Saturday, January 17, 2009
Immigrants Bid Good Riddance to Bush, and Demand Change from Mayor Newsom to President Obama!
Coalition of over 30 organizations gather at City Hall to oppose recent anti-immigrant measures in San Francisco and demand passage of Comprehensive Immigration Reform in DC
What: Procession to Mayor's Office and Vigil at City Hall
Where: Inside SF City Hall
Main Lobby (Van Ness Side)
San Francisco, CA 94102
When: Wednesday, January 21, 2009 at 4:00PM
Who: The San Francisco Immigrant Rights Defense Committee
a collaboration of over 30 organizations, hundreds of
participants, and city officials
SAN FRANCISCO - On January 21, 2009, the day following the historic inauguration of President-elect Obama, a coalition of immigrant communities and supporters from the LGBT, labor, and faith communities will gather at city hall to press Mayor Newsom to repeal recent anti-immigrant measures and to demand that President Obama maintain urgency for the passage of fair and humane comprehensive immigration reform.
The San Francisco Immigrant Rights Defense Committee will lead a procession to the Mayor's office to demand support for the Committee's immigrant rights platform - endorsed by a majority of the Board of Supervisors. The platform includes specific policy recommendations for ending SFPD collaboration with ICE, repealing the city's new policy of referring undocumented youth in the juvenile system to ICE without due process, preserving funding for essential services to immigrant workers and families, and ridding the city of other vestiges of the failed Bush administration.
The San Francisco Immigrant Rights Defense Committee is a growing alliance encompassing immigrant rights advocates, labor groups, faith leaders, youth advocates, and LGBT activists. The Committee includes the African Immigrant and Refugee Resource Center, ALDI, Arab Resource and Organizing Center, Asian Law Caucus, Asian Youth Advocacy Network, Bay Area Immigrant Rights Coalition, Central American Resource Center, Chinese for Affirmative Action, Communities United Against Violence, EBASE, Global Exchange, H.O.M.E.Y., Filipino Community Center, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, Instituto Familiar de la Raza, La Raza Centro Legal, La Voz Latina, Legal Services for Children, Mission Neighborhood Resource Centers, Movement for Unconditional Amnesty, Mujeres Unidas y Activas, PODER, POWER, Pride at Work, SF Immigrant Legal & Education Network, SF Labor Council, SFOP, St. Peter's Housing, Tenderloin Housing Clinic, Worker Immigrant Rights Coalition, and Young Workers United.
Evelyn Sanchez, (415) 572-0639 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Angela Chan, (415) 848-7719 / email@example.com
Good news! Word is out that David (Jeff) Ngaruri Kenney, author of the book Asylum Denied, which tells of his harrowing experience with U.S. immigration authorites, became an American citizen yesterday. Congrats to Jeff and his crack legal team!
Friday, January 16, 2009
The Supreme Court granted cert today in an immigration case, Nijhawan v. Mukasey. The issue in the case is whether the petitioner’s conviction for mail, bank and wire fraud qualified as an "aggravated felony" under the immigration laws. Check out SCOTUS blog for links to the opinion below (Third Circuit), Petition for certiorari, Brief in opposition, and the Petitioner’s reply.
The Third Circuit held that a noncitizen is removable under the fraud/deceit aggravated felony ground, regardless whether the crime included a monetary loss element. See Nijhawan v. Attorney General, 523 F.3d 387 (3d Cir. 2008). Tom Moseley, of Newark, represents the petitioner.
"Federal immigration officials investigating the death of a New York computer engineer from China who died in their custody last summer said Thursday that supervisors at a Rhode Island detention center had denied the ailing man appropriate medical treatment on multiple occasions and that employees had dragged him from his cell to a van as he screamed in pain. As they disclosed their findings, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials ordered an end to their contract with the center, the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility in Central Falls, R.I., a locally owned jail where the engineer, Hiu Lui Ng, spent his final month after a year in immigration detention. They said they had asked that the United States attorney in Boston review the case for possible criminal prosecution."
