Saturday, June 13, 2009
This report From DHS presents information on the number and characteristics of persons admitted as refugees or granted asylum to the United States in fiscal year 2008: Refugees and Asylees: 2008.
The United States provides refuge to persons who have been persecuted or have a well-founded fear of persecution through two programs: one for refugees (persons outside the U.S.) and one for asylees (persons in the U.S.). This Office of Immigration Statistics Annual Flow Report provides information on the number of persons admitted to the United States as refugees or granted asylum in the United States in 2008. A total of 60,108 persons were admitted to the United States as refugees during 2008. The leading countries of nationality for refugees were Burma, Iraq, and Bhutan. During 2008, 22,930 individuals were granted asylum, including 12,187 who were granted asylum affirmatively by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and 10,743 who were granted asylum defensively by an immigration judge during removal proceedings. The leading countries of nationality for persons granted asylum were China, Colombia, and Haiti.
Arizona television news reports that three people have been arrested in connection with a double homicide in Arivaca, Arizona. One of the people arrested for the homicide is the National Executive Director of the Minuteman American Defense group (M.A.D.). Jason Eugene Bush, Shawna Forde (click here for a video), and Albert Robert Gaxiola, were arrested and charged in connection with the murders of a father, Raul Flores, and his 8-year-old daughter Brisenia Flores. Both were killed during an alleged home invasion. According to authorities, Bush, Forde, and Gaxiola broke into the home of the Flores family just after midnight on May 30th. At the time, the mother, father and daughter were home. The invaders reportedly shot the three members of the Flores family, killing the father, Raul, and the daughter, Brisenia. The trio has been charged with murder, burglary, and aggravated assault.
Friday, June 12, 2009
The Hill reports some disappointing news: "The White House has postponed, for the second time this month, a meeting with members of Congress on the administration’s plan to take up the illegal immigration issue." One can only wonder whether immigration reform remains a priority of the Obama administration.
Robert Behre writes for the Charleston (SC) Post and Courier
North Charleston Police Chief Jon Zumalt joined other chiefs Thursday to highlight their view that immigration reform is critical to maintaining public safety. "From my perspective, I need help," Zumalt said.
Austin (Texas) Police Chief Art Acevedo and Topeka (Kan.) Police Chief Ron Miller joined Zumalt to say that immigration reform is needed to fight crime now. They also said any reform should not rely overly on local police to enforce federal immigration laws. Such a step would only break down trust between police and those they serve, they said.
Zumalt pointed to a March crime in which illegal immigrant Orlando Benitez was shot and killed in the Hawthorne City mobile home park by a gang of thieves who rifled through his pockets as his 5-year-old daughter watched.
Three have been arrested in the case, but Zumalt pointed out that the crime shows how illegal immigrants often are being targeted.
"That's victimization, and I'm not going to allow anyone be victimized in my community, regardless of their status of immigration," he said. "If I'm going to be asked by someone to step in and enforce immigration laws, those folks are going to hide from us and yet they're still going to be victimized. I'm not going to tolerate that."
The chiefs' conference call comes one week before the White House has scheduled a meeting on immigration reform.
While the lack of immigration reform encourages criminals to prey on immigrants, many of whom are Hispanic, the larger community has a stake in stopping this crime, the chiefs said. Click here for the rest of the story.
Earlier this year Colin Powell gave a speech on immigrants and immigration reform at an event sponsored by the Carnegie Corporation. Here is an excerpt:
Some also argue that immigrants are a security threat. They assume that foreigners coming to America must remain foreign to America. That is not our history. Debate so often focuses on efforts to stem the flow of immigrants into our country or to establish conditions that immigrants must meet to become Americans that we may forget the powerful good we can do through our integration policies. An immigrant living in America can be isolated and mistreated, can live in fear of police raids and deportation. Isn’t it better to bring them out so they can openly navigate the path to becoming Americans and fulfill the expectations that brought them here in the first place? In an immigrant’s first embrace of this country, we often see ardent demonstrations of loyalty and patriotism—but only if we return that embrace. I have seen it thousands of times in my military career: the young men and women who come to this country as immigrants and volunteer to serve in our Armed Forces, the children of immigrants who volunteer to serve in our Armed Forces. You will find no better or more loyal soldiers than these young men and women who may already be citizens or who hope to do their service to become citizens.
Immigrants eventually become part of our social and economic fabric. But the policies with which we greet them are, in important ways, self-fulfilling. If we reach out, if we help, they will respond in kind. We can each embrace each other or we can embitter and disappoint immigrants by treating them as a security threat or as just a servant class. Or, we can truly provide for their integration in our society. We can consider their aspirations. Immigrants come to America because they expect life here to be more fulfilling, and our country has been strong in direct proportion to how we meet those expectations. And we must let immigrants know that we have expectations for them. They are expected to work hard, to learn the language, to learn our rules, to fit into our society, and as the generations that have come before them, become caring, considerate and law-abiding American citizens.
Click here for the entire speech.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Comprehensive immigration reform has a real chance of passing this year. Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid thinks that the votes are there. Over 300 organizations, including major labor unions, have teamed up to put pressure on Congress. President Obama pledged to pass comprehensive immigration reform during his campaign (http://www.barackobama.com/issues/immigration/).
