Saturday, August 8, 2009

Labor Movement and Immigration Reform

Join us Monday, August 10th for a discussion on the Labor Movement and Immigration Reform.
Dear Friends,

With talk of immigration reform now on the nightly news, what role is the local and national labor movement playing in the debate? What impact will various reform proposals have on the civil rights of immigrant workers, and our ability to organize and grow the labor movement in the future?

As you all know, for the last several months, the Worker Immigrant Rights Coalition has been building support for our Unity Statement for Fair and Just Immigration Reform to build the movement for progressive immigration reform. Over 35 local unions and immigrant rights organizations have signed on, including our 7 Bay Area labor councils. While we have been working hard to build support among the labor movement at the local level, the wheels have also been working at the federal level to push for immigration reform this year. In April, the AFL-CIO and Change to Win announced that they have agreed on a joint framework for immigration reform.

In August, the Worker Immigrant Rights Coalition and the San Francisco Labor Council, AFL-CIO are excited to host an hour-long presentation and discussion at the San Francisco Labor Council Delegates Meeting on the Labor Movement and Immigration Reform with Special Guests:

Ana Avendaño,
Director of Immigration Policy, AFL-CIO

Esther Lopez,
Director of Civil Rights and Community Action,
UFCW International

Marielena Hincapié,
Executive Director, National Immigration Law Center

Monday, August 10th
      6:00 PM - 7:00 PM     
Plumbers' Hall
1621 Market Street, San Francisco

We hope that you will join us in this dynamic discussion about the priorities and positions for the labor movement in pushing for immigration reform as soon as this fall.

For more information or to RSVP, contact WIRC organizer Diana Rashid at (510) 289-1220 or email at

Diana Rashid, WIRC Organizer

The Workers Immigrant Rights Coalition (WIRC) is a growing alliance of Bay Area unions and worker justice organizations fighting for just and humane immigration reform that prioritizes the rights of immigrant workers.

August 8, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Senators Tap Senators Lindsey Graham and Charles Schumer on Immigration Reform

160px-Lindsey_Graham,_official_Senate_photo_portrait,_2006 The Republicans in the U.S. Senate have tapped Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) to work with the Dems' Charles Schumer (D-NY) to sheperd immigration reform through the U.S. Senate.  While Graham's aggressive questioning of now-Justice Sonia Sotomayor during the confirmation hearings was irritating, he ultimately voted for her.  We will see where he goes on CIR!



August 8, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, August 7, 2009



Farmer, Alice. Non-refoulement and jus cogens: limiting anti-terror measures that threaten refugee protection. 23 Geo. Immigr. L.J. 1-38 (2008).

Gupta, Anjum. Doctrinal mutilation: the Board of Immigration's Appeals' flawed analysis of the "continuing persecution" doctrine in claims based on past female genital mutilation. 23 Geo. Immigr. L.J. 39-56 (2008).

Lustig, Stuart L., et al. Inside the judges' chambers: narrative responses from the National Association of Immigration Judges stress and burnout survey. 23 Geo. Immigr. L.J. 57-83 (2008).

Orgad, Liav. Love and war: family migration in time of national emergency. 23 Geo. Immigr. L.J. 85-127 (2008).

Twibell, T.S. Rethinking Johnson v. M'Intosh (1823): the root of the continued forced displacement of American Indians despite Cobell v. Norton (2001). 23 Geo. Immigr. L.J. 129-200 (2008).

Corradini, Michael. Note. The role of the circuit courts in refugee adjudication: a comparison of the Fourth and Ninth Circuits. 23 Geo. Immigr. L.J. 201-219 (2008).

Spencer, Erica C. Note. The competing voices of the INA, BIA, and circuit courts on U.S. national status: insights from Walt Whitman's 1855 Leaves of Grass. 23 Geo. Immigr. L.J. 221-241 (2008).

Moon, Daniel Changshik. Current development. Judicial branch: former Attorney General Mukasey eliminates right to effective assistance of counsel in immigration proceedings. 23 Geo. Immigr. L.J. 245-250 (2008).

Schau, Jessica. Current development. Executive branch: amidst critical reports, Obama administration to review home raids program. 23 Geo. Immigr. L.J. 251-255 (2008).