As we have seen in just the last few weeks with Attorney General Mukasey's ruling in two immigration cases, the Attorney General plays an important role in immigration matters. Attorney General-Designate Eric Holder's confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday, however, focused primarily on his role in controversial pardons issued by President Clinton.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
The N.Y. Times blog offers a story, with video, offering an important perspective on the age of state and local immigration enforcement run amok. The video is from a recent immigrant-suppression sweep by Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Maricopa County, Arizona. Two of the victims are young children who have been forcibly separated from their mother, who was turned over to federal immigration authorities.
At her confirmation hearing for DHS Secretary, Janet Napolitano, did little to inform the immigrant and immigrant rights community what direction she will be taking the department. Here are a couple of takes on her performance.
Immigration Policy Center (IPC) Director Angela Kelley issued the following statement after the confirmation hearing of Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano as Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Gov. Janet Napolitano's performance at today's confirmation hearing to serve as Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary deserves an "A" for "know-how", but an "incomplete" for "how-to" reform DHS and our country's broken immigration system.
Serving more as a tea party than a rigorous cross examination, confirmation hearings are notoriously poor venues for deep policy discussions. The Governor has a wealth of relevant experience and a deep understanding of all of the issues about which the Senators questioned her. However, the hearing left little room for drilling down into the specifics of complex policy issues. While discussion of enforcement was plentiful, questions and (therefore answers) about what to do with 12 million people living without documentation in the U.S. were in short supply.
DHS has focused much of its energy on sweeping-up undocumented workers, while little is spent on bad actor employers intentionally operating outside the law and even less on critical immigration services. Napolitano must chart a new direction for DHS ,as well as provide the wisdom and leadership needed to devise common sense solutions to our immigration system which move the country forward and are consistent with the American values of fairness, opportunity, and the rule of law.
We are optimistic that, once in office, Gov. Napolitano will provide more detailed answers to many of the outstanding policy questions surrounding effective immigration enforcement, the need for reform legislation, achieving timely and efficient immigration services, and a multitude of other issues she will be forced to confront from day one.
For information on this confirmation and earlier hearings of Hilda Solis as Labor Secretary, read our blog www.ImmigrationImpact.com.
From America's Voice:
The U.S. Senate’s Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs today hosted a confirmation hearing for President-elect Obama’s nominee for Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Governor Janet Napolitano (D-AZ). Below is a statement from Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:
“Governor Napolitano knows that ending illegal immigration will only be possible if Congress enacts common-sense comprehensive immigration reform, but at today’s hearing she missed a golden opportunity to make the case. She failed to underscore President-elect Obama’s commitment to moving reform legislation in 2009. Though she made the case for smarter policy at the border and in the workplace, she failed to highlight the glaring need for an earned citizenship program and reforms of the legal immigration system.
“For years, she has been a vocal leader pressuring Washington to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill. As DHS Secretary, she has the opportunity and the obligation to use her new position to help lead the effort. We hope she does so, and soon.”
Migration Policy Institute's National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy will give four $50,000 awards to exceptional initiatives of all types that promote immigrant integration in the United States. Nonprofit or community organizations, businesses, public agencies, religious groups, and individuals are eligible to apply. Award winners will be announced in April 2009 and honored at a reception in Washington, DC, in May 2009. More information at http://www.integrationawards.org/.
FIRM -- Fair Immigration Reform Movement -- will be hosting a Day of Action on the first day of the new administration. January 21st we will celebrate a New Day for Immigration in America (http://www.ANewDayforImmigration.org). The day of FIRM activities will include a march to the ICE headquarters, a ceremonial "cleansing" of ICE and a Community Forum with community leaders and immigrants speaking about what this day means to them. Visit www.anewdayforimmigration.org for more information about the event.
