June 6, 2009
Oakland offers IDs to Undocumented Immigrants
Two years after reaffirming Oakland's status as a 'sanctuary city,' the City Council voted this week to create identification cards for undocumented immigrants.
The city's program will be modeled after a similar one in San Francisco, which started giving out cards to illegal immigrants earlier this year. For the full story, click here.
Anti-Sanctuary City Bill Passes House
A bill that aims to curb illegal immigration by prohibiting local governments from enacting 'sanctuary' ordinances, or policies that make it difficult for law enforcement and other local government employees to comply with federal immigration law, was approved in the Tennesse state House on Friday morning. For the full story, click here.
First Ever Congressional Hearing on Gay Spousal Immigration Sponsorship
The US Senate held a first ever congressional hearing on GLBT immigration equality that would stop gay and lesbian families from being torn apart, on June 3.
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) introduced the Uniting American Families Act (S. 424) earlier this year; it has 18 cosponsors. The bill would allow same sex couples the same immigration rights as married heterosexual couples. Passage of the bill is likely to be tied to overall immigration reform. For the full story, click here.
Reid Says Immigration Bill One of his Priorities
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid keeps talking about a comprehensive immigration overhaul, calling it one of his top three priorities this year, but there’s no sign Republicans are prepared to go along. For the full story, click here.
Napolitano Backs E-Verify
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said she is a big supporter of E-Verify, the Web-based system employers can use to check that newly hired employees are legally eligible to work. Fpr the full story, click here.
Eighth Circuit Affirms District Court in Valley Park, MO “Illegal Immigration Relief Act” Case
Last year, a federal district upheld the City of Valley Park, Missouri’s “Illegal Immigration Relief Act,” which punishes business owners and employers who are suspected of hiring undocumented workers. The Act is the latest in a series of ordinances passed in Valley Park that some claim seek to drive immigrants -- and Latinos -- out of the City. After the first two of such laws were struck down by a Missouri state court in a separate lawsuit, Valley Park amended ordinances that punished employers and landlords for renting to or hiring undocumented immigrants. The city Park repealed the housing ordinance when faced with a lawsuit brought by a several landlords. The district court decision addressed only the remaining employment ordinance.
On Friday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, in an opinion by Judge Beam (with Chief Judge Loken and Judge Arnold), affirmed the district court but limited its opinion to the jurisdiction and standing questions raised by the case. According to press reports, "the current mayor of Valley Park said the decision came at a high price and the city wouldn't even enforce the ordinance. 'I didn't jump up and down,' Mayor Grant Young said. `I hope it's a page we can turn and move on.' . . . . The case cost the city roughly $250,000 and former Mayor Jeffery Whitteaker, who championed the ordinance, was voted out of office."
Law Prof Kris Kobach (UMKC), who is running for Kansas Secretary of State, represented the city.
June 5, 2009
NumbersUSA Calculations Don't Add Up
From Walter Ewing of Immigration Impact:
The anti-immigration group NumbersUSA blames immigrants for just about every environmental and economic ill to befall the United States, from air pollution and urban sprawl to unemployment and high taxes. But, as the Immigration Policy Center (IPC) explains in a new fact sheet entitled Fuzzy Math, NumbersUSA bases its immigrant-bashing on an overly simplistic and fundamentally flawed arithmetic of “over-population” in which “more people” is automatically (and incorrectly) equated with more pollution, more competition for scarce jobs, and higher taxes. In reality, “over-population” is not the main cause of the environmental or economic problems confronting the United States, so trying to impose arbitrary limits on immigration that are divorced from reality will not create a better environment or a stronger economy.
The NumbersUSA notion that more people necessarily produce more pollution is readily dispelled by comparing the United States with the 15 nations of the European Union (E.U.)-15, which have standards of living comparable to that of the United States. According to data from the World Resources Institute, the United States is home to 23% fewer people than the E.U.-15, yet produced 70% more greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, as of 2000. This illustrates a basic fact over-looked by NumbersUSA: a few people can pollute a lot, or a lot of people can pollute a little. How much pollution a society produces depends on the degree to which that society relies upon fossil fuels, utilizes pollution-reduction technologies, develops mass transit, recycles recyclable materials, controls agricultural run-off into waterways, etc.