August 7, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

"Made in LA" to Air on PBS

Made in L.A., an Emmy award winning film that follows the remarkable story of three Latina immigrants working in Los Angeles garment sweatshops as they embark on a three-year odyssey to win basic labor protections from a trendy clothing retailer, will air on the PBS "POV" series next week (Tuesday in most cities but Monday in others).  You can view a clip from the film here


August 7, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

A DREAMer Needs Help

Jorge-Alonso Chehade, age 22, came to the United States from Peru 8 years ago. Unless Congress or the Department of Homeland Security intervenes in his case, he will be required to leave the U.S. by September 25th.

Alonso having lived in the U.S. since he was fourteen, speaks fluent English.  Washington has become his home.  Growing up in Poulsbo, Alonso graduated from high school.  After high school, he attended the Olympic Community College. Earning an associates degree, he transferred to the Michael G. Foster School of Business at the University of Washington and got his bachelors degree in business administration.

On the side, he has found time to be involved in sports, student clubs and non-profit organizations.  Alonso has never broken the law and continues to be an active and important member of his community. He aspires to work for a big company as a marketing director, but without a Social Security number or visa and unable to use his abilities in the professional world, he has worked instead as a tutor and auto detailer.

On March 14, 2009 Alonso and a friend went to visit some friends at Western Washington University and rather than driving back home late at night they decided to stay at their friends ' place.  The next morning, not being familiar with the area they took a wrong turn on the highway and ended up near the Canadian Border.  Alonso was stopped by I.C.E. officials and when it was discovered that he was undocumented, he was arrested and jailed for 2 weeks.  He is now facing deportation within weeks  to a country he barely knows."

EZ ACTnow & Help Alonso in 3 Min!

[1] - SIGN His Petition @

[2] - CALL & LEAVE a Message ("Just Read the CALL SCRIPT / Pre-read before calling") at DHS Public Comment Line 202.282.8495                    > 1 min.

*NOTE: "This is a voicemail line. You will not have to speak to anyone but only leave a message. This is a direct line, which mean you will not have to go through many line transfers to get to the right place"

My name is ___________ and I am calling regarding Jorge-Alonso Chehade's Deportation. File Number A88-738-410. Alonso qualifies for the DREAM Act and has a clean criminal record. I would like to humbly request that you take action to immediately halt his deportation and halt ALL deportations of DREAMers like him. Thank you for considering my request.

If mailbox is full, PLEASE try again the next day.

We need the DREAM Act.


August 7, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

ICE Announcement on Detention: Smoke and Mirrors?

Kevin Johnson blogged earlier on the DHS announcement that changes will be made to detention policies. Here's a comment from the National Immigration Law Center:

ICE Announces Modifications to Immigration Detention System

LOS ANGELES - Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) today announced it will enact several changes in order to better protect the rights of the more than 400,000 men and women kept in the nation's immigrant detention centers annually. 

These changes - which include creating an Office of Detention Oversight, allowing independent medical officers to examine detention centers' medical complaints and denials of requests for services, sending federal employees to monitor the largest facilities, and augmenting field operations - are indicative of movement toward better protecting due process rights of detainees.  However, ICE announced last week that it would not make any of its own detention standards legally enforceable, and its latest announcement did not alter that position or include any clear statement on how detention facilities found to be in violation of the standards would be penalized.

"We recognize the difficulty in changing a system that has shown blatant disregard for rights over the past eight years," said Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center (NILC).  "Nonetheless, many of the changes announced today closely resemble policies already in place, and are insufficient.  This system has grown exponentially and shows no sign of abatement.  Rather than increase costs to taxpayers, the administration should look for fiscally prudent and humane alternatives, such as the release of people who show no flight risk and implementation of more alternatives to detention for those who need closer monitoring."

To ensure that immigration detention facilities meet the most basic standards of human decency, legislation is necessary.  Sen. Menendez (D-NJ) and Sen. Gillibrand (D-NY) have introduced such legislation to codify core components of the detention center rules and penalize facilities that are found in violation of these rules.  Rep. Roybal-Allard (D-CA) has introduced similar legislation in the House of Representatives.  This legislation would supersede the current Department of Homeland Security practice that relies primarily on the agency's self-reviews of detention centers to identify violations.

These previously confidential reviews were analyzed by NILC, the ACLU of Southern California, and the international law firm of Holland and Knight, LLC, and found to show pervasive violations of rights throughout the detention center system and a failure by ICE to remedy violations identified in a timely fashion.  These findings were released in "A Broken System," which also offers a series of policy recommendations to improve the current system.