That said, the anti-immigration forces are *very* loud and organized. President Obama and Congress need to know that the supporters of reform are going to be loud and organized too. Go to the website http://www.ReformImmigrationFORAmerica.org to learn more about how to let the President know that people are watching.
We have recently posted articles on the devastating impacts in Postville, Iowa of the May 2008 raids. Here is another post in that genre but on a different raid. In "Two Years and Four Thousand Arrests Later: Del Monte and the ICE Raids, An Update," see Download Del_Monte_Commentary_2d, by Stephen Manning, Sarah Loose, Alice Perry report on the devastating impacts of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids of the Fresh Del Monte food processing factory in Portland, Oregon in June 2007. According to the article, it was "[t]he most ferocious immigration raid in Oregon and, at that time, in the United States . . . ."
DREAM ACT 2009 - United We Dream on Facebook.com has announced that
On Tuesday June 23, 2009 United We Dream coalition members will be holding graduation ceremonies from coast to coast. The main event will be in Washington D.C., with solidarity events taking place all across the country. Below please find a listing of all of those events and how you can partake in them:
* Dream Team Los Angeles: June 23, 2009 11:30 am- 2 pm. In front of the Los Angeles City Hall Program includes a short rally, followed by a symbolic graduation ceremony and a call-in action. For more information, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
* Orange County Dream Team: Orange County DREAM Graduation! Event time: 6-8pm Location: Teamsters Hall Local 952 140 Marks Way Orange, CA. 92868 For more information, please contact: Yenni at firstname.lastname@example.org or Carlos at email@example.com
* The Coalition for College Access(C4CA) and Adelante Education Coalition will be hosting a mock graduation outside of Sen. Kay Hagan’s office at 5PM in Greensboro ( 701 Green Valley Rd; Suite 201, Greensboro, NC 27408) on June 23rd.
New Jersey: * Waiting for confirmation, information will be posted as soon as it is available.
New York: * No local event scheduled yet, however about 250 students will be bussed to D.C. event. If you would like to ride down from NY register with the Youth Leadership Counsel at http://www.nysylc.org/national-dreamact-graduation/
Wisconsin: * No local event scheduled yet, however students from Voces de la Frontera will be riding a bus down to D.C. event. If you are in Wisconsin and would like to attend please register at http://www.dreamactivist.org/take-action-2/mock-graduation/ and info will be sent to you.
Florida: * No local event scheduled yet, however students from SWER (Students Working for Equal Rights). Space is limited right now so if you would like to attend from FL please register at http://www.dreamactivist.org/take-action-2/mock-graduation/ and you will be contacted with additional information.
Texas: * The University Leadership Initiative (ULI) will be bringing students to the National D.C. Graduation, if you would like to participate please contact them or register at http://www.dreamactivist.org/take-action-2/mock-graduation/ and you will be contacted.
* The Houston DREAM Act Coalition is also holding a solidarity event. Stay tuned for details.
Appleseed, a non-profit that works to reform the justice system, recommended Wednesday improving the country's beleaguered immigration court system by reforming how judges are selected and promoting impartiality. Appleseed also suggested improving the accuracy of translations, reducing use of videoconferencing for hearings and ensuring court representation for immigrants.. For the full report, click here.
In the context of litigation against them, DHS and the SSA continue to review the Safe Harbor Rule, including the role of this rule in the context of the Obama Administration’s overall immigration enforcement policies. As part of this comprehensive review, the Department is evaluating numerous options, including whether to maintain the Rule in its current form, or to seek amendment or repeal. AFL-CIO v. Napolitano, MOTION FOR EXTENSION OF TIME TO RESPOND TO PLAINTIFFS’ MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT, June 10, 2009.
It is rare for this Old Blue (a Cal alum for you non-Californians) to note any news from The Farm. Still, kudos to Stanford University President John Hennessy for sending letters to Senators Boxer (D-CA) and Feinstein (D-CA) and Representatives Lofgren (D-CA) and Eshoo (D-CA), voicing his "strong support for the DREAM Act." A copy of the letters are available here.
The California Appellate Report reports that, in Alex O. v. Superior Court, Justice Benke in an opinion for the court ruled that it is unconstitutional for a court to tell a U.S. citizen who lives in Mexico that, as a condition of probation, he cannot come to the U.S. except to attend school, work, or visit his family. The court further ruled that it is permissible to require the probationer to inform his probation officer in advance whenever he's planning to cross the border.
Hat tip to Cappy White!
I'm disappointed that the U.S. has not allowed the Uighur Guantanamo detainees to enter the United States as refugees. Instead, we relied on putting pressure on a tiny country that owes a lot to the U.S.
Ray Lilley writes for the Associated Press:
WELLINGTON, New Zealand – The tropical Pacific island nation of Palau announced Wednesday it will accept up to 17 Chinese Muslims who have languished in legal limbo at Guantanamo Bay despite a Pentagon determination that they are not "enemy combatants."