Similarly, “urban sprawl” can not be blamed primarily on numbers of people—be they immigrants or native-born. Numerous public-policy decisions made over the course of decades drove the creation of enormous tracts of dispersed, suburban houses with two-car garages and no mass transit. Immigration has little to do with the fact that urban planners in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s used a development model which has proven to be environmentally and economically unsustainable in the modern world. Click here for the rest of the piece and more links.
Council of Hemispheric Affairs Report on Obama Immigration Policy
Arienna Grody of the Council of Hemispheric Affairs has released a straight-forward report on the emerging Obama administration immigration policy.
Our U.S. Government at Work?
NEWS FROM ARIZONA; Walt Staton was found guilty Wednesday in U.S. District Court of knowingly littering on a national wildlife refuge. A Web designer and volunteer with the humanitarian group No More Deaths, Staton faces up to one year in prison and a $10,000 fine. He was cited Dec. 4 for littering when U.S. Border Patrol agents spotted him placing unopened gallon containers of water in the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge southwest of Tucson.
What the heck is going on? Doesn't the U.S. Attorney's office have higher priority cases to prosecute?
The Latest from the BIA on FGM
Matter of A-T-, 25 I&N Dec. 4 (BIA 2009) Interim Decision #3644, Decided June 4, 2009:
(1) Requests for asylum or withholding of removal premised on past persecution related to female genital mutilation must be adjudicated within the framework set out by the Attorney General in Matter of A-T-, 24 I&N Dec. 617 (A.G. 2008).
(2) Once past persecution on account of an enumerated ground is shown, a presumption is triggered that there would be future harm on the basis of the original claim or, in other words, on account of the same statutory ground.
(3) An applicant for asylum or withholding should clearly indicate what enumerated ground(s) he or she is relying upon in making a claim, including the exact delineation of any particular social group to which the applicant claims to belong.
On the Lighter Side: Teenage Immigrant Welfare Mothers On Drugs
Need a scapegoat in these hard economic times and two wars? What about"Teenage Immigrant Welfare Mothers On Drugs"? For a performance of this hit song, click here.
Hattip to Glen Genzdel (San Jose State)!
June 4, 2009
Immigration files to become part of National Archives
Anna Gorman of the L.A. Times has a story that might be of interest to immigration researchers. Government files that chronicle the lives of immigrants in the U.S. will become part of the National Archives, officials have announced. The files reveal the stories of millions of immigrants, including Jews who fled Europe and Chinese who came to the U.S.. The "alien registration files," or A-files, document immigrants' interaction with the government through registration forms, interview transcripts, health records, photographs, marriage licenses and recordings
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services began transferring the documents for preservation by archivists during a signing ceremony at the National Archives in Washington. The immigration agency maintains about 53 million A-files. "The first group to be archived is composed of 135,000 people who were born before 1909 and arrived after 1900, including Spanish painter Salvador Dali and French performer Maurice Chevalier. The first files are expected to be available to the public starting next summer. In the past, A-files were considered `temporary records' and could have been discarded 75 years from the date of last action. Now, they will become permanent records to be housed in either San Bruno, Calif., or Kansas City, Mo."
Blogster extraordinaire Bill Hing is quoted in the story.
The Economic Crisis and Mexican Migration
From UC San Diego:
LOS MIGRANTES DE LA CRISIS: New Research on the Impact of Economic Crisis on Mexican Migration and Settlement Behavior
Today, June 4, 2:00-4:00 PM
Eleanor Roosevelt College Administration Building
Conference Room 115, First Floor
Participants in the Mexican Migration Field Research and Training Program (MMFRP) at UCSD’s Center for Comparative Immigration Studies will present findings from their survey and ethnographic research in rural Yucatán and southern California in 2008-09. Drawing on 1,030 survey interviews and more than 500 hours of open-ended, life history interviews, MMFRP participants will report how Yucateco migrants and their relatives still in Mexico are coping with the current U.S. economic crisis; how U.S. border and interior enforcement policies are influencing decisions to migrate or stay in the United States; migrants’ modes of incorporation into the U.S. labor market; the changing family dynamics of migration; the youth culture of migration; and how migration is shaping education, nutrition, health care, and community participation on both sides of the border.
