Saturday, August 15, 2009

Arizona Action Plan

From Jennifer Allen of the Border Action Network in Arizona:

From July 2009 to October 2009, Border Action Network launched a bold initiative that put our organizing and education process on wheels, traveling throughout the state of Arizona to identify and engage new members in how to participate be part of the movement calling for immigration reform and to call for rights and accountability on the US-Mexico border.

From small towns to large cities, including Yuma, San Luis, Somerton, Ajo, Casa Grande, Gila Bend, Globe, Guadalupe, Goodyear, Buckeye, Surprise, Glendale, Flagstaff, Prescott, Willcox, Cottonwood and other towns, we are getting people prepped and primed to have their voices heard by national leaders.

These days policy fights are played out by generating numbers through technology. Border Action wants to ensure that we don’t get left behind. Across the state we are training low-income immigrant communities how to sign postcards, send emails, respond to cell phone text alerts, make phone calls to officials and registering voters. These are the basic elements of civic participation, but training our communities how to use the newest tools has too often been overlooked.

As we travel around Arizona and work with our existing Human Rights Committees in southern Arizona, we have set the goal of gathering 30,000 postcards to send to Obama, Senator McCain and local members of Congress. We will get 2,000 people signed up to receive text alerts, make phone calls to Washington and get email action alerts. And, we want to recruit and renew 1,000 members!!!

It is an ambitious plan and that’s why we need you: 1) make a contribution to Border Action and renew your membership!; 2) contact us if you would like more information about hosting a “platica” on being part of immigration reform (only available in Spanish!); 3) distribute postcards; 4) sign up to receive text message alerts.

This is a lot of effort but we recognize that this may be our last opportunity for several years. Our families, our communities and our country simply can’t wait any longer for an overhaul of our failing immigration policy. We need solutions and we need them now. Join with us in this critical campaign and be part of moving this country forward!


August 15, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Is Leaving Water to Save Lives Littering?

Ashley Powers reports for the LA Times:

Walt Staton wanted to help people, and his tool was a water jug. On the morning of Dec. 4, he and three others drove southwest from Tucson, to the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge, which tens of thousands of illegal immigrants traverse each year.

But the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said the plastic jugs he left for the immigrants endanger wildlife, and this week Staton was sentenced in federal court in Tucson on a charge of littering. He was given one year of unsupervised probation and ordered to spend 300 hours picking up trash.

The sentence, however, does not quite capture the emotions surrounding the case -- yet another testament to the volatility of the undocumented immigration debate in Arizona. Prosecutors had asked for a $5,000 fine and five years' probation. Staton, for his part, had insisted on a trial, rather than pay a $175 fine. Click here for the rest of the story.


August 15, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Mainstreaming of Hate

Immigration Impact has a story that could well be entitled the mainstreaming of hate.  It explains that anti-immigrant groups like the "Minutemen" are not only proliferating, but are rapidly beginning to resemble the white-supremacist and anti-government militias that have populated the netherworld of the Radical Right since the early 1990s. Adding insult to injury, theconspiracy theories that circulate among both extreme nativist groups and right-wing militias are now being mainstreamed by commentators on CNN, MSNBC, and FOX News.


August 14, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Cato Institute Report: Restriction or Legalization? Measuring the Economic Benefits of Immigration Reform

In a report released yesterday, Restriction or Legalization? Measuring the Economic Benefits of Immigration Reform, the Cato Institute seeks to quantify the benefits that would flow to the U.S. economy from comprehensive immigration reform which grants some form of legal status to unauthorized immigrants already living in the United States. The report constructs seven statistical models to simulate various immigration policy options that run the gamut from enforcement-only strategies along the border and at the workplace, to the legalization of currently unauthorized immigrants and creation of legal channels for future immigrant workers that accommodate actual U.S. labor demand.

The report concludes that "compared to either border or interior enforcement, a policy of legalization would, over time, raise the incomes of U.S. workers and their families."

• A program to grant legal status to unauthorized workers already in the United States, combined with new channels for the arrival of immigrant workers in the future, would increase the productivity of immigrant workers and create more job openings for American workers in higher-skilled occupations. The net result would be economic gains of roughly $180 billion over ten years.

• An enforcement-only approach would shrink the overall economy, reducing opportunities for higher-skilled American workers. The net result would be economic losses of roughly $80 billion over ten years.

"As Congress begins drafting comprehensive immigration reform proposals, the latest CATO report makes the essential point that reforming our broken immigration system by bringing unauthorized workers into our tax system and on the right side of the law will help our economy. Continuing our enforcement-only policies not only neglects the broken system, but will actually cost our economy billions of dollars over the next decade," said Mary Giovagnoli, Director of the Immigration Policy Center. "The CATO report recognizes the value immigrants bring to America as workers, taxpayers, and consumers."


August 14, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

New NYU Press Series: Citizenship and Migration in the Americas

New York University Press is proud to announce a new book series that addresses one of the major political and legal issues of the day: immigration.