China's Foreign Ministry had no immediate reaction to the decision by Palau to grant Washington's request to resettle the detainees from China's Uighur minority who had been incarcerated at the U.S. Navy base in Cuba. Palau is one of a handful of countries that does not recognize China and maintains diplomatic relations with Taiwan.
President Johnson Toribiong said Palau was accepting the detainees "as a humanitarian gesture" intended to help them restart their lives. His archipelago, with a population of about 20,000, will accept up to 17 of the detainees subject to periodic review, Toribiong said in a statement released to The Associated Press.
"This is but a small thing we can do to thank our best friend and ally for all it has done for Palau," he said.
A former U.S. trust territory in the Pacific, Palau has retained close ties with the United States since independence in 1994 when it signed a Free Compact of Association with the U.S.
While it is independent, it relies heavily on U.S. aid and is dependent on the United States for its defense. Native-born Palauans are allowed to enter the United States without passports or visas.
The Obama administration sought a solution for the detainees after facing fierce congressional opposition to releasing them on U.S. soil despite a Pentagon determination that they were not "enemy combatants."
Palau, made up of eight main islands plus more than 250 islets, is best known for diving and tourism and is located some 500 miles (800 kilometers) east of the Philippines in the Pacific Ocean.
A federal judge last year ordered the Uighur detainees released into the United States after the Pentagon determined they were not "enemy combatants." But an appeals court halted the order, and they have been in legal limbo ever since. Click here for the full story.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Amy Goldstein of the Washington Post reports that Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), chairman of Judiciary’s immigration subcommittee, assigned his staff to analyze how Sotomayor voted in 955 immigration cases in which she has participated throughout her judicial career. "Of the 848 asylum cases in which Sotomayor has taken part, Schumer’s aides say, she sided with the foreigner over the government in 144 of them, or 17 percent of the time. That percentage, the aides point out, is virtually identical to that of the entire 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, of which she is a member, during a two-year window analyzed as part of a recent article published in the Stanford Law Review . . . ."
UPDATE: Here is a copy of the press release from Senator Schumer's office. Download Scan001
Appleseed has released Assembly Line Injustice: Blueprint to Reform America's Immigration Court System (June 2009), a comprehensive assessment of the immigration court system that identifies problems at all stages of the adjudicatory process and presents a slate of practical solutions to ensure fairness and impartiality. Among other things, the report, based on interviews and observations of court hearings, concluded that immigration judge and trial attorney professionalism needs to be improved.
We were very sad to hear of the passing of Luke Cole, and environmental leader who, among other struggles, battled on behalf of migrant farm workers who are often required to use toxic chemicals in their work. Here is a message from the Equal Justice Society:
Luke Cole: A Fierce Advocate
The Equal Justice Society mourns the loss of Luke W. Cole, founder of the Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment. Luke passed away June 6 in Uganda while on sabbatical.
The social justice movement is filled with many wonderful and effective advocates. Many of us have friends who are not part of this world who are just heaven to be with. Their presence brings a smile to your lips and lifts your heart.
Luke Cole was both—a great and fierce advocate and a great man. Many knew him for his yearly root beer parties. Others knew of the ground breaking work he did in the field of environmental justice. He made sure that the concerns of people of color and poor and working people were addressed when environmental issues were raised.
He also clearly loved his wife and his son and his life. I remember his trying to figure out how to get to France a couple of years ago and remember his absolute delight when he was able to pull it off.
Little did any of us know that this would be his last trip. It is both heart breaking and somehow life affirming that he died while on a trip that brought him so much pleasure. He was dedicated to the work that we all do but he also knew that a fully lived life encompasses much more than work. He knew how to live.
All the people I have communicated with are so sad, so sincerely sad. There is such a sense of loss. We have lost a good friend. A man with a wonderful spirit is no longer with us. We send our prayers and thoughts to his wife Nancy Shelby Cole who lost an eye in the horrible accident that took place on a road in Uganda at 7:30 a.m. on June 6. Their son Zane is on his way to Amsterdam to be with his Mom while doctors fight to save the orb of her eye.
At times like these, the petty concerns of the day fade away. One wants to reach out to everyone you know to let them know that you love them.
Luke's death is somehow unbelievable. We are all so sad.
Equal Justice Society
Memorial services for Luke will be announced on the
Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment website.
Condolences may be sent to Luke’s family at:
Herbert “Skip” Cole
2020 El Camino de la Luz
Santa Barbara, CA 93109
519 Fig Avenue
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
National leaders from LULAC (League of United Latin American Citizens) and Amnesty International will join people from all over Texas for a march and vigil at T. Don Hutto Detention Center, a detention facility that ImmigrationProf fans love to hate, in Taylor, Texas on World Refugee Day, June 20, 2009. The vigil will begin with a 1 pm walk from Heritage Park at 4th Street and Main in Taylor. Click here for details.
It appears that same-sex marriages are not the only marriages today that are hard to come by in some parts of the United States. County clerks in a number of states have refused to issue marriage licenses to undocumented immigrants. The clerks argue that federal law requires marriage license applicants to provide a Social Security number, something that undocumented immigrants are not eligible for. Here is an article explaining why states cannot deny marriage licenses to undocumented immigrants. Download CLINIC_denial_of_marriage_licenses