Robert Lovato has a column well-worth reading, Immigration Reform Debate Must Regain a Moral Compass. What a novel concept? Morality in our immigration laws and their enforcement! The artricle is a much-needed antidote to the often antiseptic discussion of "comprehensive immigration reform."
Last fall, we reported on the Okinawan widow of a Marine killed in Iraq who ran into visa difficulties. Hotaru Nakama and Marine Sgt. Michael Fershke married while Ferschke was deployed to Iraq, where he was killed a month later. Atthe time, she was six months pregnant and sought to move to Tennessee to raise their child in the town where the father grew up and family lives. It had been reported that, after some bumps in the road, the widow Ferschke secured a visa to come to the U.S.
Here is an update. Hotaru Ferschke gave birth last Friday to Michael Ferschke III in Okinawa (apparently after being denied entry into the U.S. to give birth here). And Hotaru is again running into problems securing a lawful permanent resident visas. For Bill Jempty's updates on this case, click here and here.
The Des Moines Register has compiled a database of the immigrant detainees, and their cases, who were arrested in May in the immigration raids in Postville, Iowa. Nearly 400 workers were arrested on Monday, May 13, at Agriprocessors Inc., the nation's largest kosher slaughterhouse. The workplace raid was the largest in Iowa history. The 390 people arrested represent almost one-third of the plant's 968 workers. Officials haven't released a comprehensive list of those detained in the raid, but the Register has been updating this list of detainees as names are made available.
Ricardo Montalbán (November 25, 1920–January 14, 2009), a Mexican-born television, theatre, and film actor, has died. He had a career spanning decades. During the mid-to-late 1970s, he was the spokesperson in automobile advertisements for the Chrysler Cordoba (in which he famously extols the "soft Corinthian leather" used for its interior). From 1977 to 1984, he starred as Mr. Roarke in the television series Fantasy Island. He also played Khan Noonien Singh in both a 1967 episode "Space Seed" of the first season of the original Star Trek series, and the 1982 film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
Montalban won an Emmy Award in 1978, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Screen Actors Guild in 1993. Up until his 80s, he continued to perform, often providing voices for animated films and commercials.
Born Nov. 25, 1920, in Mexico City, Montalban was the youngest of four children of Castilian Spaniards who had immigrated there in 1906. Montalban's father owned a dry goods store. Montalban came to Los Angeles as a teenager with his oldest brother, Carlos, who had lived in the city and worked for the studios.
Montalban wrote "Reflections: A Life in Two Worlds," his 1980 autobiography. Montalbán has stated that when he first arrived in Hollywood, studios wanted to change his name to Ricky Martin. He frequently portrayed Asian characters – mostly of Japanese background, as in Sayonara and the Hawaii Five-O episode "Samurai." His first leading role was the 1949 film Border Incident, with actor George Murphy. During the 1950s and 1960s, he was one of only a handful of actively working Hispanic actors. Many of his early roles were in Westerns in which he played character parts, usually as an "Indian" or as a "Latin Lover."
Montalbán's best-known television role was that of Mr. Roarke in the television series Fantasy Island, which he played from 1978 until 1984. For a while, the series was one of the most popular on television, and his character as well as that of his sidekick, Tattoo (played by Hervé Villechaize), became pop icons.
Montalbán established the Nosotros Foundation, which attempted to highlight and recognize Latino participation in the arts and entertainment. In 1970, the foundation created the Golden Eagle Awards, an annual awards show that recognizes Latino stars,
Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano, Secretary-Designate of the Department of Homeland Security will appear at confirmation hearings today befoew the U.S. Senate. Click here and here to see the kinds of immigration questions that she likely will receive. Here is a summary of Gov. Napolitano's immigration record.
The Washington Post provides an overview of Napolitano's prepared testimony. The bottom line: Although short on details, Napolitano stated that increased EMPLOYER enforcement would be one of DHS' priorities.
Watch the hearings LIVE now.
Stay tuned and we will let you know how the hearings go.