Citizenship and Migration in the Americas will publish innovative work exploring the legal, political, economic, social, and cultural issues that lie at the center of contemporary and historical conversations about the meaning of membership in the Americas. The series aims to aggressively expand traditional scholarship on immigration by embracing a broad, interdisciplinary definition of migration, including but not limited to the legal and illegal movement of people within and across domestic and international borders, and, importantly, how debates about the role of the modern nation-state, global citizenship, and human rights affect the lived experiences of migrants in the United States and its territories, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Canada.

The series editor and editorial advisory board seek theoretically sophisticated projects that broaden the parameters of immigration law and contribute to wider discussions of transnational citizenship in both domestic and international contexts. As such, future books published in the series might address the contours and parameters of labels such as national boundaries and legal membership. The series will also seek historical examinations that will add context and reference to contemporary issues such as the status of undocumented workers, the role of law enforcement, the relevance of international human rights, the interests of national security, free trade, economic development, and other topics that lie at the epicenter of immigration law and policy.

While individual titles will be quite diverse, the series editor will strive to ensure that all books published in Citizenship and Migration in the Americas consider the larger global themes of citizenship and migration. The series will publish a wide variety of books, including monographs, course texts, and general interest titles. Led by a group of academics that are highly respected scholars in the field, the series will publish provocative and timely works in an all-important public policy arena that has thus far not garnered the attention it merits.

Series Editor:

Faculty_Roman%2CEdbierto Ediberto Román is a founding Professor of Law at Florida International University, where he served as associate dean for academic affairs from 2005-2007.  A prolific scholar of immigration law, international law, and the law and theory of citizenship, he is the author of over two dozen articles, as well as two books: The Other American Colonies, which was a 2006 finalist for the Law and Society Association’s Willard Hurst Prize for best work in legal history; and, forthcoming in 2010 from NYU Press, Citizenship and Its Exclusions. He is at work on a third book, also to be published by NYU Press,, Those Damn Immigrants: America’s Hysteria over Undocumented Latino/a Immigrants. He expects to finish his fourth book, Understanding Immigration, in 2010. For the 2009-2010 academic year, he will serve as the Deputy Executive Director of the Southeastern Association of Law Schools and will be a Visiting Professor of Law at Washington College of Law, American University.

Editorial Advisory Board:

Kif Augustine-Adams, Associate Dean and Charles E. Jones Professor of Law, J. Reuben Clark Law School, Brigham Young University


Kevin Johnson, Dean and Mabie-Apallas Professor of Public Interest Law and Chicana/o Studies, University of California, Davis

Stephen H. Legomsky, John S. Lehmann University Professor, Washington University School of Law

Gerald Neuman, J. Sinclair Armstrong Professor of International, Foreign, and Comparative Law, Harvard Law School

Angela Onwuachi-Willig, Charles M. and Marion J. Kierscht Scholar, University of Iowa College of Law


Victor Romero, Associate Dean and Maureen B. Cavanaugh Distinguished Faculty Scholar, Penn State University College of Law

Gerald Torres, Bryant Smith Chair in Law, University of  Texas, Austin

Submission guidelines: Submissions should take the form of a 3-5 page proposal outlining the intent and scope of the project, its merits in comparison to existing texts, and the audience it is designed to reach. You should also include a detailed Table of Contents, 2-3 sample chapters or articles, and a current copy of your curriculum vitae. Please send submission materials to: Ediberto Román, Professor of Law, Florida International  University, University Park, Miami, Fl. 33199

August 14, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Farmworker Family Success Stories

Mary Ann Zehr writes for Education Week:

Social Ascension in a Farmworker Family

A series of videos and stories about the children of immigrants in California doesn't talk only about how poverty and a lack of English proficiency can be barriers for children of immigrants to succeed in school. The series, produced by News21 at the University of Southern California, also tells about how the children of some farmworkers are extremely motivated to do well in school and have become professionals. Partly, they are motivated to perform well in school because they've witnessed the harsh reality of their parents' lives.

That's the case with the Rodarte family in Delano, Calif., the same city where Latino civil rights activist Cesar Chavez lived. The seven children of the farmworker couple took education seriously and became professionals. Click here for the rest of the post.


August 14, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigrant of the Day: Alejandro Mayorkas (Cuba), New U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director

Alejandro Mayorkasa Cuban immigrant, has been sworn in as the new Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.  Mayorkas will oversee a workforce of nearly 18,000 people. He has served as the United States Attorney for the Central District of California and was a partner in O’Melveny and Myers. Mayorkas holds a J.D. from Loyola Law School and a B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley.


August 14, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Schwarzenegger's Terminator Budget Cuts

California's governor has cut essential services for citizens and noncitizens alike in areas such as education and domestic violence.  Colorlines Magazine has created this entertaining video highlighting some of the salient cuts in the budget. Click Here.