Karen Tumlin, co-author of the report and staff attorney for NILC, said, "Our analysis of ICE's own reviews shows that, without legislation to enforce standards and punish centers found to be in violation of them, our immigration detention system will continue to be a mockery of the justice system. We encourage Congress to swiftly adopt legislation to protect the rights of these men and women detained in the United States." 


August 6, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Sotomayor Confirmed!

Congratulations to our new Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor!

From Alliance for Justice:

By a vote of 68 - 31 the Senate has just confirmed Sonia Sotomayor as Associate Justice on the United States Supreme Court.  Sotomayor’s confirmation to the Supreme Court is an historic, groundbreaking event that marks the start of a new day for justice in America. Her confirmation is just the beginning of the significant change that President Obama can bring to our judicial system. 

Both the White House and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy have thanked AFJ for our work on this historic confirmation. 

We share this gratitude with the entire AFJ community, and know that we truly did make a difference. As you may know, our efforts started years ago when we helped secure Sotomayor's elevation to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.  Your support is needed now to help us continue the fight for a fair and independent judiciary.

Hundreds of federal judges and several more Supreme Court justices will be appointed during President Obama’s administration.  We must take this opportunity to start the conversation we have long been denied about the need for strong and progressive voices on the court.

Sotomayor’s confirmation begins that process. We must keep up the pressure to appoint judges who will uphold the Constitution’s promise of equal justice for all.  

From America's Voice:

Sotomayor Confirmation Vote Reveals GOP "Latino Problem"

Comprehensive Immigration Reform Offers Chance to Regain Lost Ground

Washington, DC – Today, Judge Sonia Sotomayor became the first ever Latina and only the third woman to be appointed to the Supreme Court of the United States.  This will surely be seen as a historic moment for all Americans, including the Latino community.  Unfortunately, what should have been a proud moment of bipartisanship was tarnished by the divisive votes of so many Republican senators who opposed Sotomayor. 

“The confirmation of Justice Sotomayor to the Supreme Court is a historic moment for our country, and for all Americans.  Her achievements show that hard work and perseverance can still make the American Dream come true no matter where you came from.  Unfortunately, the thirty-one Republican senators who voted against Sotomayor--after acknowledging her distinguished record--show that the GOP has yet to change its stripes and set aside partisanship in favor of progress," said Paco Fabián, Communications Director of America's Voice.

"Following the Republican Party's historic losses among Latino voters in the 2008 elections, you would think that GOP leaders would realize that they need to change course or risk further marginalization.  But only nine Republican senators decided to set aside partisan politics and support Sotomayor.  Opposing such a qualified nominee hardly sends a message of inclusion to Latino voters.  The GOP will have another chance to redeem itself when Congress considers comprehensive immigration reform later this year; if the Party continues its 'politics as usual' strategy, watch for further losses among Latino voters in 2010 and beyond," Fabián concluded.


August 6, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Improvements in Immigrant Detention?

As reported in the N.Y. Times, the Department of Homeland Security today announced changes to the way they conduct oversight and accountability in immigration detention and changes to policies regarding the T. Don Hutto immigrant detention facility in Texas. The following is a statement by Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum, a non-partisan, non-profit pro-immigrant advocacy organization in Washington:

The Department of Homeland Security is taking important steps to address immigration detention conditions that are currently a national embarrassment. After years of advocacy with this agency and its predecessors, the National Immigration Forum and other pro-immigrant watchdogs are pleased to see some movement by the Obama administration in a very helpful direction. No modern, developed nation should tolerate the conditions under which we have jailed hundreds of thousands of families and individuals - conditions that have proven life-threatening and fatal in far too many cases.

The network of for-profit and government-run facilities that detain deportees needs to be tightly scrutinized and this is a tremendously positive step in that direction. The Hutto facility alone has stood out as a worst-case example - among many other egregious sites - and we are pleased that press attention, lawsuits, and public outcry have sparked definitive action. Expanding the use of cost-saving alternatives to detention will take some of the pressure off of the overburdened system and make immigration enforcement more in tune with the nature of the civil violations immigrant detainees are accused of.

The announcement from the Obama administration comes as a welcome shift in tone and substance. While the President's team has been working to prepare for a congressional legislative debate on immigration in the fall, many of the recent actions by the Department of Homeland Security have expanded and intensified enforcement of the failed rules and programs we have now.