UPDATE: Immigration Policy Center (IPC) Director Angela Kelley issued the following statement after the confirmation hearing of Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano as Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS):
Gov. Janet Napolitano's performance at today's confirmation hearing to serve as Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary deserves an "A" for "know-how", but an "incomplete" for "how-to" reform DHS and our country's broken immigration system. Serving more as a tea party than a rigorous cross examination, confirmation hearings are notoriously poor venues for deep policy discussions. The Governor has a wealth of relevant experience and a deep understanding of all of the issues about which the Senators questioned her. However, the hearing left little room for drilling down into the specifics of complex policy issues. While discussion of enforcement was plentiful, questions and (therefore answers) about what to do with 12 million people living without documentation in the U.S. were in short supply. DHS has focused much of its energy on sweeping-up undocumented workers, while little is spent on bad actor employers intentionally operating outside the law and even less on critical immigration services. Napolitano must chart a new direction for DHS ,as well as provide the wisdom and leadership needed to devise common sense solutions to our immigration system which move the country forward and are consistent with the American values of fairness, opportunity, and the rule of law. We are optimistic that, once in office, Gov. Napolitano will provide more detailed answers to many of the outstanding policy questions surrounding effective immigration enforcement, the need for reform legislation, achieving timely and efficient immigration services, and a multitude of other issues she will be forced to confront from day one.
The Center for Public Policy Priorities has released aA report on the return and repatriation of undocumented unaccompanied children by the United States. A Child Alone and Without Papers reveals what happens to more than 43,000 undocumented, unaccompanied children removed annually from the United States and repatriated to their home countries. Policy analysis and interviews with adults and children in the system revealed the United States often compromises children’s rights, safety, and well-being, contrary to international law and U.S. child welfare standards.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
As we've mentioned previously, Change.org is holding a nationwide competition to identify "the best ideas for change in America". The top 10 ideas will be presented to the Obama administration just before inauguration day and change.org has pledged to back a national advocacy campaign to turn each of the top 10 issues ideas into actual policy.
We have a chance to make The DREAM Act one of the 10 campaigns but we need your support. Voting ENDS January 15th! Right now the DREAM Act is in 11th place. Voting only takes 2 minutes. The winning ideas will be presented on January 16th, at the National Press Club in Washington D.C.
VOTE TO SUPPORT THE DREAM ACT
1. Go to www.change.org/ideas/view/pass_the_dream_act_now
2. Click on the box marked "vote now" on the left side of your screen.
3. A screen will pop-up. Fill in your name, e-mail and password.
4. A confirmation e-mail will be sent to the email address you provided. Click on the link provided in the email.
5. Go back to www.change.org/ideas/view/pass_the_dream_act_now and click on the "vote now" box to vote.
6. Pass the link on to friends and family so that they can vote!
New Report: Legal, Illegal Immigration Flows React Differently to Recession; Return Migration, Though Probably Up, Is Not Yet a Definitive Trend
With the United States in an economic crisis that may already be the worst since the Great Depression, a report (Download lmi_recessionjan091.pdf ) issued today by the Migration Policy Institute finds that the recession may produce differing results for legal and illegal immigration flows. The report, Immigrants and the Current Economic Crisis, cites a growing body of evidence suggesting there has been a measurable slowdown in the historic growth of immigration in the United States, largely because there has been no significant growth in the unauthorized immigrant population since 2006.
“Legal and illegal immigration flows respond differently in an economic crisis,” said Migration Policy Institute President Demetrios Papademetriou, an author of the report. “Legal permanent immigration flows are the least responsive to economic pressures, while illegal immigration flows are the most responsive." “Still, substantial return migration of unauthorized immigrants is unlikely unless there’s a protracted and severe worsening of the U.S. economy,” Papademetriou added. The report examines the effects of the economic crisis and factors such as immigration enforcement on the immigrant population already in the United States; predicts how future immigration flows may be affected; discusses how immigrants fare in the U.S. labor market during recessions; and offers possible policy prescriptions.