David Fitzgerald (firstname.lastname@example.org), Associate Director, CCIS, and Associate Professor of Sociology, UCSD
Deportation Charges Follow an Acquital of Terrorism Criminal Charges
Arab and Muslim immigrants cleared of criminal terrorism charges must then face immigration deportation charges of terrorism, the New York Times reports
June 3, 2009
ACTIVISTS SEEK TEMPORARY PROTECTED STATUS FOR HAITI
About 300 members of the Haitian Coalition for TPS and the Haitian Citizen United Task Force, Inc. (www.allcitizen.org) travelled from South Florida to rally outside the White House today to highlight the critical need for Temporary Protected Status for Haitians. In December of 2008, the United States began forcibly deporting 30,000 Haitians back to their country, a country ravaged by consecutive natural disasters last September. The two hurricanes and two tropical storms that hit Haiti in devastating succession during harvest season last year killed nearly 1,000 people and left 800,000 of the country’s residents in need of emergency humanitarian assistance. The storms destroyed at least $180 million in crops, exacerbating an existing food shortage. In April, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the Miami Herald that the administration is reviewing the U.S. policy of deporting Haitians.
The Obama Administration and the U.S. Congress can offer a humanitarian helping hand by granting Temporary Protected Status to the Haitians, allowing them an opportunity to stay temporarily on our shores as they await the moment when their nation can accept their safe return. Congress established TPS to grant safety to foreign nationals in just such circumstances as those currently facing Haiti. Deporting 30,000 people to Haiti under the current circumstances would only act to further aggravate the current humanitarian crisis and increase the stress on Haiti’s already weak economy. The destabilizing effects will be yet another blow to an already struggling democracy. This is a matter of life and death for Haitians. An audio slide show of today’s rally can be viewed here: http://www.jrsusa.org/flash/HAITI20090603/index.html
Oakland City Council Approves Oakland Municipal ID Card program
Last night, the city of Oakland followed through on a proposal previously reported on the ImmigrationProf blog and moved toward becoming the third (along with San Francisco, and New Haven, Connecticut) city in the United States to issue identification cards to all its residents, including undocumented immigrants. The city council approved the proposal but the program won't launch until council members approve a plan for implemenation.
The Oakland City ID Card Coalition began working on the program a year ago. Supporters say the cards would boost civic participation and cooperation with law enforcement.
The More Things Change . . .
Carl Schusterman talks about how the attitudes of immigration officials have changed little over the last 30 years, despite the elimination of the old INS and the creation of the DHS and ICE, monumental changes in U.S. immigration law and its enforcement, etc.
From the Bookshelves: THE XARIPU COMMUNITY ACROSS BORDERS Labor Migration, Community, and Family by Manuel Barajas
ABSTRACT: During the past three decades there have been many studies of transnational migration. Most scholarship has focused on one side of the border, one area of labor incorporation, one generation of migrants, and one gender. Manuel Barajas presents the first cross-national, comparative study to examine an indigenous Mexican community’s experience with international migration and transnationalism. He presents an extended case study of the Xaripu community, with home bases in both Xaripu, Michoacán, and Stockton, California. He elaborates how various forms of colonialism, institutional biases, and emergent forms of domination have shaped Xaripu labor migration, community formation, and family experiences across the Mexican/U.S. border for over a century. Of special interest are Barajas’s formal and informal interviews within the community, his examination of oral histories, and his participant observation in several locations.
Manual Barajas is associate professor of sociology at California State University, Sacramento.