Today's announcement makes progress on one of the most glaring emergencies, but it is just one among a broad range of outdated laws, unenforceable programs, inflexible rules, and ineffective or non-existent monitoring and accountability that need immediate attention. The single most important thing we can do with regard to immigrant detention is to reduce the need for its use for millions of non-criminals, families, and workers in the first place. By having a functioning legal immigration system so that people come with visas and within the law and by establishing a system for processing the millions of immigrants living here illegally into legal status, we can put our immigration system back on a legal footing and move away from the fantasy that we can simply enforce our way out of our current situation.

We hope and expect Secretary Napolitano and the President's team to continue working with Congress to enact comprehensive immigration reform quickly so that we gain more control over immigration. In the meantime, we are very supportive of the changes announced to the detention system and hope this signals more oversight and accountability throughout DHS and our immigration enforcement system.

UPDATE  For a more critical appraisal of the Obama administration's overtures on immigrant detention from Robero Lovato, click hereAnna Gorman for the LA Times offers some details about what ICE has in mind.


August 6, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Eighth Circuit's Latest Ruling in "House of Death" Informant Case

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit granted the petition for review in a case of a Mexican citizen who the Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”) denied him deferred removal under the Convention Against Torture (“CAT”). Ramirez Peyro claimed that if removed to Mexico, he will be tortured or killed in retribution for his actions as a government informant. Narcosphere reports this about the case: "U.S. Appeals Court sides with House of Death informant — again.  The U.S. government’s ongoing, four-year effort to deport the House of Death informant back to a certain death in Mexico has once again hit a roadblock in the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. That court today ruled that the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) erred in reversing an immigration court judge’s most recent decision to grant the informant, Guillermo Ramirez Peyro, relief under the United Nations Convention Against Torture (CAT)." 


August 6, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tobar on Trafficking

Hector Tobar for the LA Times writes of the long arm of human trafficking of undocumented immigrants in a case spanning from the Guatemalan jungle to Compton, California.  Trafficking for fun and profit has been an all-too-common occurrence since the increased border enforcement measures were put into place.  Higher smuggling fees, more smugglers, more crime, more exploitation.


August 6, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Kenyan Birth Certificate

False claims that President Obama was born in Kenya rather than Hawaii have been widely circulated. You too can have an authentic-looking Kenyan birth certificate in less than 5 minutes. Click here.


August 5, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

New Study on the Contributions of Immigrants in Colorado

The Immigration Policy Center has conducted research to conclude that "immigrants, Latinos, and Asians not only wield political power in Colorado, but are also an integral part of the state's economy and tax base."  The IPC has reached similar conclusions also in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, New York, Nevada, California, and Illinois. 


August 5, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

The Effectiveness of Arpaio's Enforcement Tactics in Question

In responding the the question of whether Arpaio's operation work, the Arizona Republic reports: 

"In the 10 sweeps conducted since March 2008, deputies arrested 552 people, according to the Sheriff's Office. Fewer than half were in the country illegally. The legal residents detained were frequently picked up for offenses such as driving with suspended licenses or warrants. The sweeps, in which drivers are stopped, can take weeks to plan, require dozens of law-enforcement personnel and can cost up to $40,000 for large-scale operations like last month's in Chandler.By contrast, another program aimed at identifying illegal immigrants has caught more than 26,000 people as they were booked into jail. That operation, which is sanctioned by the federal government, uses federally trained officers already working in the jails. "

For the full story, click here.


August 5, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigrants Turn to State Laws to fight Notario Fraud

ABA President H. Thomas Wells, Jr., writing for the Mercury Times, comments on the use of consumer fraud laws to fight notario fraud.


August 5, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Man Claiming to be US Citizen in Immigration Detention since 2008 Sues DHS

Clerde Pierre is represented in this lawsuit by Yale Law Professor Michael Wishnie Wishnie_Michael(1) 

and Muneer Ahmad, law professor at American University, Washington College of Law

Ahmad  .  For the complaint, click here.


August 5, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Dobkin: Race and the Shaping of U.S. Immigration Policy

Donald S. Dobkin has published an interesting article entitled "Race and the Shaping of U.S. Immigration Policy," 28 Chicana/O-Latina/O L. Rev. 19 (2009).  Download Dobkin_Final[1] Race  Dobkin's thesis about the centrality of race in U.S. history is immportant to consider as the nation mulls over immigration reform.


