic freedom enjoyed by citizens: they may compete for most jobs in the private and public sectors without obtaining job-specific authorization, and apart from the franchise, jury duty, and certain forms of public assistance, their lives are generally indistinguishable from those of United States citizens. That goes for obligations as well as opportunities. Unlike temporary, nonimmigrant aliens, who are generally taxed only on income from domestic sources or connected with a domestic business, 26 USC § 872 [26 USCS § 872], LPRs, like citizens, are taxed on their worldwide income, 26 CFR §§ 1.1-1(b), 1.871-1(a), 1.871-2(b) (2002). Male LPRs between the ages of 18 and 26 must register under the Selective Service Act of 1948, ch. 625, Tit. I, § 3, 62 Stat. 605. 4 "Resident aliens, like citizens, pay taxes, support the economy, serve in the Armed Forces, and contribute in myriad other ways to our society." In re Griffiths, 413 U.S. 717, 722, 37 L. Ed. 2d 910, 93 S. Ct. 2851 (1973). And if they choose, they may apply for full membership in the national polity through naturalization.
. . . .
These cases yield a simple distillate that should govern the result here. Due process calls for an individual determination before someone is locked away. In none of the cases cited did we ever suggest that the government could avoid the Due Process Clause by doing what § 1226(c) does, by selecting a class of people for confinement on a categorical basis and denying members of that class any chance to dispute the [*552] necessity of putting them away. The cases, of course, would mean nothing if citizens and comparable residents could be shorn of due process by this sort of categorical sleight of hand. Without any "full-blown adversary hearing" before detention, Salerno, supra, at 750, 95 L Ed 2d 697, 107 S Ct 2095, or heightened burden of proof, Addington, supra, or other procedures to show the government's interest in committing an individual, Foucha, supra; Jackson, supra, procedural rights would amount to nothing but mechanisms for testing group membership.
. . . .
Our individualized analysis and disposition in Zadvydas support Kim's claim for an individualized review of his challenge to the reasons that are supposed to justify confining him prior to any determination of removability. In fact, aliens in removal proceedings have an additional interest in avoiding confinement, beyond anything considered in Zadvydas: detention prior to entry of a removal order may well impede the alien's ability to develop and present his case on the very issue of removability.
. . . .
This case is not about the National Government's undisputed power to detain aliens in order to avoid flight or prevent danger to the community. The issue is whether that power may be exercised by detaining a still lawful permanent resident alien when there is no reason for it and no way to challenge it. The Court's holding that the Due Process Clause allows this under a blanket rule is devoid of even ostensible justification in fact and at odds with the settled standard of liberty. I respectfully dissent.
AG Set to Issue Decision on Immigrant Ineffective Asistance Claims
The Washington Independent reports that Attorney General Eric Holder, keeping his word, said today that he will soon be issuing his opinion rexamining the Compean ruling, one of Attorney General Mukasey's last major immigration rulings. The ruling greatly restricted ineffective assistance of counsel claims by immigrants in iremoval proceedings.
AGJOBS REINTRODUCTION: IS CONGRESS SERIOUS ABOUT IMMIGRATION REFORM?
The National Immigration Forum issued this press release today:
Washington, DC - Today, Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) and Representatives Howard Berman (D-CA) and Adam Putnam (R-FL) introduced in both chambers of Congress the Agricultural Job Opportunities, Benefits and Security Act, or AgJOBS, bipartisan legislation supported by both business and labor, that will stabilize labor markets in the agricultural industry while providing a path to earned citizenship for eligible farm workers. The following is a statement by Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum, a non-partisan pro-immigrant advocacy group in Washington.
Today's reintroduction of AgJOBS, another critical component of comprehensive immigration reform, moves us closer to the debate over a broad immigration proposal backed by the President in Congress this year. Senator Feinstein and Representatives Berman and Putnam are taking the initiative to move the ball forward. They and the diverse array of co-sponsors they are gathering show that Members of Congress care about the future and continued competitiveness of American Agriculture. Farms and related enterprises are engines of American commerce and self-sufficiency, and steps taken to insure their continued viability benefit the economy and all American families. We see AgJOBS as an essential part of the broad immigration reform debate to take place in Congress this year. The need for immediate help for our nation's farmers cannot be overstated. A high percentage of the farmworkers who plant and harvest our food are undocumented, often subject to low wages and poor living and working conditions. AgJOBS would address Agriculture's long-term need for a legal, steady labor supply while reinforcing farmworkers' labor rights and protections. AgJOBS is a win-win piece of legislation benefiting workers, employers and the economy at large. It is the result of a delicate and historic agreement between farmworker advocates and unions and the agriculture industry. It serves as a model for how business and labor can come together on a solution to put in place rules on immigration without undermining American workers. Both groups recognize the need for a stable, legal workforce, the need for better working conditions for farmworkers, and the need to improve U.S. farm productivity. Around the country and inside the beltway, momentum is building around immigration reform. Congress is lining up the key elements with measures like AgJOBS and the DREAM Act -legislation that will benefit unauthorized immigrant children who attend college or serve in the military. Both AgJOBS and DREAM enjoy strong, bipartisan support in Congress and motivated, engaged constituencies at the grassroots across the country. We commend Congress for taking action towards immigration reform; they recognize-as the American public does- the urgency for comprehensive immigration reform that reaffirms America's values and responds effectively to the economic and labor needs of our country.