Holder Vacates Matter of Compean
Attorney General Eric Holder’s Order in Matter of Compean:
New citation: 25 I&N 1 (A.G. 2009)
• On January 7, 2009, just a few weeks before leaving office, Attorney General Mukasey decided in Matter of Compean that non-citizens do not have a constitutional right to effective assistance of counsel in removal (a.k.a. deportation) proceedings.
• He also announced new procedures through which non-citizens may raise non-constitutional ineffective assistance claims before the Board of Immigration Appeals. The changes made it significantly harder for non-citizens to make ineffective assistance of counsel claims.
• Attorney General Mukasey’s decision overruled long-settled precedent in the Board of Immigration Appeals. With insufficient public input, it made major changes to the well-established set of procedures that the Board had developed.
Today’s Order by Attorney General Holder:
• Attorney General Holder’s order withdraws the previous Attorney General’s order, and restores the law to what it was before that January order issued. The new order says that rather than use an order in a pending case to make significant changes to the process by which non-citizens may make claims of ineffective assistance of counsel in removal proceedings, as the previous Attorney General did, the Department of Justice will instead initiate ordinary rulemaking procedures, solicit public input, and, if appropriate, issue a new regulation governing such claims.
• The Attorney General issued this order for 2 reasons:
o First, to ensure that there is a fair, accessible process in which non-citizens can come before the Board of Immigration Appeals and be heard on their claims of having received ineffective assistance of counsel in immigration proceedings. Non-citizens should not be removed from the United States simply because of their lawyers’ ineffectiveness.
o Second, to ensure that the procedural requirements for making such claims be established through an open, deliberative process, in which the public has a full and fair opportunity to participate.
• In removal proceedings, the Board of Immigration Appeals decides a person’s very right to be present in the United States. With so much at stake, these proceedings must be fair. Ineffective assistance of counsel in immigration proceedings is a grave problem, and non-citizens are often especially vulnerable to abuse by their lawyers because they are unfamiliar with the American legal system and the law is exceedingly complex. The integrity of immigration proceedings depends in part on non-citizens having a meaningful opportunity to be heard when they claim that incompetent, unethical, fraudulent, or absent performance by their lawyers affected the Board’s decision to remove them.
Economic Downturn Actually Bolsters Reform Efforts
Fawn Johnson writes for the Wall Street Journal:
Tough economic times may be a boon for supporters of a broad overhaul of the nation's immigration policies, according to pollsters who are testing the waters ahead of an upcoming White House summit on immigration.
"If anything, the economic climate has actually improved the environment for immigration reform, at least as far as the public is concerned," said Celinda Lake, who heads Lake Research Partners.
"A salient issue is that reform would make immigrants all taxpayers," Lake said during a telephone briefing.
Lake Research Partners has done polling for former President Bill Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden, among others.
A recent survey by Benenson Strategy Group showed that 71% of likely voters think illegal immigrants should take steps to become legal taxpayers. Benenson does polling for President Barack Obama, along with other elected officials and Fortune 100 companies.
Right now, undocumented foreigners in the U.S. aren't allowed to become legal residents. It is difficult, and sometimes impossible, for them to pay taxes.
Policy makers for years have been struggling with how to restructure immigration laws to deal with some 12 million illegal alien residents and better handle the flow of foreign workers.
Immigration overhaul also is a top priority for businesses in the U.S., from high-tech manufacturing companies to the landscaping and farming sectors. Companies such as Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) and Oracle Corp. (ORCL) have long advocated for greater access to foreign labor.
But lawmakers on Capitol Hill, particularly in the House, are wary of confronting the immigration issue. Both Republican and Democratic moderates fear they will be skewered by voters if they support proposals to legalize illegal workers.
Recent interviews with citizens suggest otherwise. "They want a level playing field and they don't have one today," said Lake, whose firm recently conducted a series of in-depth focus groups on immigration. "There's a huge pool of workers that are playing by a different set of rules than they are."
The public also isn't interested in harsh punishments for illegal workers, Lake's research suggests. Click here to access the full story.