August 5, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

GOP Lags Demographically in California

A new Field Poll showing how the California Republican Party has failed to keep pace with the state's evolving demographics over the past 30 years.

The survey, released Tuesday, illustrates the changing face of California and its electorate since 1978, providing a wide snapshot of a state in transition.

The California GOP has increased its share of Hispanics, blacks, Asians and others since 1978, but the changes have lagged shifts in the state's overall diversity.

Today, about 79 percent of Republican Party members are white, even as whites in California's overall population have dropped from 69 percent in 1978 to less than 43 percent.

The state GOP chairman says broadening the party's reach has become a top priority.


August 4, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Patricia Turner: Don’t Call Them Crazy

160px-ObamaBarack Here is a guest post by Patricia Turner, Ph.D., folklorist on the faculty of Pat-turner the University of California, Davis. She is the author of several books including I Heard It Through the Grapevine: Rumor in African American Culture, and, with Gary Alan Fine, Whispers on the Color Line: Rumor and Race in American Culture.

Today is President Barack Hussein Obama’s 48th birthday. Since his 47th birthday on August 4, 2008, he received the Democrats' nomination as the party’s candidate for the presidency, won the 2008 presidential election, and was inaugurated with more pomp, splendor and support than any president in recent decades. Although his domestic and foreign agendas are advancing more slowly than he projected, this ought to be a year for him to really party hearty. Too bad an increasing number of Americans dispute the story of his birth and refuse to believe that he is a citizen of the land over which he now presides as commander-in-chief.

Accusations that Barack Obama and his supporters have manufactured a distorted and dishonest depiction of the real man date back to his historic speech at the 2004 Democratic convention. Within two weeks after he mesmerized the public during his nominating speech for John Kerry, hard-core opponents initiated efforts to discredit him with claims that he was not, as he professed to be, a Christian. Before long, the inventory of rumors assaulting his identity included the beliefs that he is a Muslim who refuses to wear a flag pin, sing the national anthem or allow the image of the American flag to be displayed on his campaign plane. Other rumors held that he wasn’t a real American because he was not born in Hawaii, as his mother, grandparents and birth certificate attest, but in his father’s homeland of Kenya. Oh, and when he took the oath of office as senator from Illinois, he chose to be sworn in on the Koran.

Before the election, rumors focusing on his religious affiliations were the most prominent in the blogosphere and in chain e-mails that sought to rally opposition to his candidacy. But after his victory in November, attention to his citizenship credentials began to dominate. It’s easy to see why. Even if someone managed to find a videotape of Obama praying in the direction of Mecca, that pesky little First Amendment entitlement of freedom of religion would protect him from impeachment. But what if he isn’t a citizen? Of all of the rumors intended to cast aspersions on him, only the ones that accuse him of falsifying his citizenship credentials could, if proven, establish grounds for removing him from office.

Now known as birthers, those who promote the perspective that Obama is not a citizen have grown in number since the election. An online petition demanding that President Obama make his “real” birth certificate available to birthers for scrutiny has hundreds of thousands of signatures.

The birthers’ story functions like a classic urban legend. It exists in multiple versions. Some birthers reject Obama's citizenship because they interpret his birth certificate -- images of which are online -- as fraudulent. Others believe that he renounced his citizenship when he attended school in Indonesia. Still others concede that he was born in Hawaii but claim his birth predates Hawaiian statehood. Like all classic urban legends, these tales resonate so strongly with people who are dissatisfied with the status quo that denials only tend to generate even more believers.

Because the mainstream media has paid little attention to birthers and their claims, adherents have almost as much disgust for reporters as they do for Obama and his supporters. Journalists who probe the claims of the birthers find the evidence so insubstantial that they tend to condemn the birthers as “paranoid,” “stupid,” “evil” or, most commonly, “crazy.” Similar invectives have been used to minimize those who, like the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, claim that the AIDS virus was intentionally distributed in areas with black populations as a mechanism of genocide.