Among the report’s findings:
• While there is anecdotal evidence that return migration to some countries, including Mexico, appears to have increased there is no definitive trend so far that can be tied in a significant way to U.S. economic conditions.
• Suggestions that increasingly strict enforcement of immigration laws by federal, state and local officials is responsible for increased return migration appear to be premature. With enforcement differing from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, selective enforcement strategies are likely to first divert unauthorized immigrants to other destinations within the United States where economic opportunities still exist rather than induce them to leave the country.
• Return migration appears to correlate more closely with economic, political and social developments in countries of origin than with economic conditions in the United States.
• While immigrants on average share the demographic characteristics of the workers who are most vulnerable during recessions (including relative youth; lower levels of education and recent entry into the labor force), they also may be able to adjust more quickly than native-born workers to fluctuating labor market conditions because they are more amenable to moving and changing job sectors.
• The lack of access to public benefits and family obligations (such as sending remittances to relatives in the country of origin) may force immigrant workers to go to extraordinary lengths to remain employed or find new employment quickly, possibly pushing some into dangerous working conditions or informal work.
• Legal immigration appears least tied to US economic conditions because most legal immigrants in recent years have been status adjusters who already live in the United States and tend to have strong labor market ties; there is pent-up demand for employer-sponsored visas; about two-thirds of legal immigrants are coming to reunite with family on visas that, in many cases, took years to secure; and refugee and asylee flows are largely independent of the economic climate.
"Illegal immigration is more responsive to economic downturns than legal immigration because it is comprised overwhelmingly of economic migrants whose decisions to migrate are based on their ability to find work," said report co-author Aaron Terrazas, an MPI Research Assistant. The report offers a number of policy suggestions that could make the U.S. immigration system more responsive to U.S. labor market and economic needs, among them the creation of a Standing Commission on Immigration and Labor Markets that would provide recommendations to Congress and the administration on adjustments to admissions levels based on labor market needs, employment patterns, and changing economic and demographic trends. “While the current economic crisis might not seem the most opportune moment to fix the chronic disconnect between the U.S. labor market and immigration system, visionary policymakers will recognize that a more nimble and thoughtful immigration system will better serve U.S. economic interests in an ever-more competitive global marketplace,” Papademetriou said.
Here is an article on immigration reform that one of our loyal readers declares is a "must read": “Immigration Reform: An Intergovernmental Imperative" by Nadia Rubaii-Barrett. Here is a synopsis:
“To ensure that the U.S. remains competitive, Immigration Reform also presents four principles with specific policy recommendations intended to guide development of a comprehensive U.S. immigration strategy, including
1. Overhauling U.S. immigration policy to reflect current economic and social realities, including appropriate enforcement
2. Placing immigration control at the national level and immigrant integration at the local level
3. Conducting federal enforcement activities that consider the impact on communities and local governments and promote human rights
4. Redistributing resources generated by immigrants equitably.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
The University of Arizona’s Southwest Institute for Research on Women (SIROW), with support from the Bacon Immigration Law and Policy Program of the James E. Rogers College of Law, issued a report studying the extent to which immigration detention facilities in Arizona are responsive to the needs of women detainees. Over a twelve month period from September 2007 through August 2008, SIROW researchers and law students conducted interviews with over forty people who have knowledge about the facilities, including currently and previously detained women, family members of detainees, and attorneys and social service providers who have worked with women in immigration detention facilities.
With vexing issues as a backdrop, President-elect Barack Obama met with Mexican President Felipe Calderon in Washington Monday to begin work on one of the most vital yet challenging of U.S. relationships. Monday's meeting between Obama, the U.S. Democrat, and Calderon, who heads Mexico's conservative National Action Party, was their first opportunity to address the global economic slowdown, drug violence along the border, Immigration and trade. For the full story, click here.