Immigrants and Social Security
From the Immigration Policy Center:
IMMIGRANTS INTEGRAL TO SOCIAL SECURITY'S FUTURE
Washington D.C. - Reports released by the Social Security and Medicare Boards of Trustees this week have re-focused public attention on the deteriorating financial condition of the nation's main health and retirement programs. These reports underscore not only the severity of the current recession, but also the demographic crisis confronting the nation as the native-born population ages. The coming wave of retiring Baby Boomers reminds us of the increasingly important role that immigrants play in the U.S. economy as taxpayers, workers, consumers, and homebuyers.
In an IPC report, demographer Dowell Myers of the University of Southern California has succinctly analyzed this looming demographic crisis and the role that immigration can play in overcoming it:
Over the next 20 years, the number of senior citizens relative to the number of working-age Americans will increase by 67 percent.
This means that more and more retirees "will transition from being net taxpayers to net recipients of health and pension benefits, and they will be supported by a smaller workforce that is struggling to meet its own needs."
These "mass retirements" will not only strain the Social Security and Medicare programs, but will also drive labor-force growth "perilously low - perhaps below zero in many states - which will depress economic growth as a whole."
Moreover, "seniors are also net home sellers, and accordingly, there will be 67 percent more people in the selling ages relative to the younger adults who are likely to be buyers. Thus the mass sell-off launched by aging poses a great hazard for all home sellers and their home values in the two decades ahead."
The aging of the native-born population will leave the U.S. economy short on workers and taxpayers just when more workers and taxpayers are needed to support the increasing number of retiring Baby Boomers. Immigrants can help fill this gap. And, as the IPC points out in a recent compilation of economic data, sensible immigration reform would maximize the economic contributions of immigrants, which will shore up not only Social Security and Medicare, but the U.S. tax base and the U.S. workforce as well.
Border Patrol Training for Boys Scouts
Jennifer Steinhauer reports in the NY Times:
Ten minutes into arrant mayhem in this town near the Mexican border, and the gunman, a disgruntled Iraq war veteran, has already taken out two people, one slumped in his desk, the other covered in blood on the floor.
The responding officers — eight teenage boys and girls, the youngest 14 — face tripwire, a thin cloud of poisonous gas and loud shots — BAM! BAM! — fired from behind a flimsy wall. They move quickly, pellet guns drawn and masks affixed.
“United States Border Patrol! Put your hands up!” screams one in a voice cracking with adolescent determination as the suspect is subdued.
It is all quite a step up from the square knot.
The Explorers program, a coeducational affiliate of the Boy Scouts of America that began 60 years ago, is training thousands of young people in skills used to confront terrorism, illegal immigration and escalating border violence — an intense ratcheting up of one of the group’s longtime missions to prepare youths for more traditional jobs as police officers and firefighters.
“This is about being a true-blooded American guy and girl,” said A. J. Lowenthal, a sheriff’s deputy here in Imperial County, whose life clock, he says, is set around the Explorers events he helps run. “It fits right in with the honor and bravery of the Boy Scouts.” Click here for the full story.
Obama Reported Cautious on Immigration Reform
This month, President Obama begins his push for 'comprehensive immigration reform,' an effort at which both his predecessor and his 2008 general election opponent failed repeatedly. But he is expected to tread carefully. For the full story, click here.
USCIS Publishes New Guidelines for Assessing Unlawful Presence
For the full guidelines, click here.
So. California local enforcement to check immigration status
Law enforcement agencies in three Southern California counties will soon be able to check the immigration status of arrestees when their fingerprints are taken during booking.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Wednesday the so-called "Secure Communities" program is scheduled to begin this month in Los Angeles, San Diego and Ventura counties. For the full story, click here.
Immigration Declines, Census data shows
Deterred by immigration laws and the lackluster economy, the population growth of Hispanics and Asians in the U.S. has slowed unexpectedly, causing the government to push back estimates on when minorities will become the majority by as much as a decade.
Census data released Thursday also showed that fewer Hispanics were migrating to suburbs and newly emerging immigrant areas in the Southeast, including Arkansas, Tennessee and Georgia, staying put instead in traditional gateway locations such as California. For the full article, click here.
May 13, 2009
Educating Mexicans in Arizona
From Mary Ann Zehr of Education Week:
Tom Horne, Arizona's superintendent of public instruction, is asking the state legislature to require charter schools to adhere to the same law that public schools must follow: that they be prohibited from educating students who are residents in Mexico but cross the border just to attend school. Now, Horne said, charter schools are exempt from the requirement.
Horne says in a press release he put out today that he recently learned "taxpayers are paying a charter school for educating students who are residents of Mexico and who cross the border to attend." The schools chief notes that while Arizona is required to provide a free public education to undocumented students, it's not required to educate the residents of another country.
In my visits to a number of Arizona and Texas border towns over the years, I have found the notion of a Mexican "resident" a bit murky. I've interviewed quite a few students, for example, who live with relatives or siblings on the U.S. side of the border and attend U.S. public schools, but whose parents live on the Mexican side of the border.
I've also interviewed one youth who is likely the kind of person that Horne believes shouldn't be enrolled in U.S. schools. Because he was born in the United States, the young man was a U.S. citizen. But he lived in Mexico (with his girlfriend and child there) and walked across the border each day to attend school in the United States.
From the Bookshelves: William McDonald, Immigration, Crime and Justice
This volume examines the nexus between immigration and crime from all of the angles. It addresses not just the evidence regarding the criminality of immigrants but also the research on the victimization of immigrants; on human trafficking; domestic violence; the police handling of human trafficking; the exportation to crime problems via deportation; the vigilantes at the U.S. border; the role of the non-immigration police in the control of immigration; and, the criminalization of immigration policy.