Although Presidential Press Secretary Robert Gibbs is probably correct in his conclusion that no amount of evidence will convince the most hard-core of the birthers that the president is a U.S. citizen, he contributes to the dissemination of the belief by rejecting it as “nonsense.” To partially stem the spread of the beliefs, those who support the President must tackle the task of methodically refuting all permutations of the beliefs. The refutations should be enumerated in the even-tempered style associated with “no drama” Obama. By responding to the rantings of the birthers with respect, the administration may ensure that when Obama's 49th birthday rolls around, the ranks of those who reject the legitimacy of his presidency will have withered away.

August 4, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

New SSRN Immigration Articles

Here are some new immigration articles from the Social Science Research Network (

The Unsigned United Nations Migrant Worker Rights Convention: An Overlooked Opportunity to Change the Brown Collar Migration Paradigm" New York University Journal of International Law and Politics (JILP), Vol. 42, 2009 Villanova Law/Public Policy Research Paper No. 2009-20 BETH LYON, Villanova University School of Law [Blogger's note:  Professor Lyons has written important scholarship on the international legal protections for migrant workers.]

Abstract:  The United Nations Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families (Migrant Worker Convention or Convention) is one of the United Nations' nine core human rights treaties. The United States has neither signed nor ratified the treaty. Despite various reports and articles assessing potential ratification of the Convention by European and other countries, and an even more robust literature examining potential U.S. ratification of other UN core human rights treaties, there has been no examination of the potential for U.S. ratification of this Convention. The Convention is the most comprehensive global attempt to grapple with labor migration, a problem of dramatic international and domestic scope. The more than 24 million immigrants in the American workplace represent nearly 16% of the U.S. labor force. U.S. business continues to press for lower immigrant worker wage and housing standards, making the foreign-born an especially likely replacement for American workers in recessionary times. Ratification of the Migrant Worker Convention is desirable because, by prompting a vision of migrant workers as rights holders, the Convention would shift the American political climate toward policy reform. This would help to break through the current domestic political stalemate and build-up of undocumented immigrants. Ratifying the Migrant Worker Convention would also advance agendas important to both the right and the left, including increased national security through enhanced standing with the global south and an improved humanitarian situation for one of America's most vulnerable groups. An analysis of the United States' relationship to human rights treaties reveals that active negotiation, followed by delayed Executive signature and Senate consideration, are the norm. Seen within this historical context, the current lack of attention to the Convention appears typical of U.S. human rights treaty ratification practice, though the delay has been somewhat exacerbated by the controversial nature of immigration policy. The article proposes a typology for assessing treaty provisions, and uses this framework to analyze the Migrant Worker Convention’s potential impact on five politically sensitive U.S. questions: legalization, border policies, expedited removal, family unification for legal workers, and worksite raids. World Trade Organization President Pascal Lamy recently noted that "There are world organisations for trade, health, the environment, telecoms, food. There are two black holes in world governance: finance…and migration." U.S. engagement with the Migrant Worker Convention would help to address and contribute to a rational global approach to low-paid labor migration.

The Common Place of Law in the Uncommon World of Vietnamese Immigrants: The Vietnam War Refought in Massachusetts U Denver Legal Studies Research Paper No. 09-18 WENDY DUONG, University of Denver Sturm College of Law [Blogger's note:  The study of Vietnamese refugees, and their experiences in teh United States, is much-needed.]

Abstract:  In the academic year 2000-2001, a legal dispute arose in the heart of Boston, Massachusetts (the “Massachusetts Dispute”). A group of Vietnamese Americans filed a lawsuit against the William Joiner Center (”WJC”) for the Study of War and Social Consequences, an academic branch of the University of Massachusetts-Boston (the “University”), alleging violations of Massachusetts’ anti-discrimination law. The Plaintiffs challenged the University’s selection of scholars for a Rockefeller Foundation-funded fellowship for the 2000-01 school year, contending that the University had excluded qualified first-generation Vietnamese Americans from participation in a research project called “Re-Constructing Identity and Place in the Vietnamese Diaspora” (The “WJC Project”). The Plaintiffs, all in retirement age, were political refugees or immigrants who escaped communist Vietnam during the 70s, 80s, and early 90s. Among the Plaintiffs were (i) the former South Vietnamese ambassador to United States, (ii) the Chancellor of a Buddhist University in South Vietnam, (iii) a former South Vietnamese lawyer, and (iii) several South Vietnamese military personnel who were jailed by the North Vietnamese at the time South Vietnam fell in 1975, marking the end of the Vietnam War. These Plaintiffs also sought to become class representatives for all Vietnamese Americans similarly situated, but the trial court denied their motion for class certification. One year after the war ended, in 1976, the Vietnamese communist party reunited the two Vietnam’s into what is known today as the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (“Vietnam”). The new government’s policy was to imprison South Vietnamese military personnel and political dissidents in “reeducation camps” without a trial. It is common knowledge among the Vietnamese American community that “reeducation camps” were a euphemism for the Vietnamese equivalent of the Soviet Union’s gulag archipelago -- forced labor camps set up for the imprisonment of political dissidents. In Vietnam, the “gulag” was used for collaborators and local employees of the United States and the defunct South Vietnamese regime after the fall of Saigon in 1975. Vietnam’s “reeducation” policy was implemented in 1975 and continued until the early 1990s, when the Reagan Administration initiated immigration programs to bring South Vietnamese political prisoners to America. (There are not sufficient official data available to the West to ascertain whether those “camps,” or remnants of them, still exist today.) All throughout the 70s, 80s, and 90s, many Vietnamese chose to escape the new regime, including fleeing at sea, or immigrated to America as former political prisoners under humanitarian and immigration programs sponsored by the United States. Most notably tragic was the exodus of “boat people” from Vietnam – they either lost their lives at sea or crowded Southeast Asian refugee camps, posing an issue of conscience for the entire world. The flow of refugees dwindled down beginning in 1985, when Vietnam opened herself to the West under a ”renovation policy, combining a free market economy with a single-party Marxist political system. Personal freedom for the Vietnamese people also improved as a result of free market. In 1996, diplomatic relations between Vietnam and the U.S. were normalized and the first U.S. ambassador to the Socialist Republic of Vietnam was appointed. The Plaintiffs were among those refugees and political immigrants. Having settled in America, they become part of the Vietnamese American community here. Needless to say, each Plaintiff has his own story to tell. These tales went back to the time of the Vietnam War, as well as what happened behind the new Vietnam’s iron curtain after the war ended. In the Superior Court of Massachusetts in Suffolk County, these Plaintiffs claimed that the University discriminated against them because they were anti-communist first-generation Vietnamese Americans over 40 years of age. The Plaintiffs’ supporters told their community that by selecting scholars from North Vietnam to study the Vietnamese diaspora, the University had opened old wounds that never healed, thereby revitalizing a two-decade war that had haunted the conscience of America. On August 27, 2004, the year prior to the 30th anniversary of Vietnamese resettlement in America and three years [CHECK] after the complaint was filed, the presiding judge dismissed the Plaintiffs’ case. The Plaintiffs have since appealed the dismissal order. Despite its notoriety within the Vietnamese American community, the lawsuit remains obscurely miniscule in the public domain, and hardly catches the attention of mainstream legal scholars or sociologists.

Task Specialisation, Immigration and Wages Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano Development Studies Working Paper No. 252 GIOVANNI PERI, University of California, Davis - Department of Economics CHAD SPARBER, Colgate University - Economics Department [Blogger's Note:  Professor Peri has written some of the best economics scholarship in recent years on the costs and benefits of immigration.]

Abstract:  Many workers with low levels of educational attainment immigrated to the United States in recent decades. In a simple model exploiting comparative advantage we show that if less-educated foreign and native-born workers specialize in performing different tasks, immigration will cause natives to reallocate their task supply, thereby reducing downward wage pressure. We merge occupational task-intensity data from the O*NET and DOT data sets with individual Census data across US states from 1960-2000 to demonstrate that foreign-born workers specialize in occupations that require manual and physical labor skills while natives pursue jobs more intensive in communication and language tasks. This increased specialization might explain why economic analyzes commonly find only modest wage and employment consequences of immigration for less-educated native-born workers across U.S. states.


August 4, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Olivas on the Obama Administration's Immigration Enforcement Now, Enforcement Forever Strategy : “We literally have the worst of all worlds.”

MichaelOlivas Julia Preston of the N.Y. Times reports what ImmigrationProf has been reporting for weeks -- that the Obama administration has focused increasingly on immigration enforcement with little movement on pushing comprehensive immigration reform in Congress.  The article quotes Professor Michael Olivas (Houston) about how this is "the worst of all worlds."  The Obama enforcement orientation led to protests by immigrant rights advocates in Los Angeles and New York last week. 

When will we see a meaningful push for comprehensive immigration reform?


August 4, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)