August 13, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Protecting Immigrant Children In Custody

From Appleseed:

Unaccompanied Minors Project Underway at Appleseed

Each year, thousands of immigrant children living in the United States - whether asylum seekers, victims of human trafficking, or in some cases, even misidentified American citizens - are apprehended by authorities. For those without a parent or legal guardian - nearly 8,000 in 2006 - detention and repatriation proceedings are too often unjust, exploitative or downright dangerous.

Accordingly, Appleseed is working to protect the rights of these unaccompanied minors (UAMs), ensuring that once apprehended, they are treated humanely and not deprived of due process. As part of that effort, teams of attorneys generously donated by Mayer Brown, DLA Piper and Akin Gump are conducting on-site examinations of detention centers across the country, most recently in Texas.

These site visits, which will help Appleseed identify and redress problems in the UAM detention system, include facilities inspections; a review of contracts, practices and policies; and interviews with both UAM and staff.

Most detained children are taken into custody at U.S. ports of entry or along the Mexican border. UAM tasking is split between the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which is responsible for apprehension, transfer and repatriation, and the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Removal (ORR), which provides long-term detention and foster placement.

Overall, the goals of the Unaccompanied Minors project include:

Ensuring that minors detained by DHS's Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are treated in a manner consistent with the requirements of the Flores Settlement Agreement, the Trafficking Act, and all other applicable laws, regulations and orders

Ensuring that "voluntary departures" (i.e. deportations with the minor's consent) are truly voluntary and conscious decisions by unaccompanied minors and, to that end, providing detainees with pro bono legal representation and/or an independent advocate

Ensuring some form of independent ongoing monitoring of conduct toward unaccompanied minors by authorites.

Ensuring that UAMs, when repatriated, are reunited with their families or, when that either is not possible or would expose the child to imminent risk of serious harm, that he or she is placed with an appropriate child welfare agency of the relevant foreign jurisdiction
Appleseed's UAM project grew out of the relationship established between Mexico Appleseed's Executive Director, Maru Cortázar, and the First Lady of Mexico, Margarita Zavala during the "Creating a Pro Bono Network in Mexico" event in January 2008. As keynote speaker, Ms. Zavala expressed her interest in collaborating with Appleseed on a project that assessed the detention conditions and DHS protocols regarding UAM and their subsequent repatriation to Mexico.

Please check the Appleseed website in the coming weeks as additional information about this important project is posted.


August 13, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Latino and Asian Voting Clout

From the Immigration Policy Center:

Latino and Asian Clout in the Voting Booth

Newly Released Census Data Underscores Growing Power of Ethnic and Minority Voters

Washington D.C.- Immediately after the Presidential election of 2008, it was quickly apparent through exit polling that Latino, Asian, and African-American voting had expanded dramatically compared to the 2004 election. Census Bureau data released late last month confirms the tremendous growth in voting among these groups. Today, the Immigration Policy Center (IPC) releases a fact check, Latino and Asian Clout in the Voting Booth, which shows how much the electoral power of racial and ethnic minorities increased in just four years. 

The report finds:
The number of Latino voters increased by 28.4% (or 2.2 million) from 7.6 million in 2004 to 9.8 million in 2008.

The number of Asian voters increased by 21.3% (or 589,000) from 2.8 million in 2004 to 3.4 million in 2008.

The number of black voters increased by 15.1% (or 2.1 million) from 14 million in 2004 to 16.1 million in 2008.

In six of the nine states that went from "red" to "blue" in the 2008 election (Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Nevada, New Mexico, and North Carolina), the number of Latino and Asian voters significantly exceeded Barack Obama's margin of victory over John McCain.
At a time when the United States has elected its first African-American president, appointed its first Latina Supreme Court justice, and started down the road to comprehensive reform of our broken immigration system, this data should serve as a demographic wakeup call to politicians. Many future elections throughout the United States will be won and lost based on decisions made by policymakers that impact ethnic and minority communities.

Click here to view the fact check in their entirety.


August 13, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Emile Schepers on Immigration Reform

Emile Schepers on Political Affairs.Net has a status report on immigration reform that is well worth reading.


August 13, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Ninth Circuit on National Security Preclusion

The Ninth Circuit (Malkandi v. Holder), in an amended opinion filed on August 10 written by Judge McKeown (and joined by Judges Reinhardt and Tashima), has decided a case involving  an Iraqi asylum seeker in which the BIA concluded that he was ineligible for relief beccause the government had "reasonable grounds" to believe that he was "a threat to national security."  This is a rarely-invoked preclusion and the Ninth Circuit's treatment is likely to have a national impact.


August 13, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

UT Immigration Law Clinic Makes a Difference: Hutto No Longer to Hold Families

Hines_barbara The Austin Statesman has a good article telling about the excellent work of Professor Barbara Hines and the UT Immigration Law Clinic:  "Last week, three years and three months after the Hutto detention center opened, the Obama administration announced it will stop holding families there as it looks for alternatives to prison cells for some immigration law violators as part of an overhaul of the nation's immigration detention system."


August 13, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


David Bacon in "CAN LABOR GET OUT OF THIS MESS?" at TruthOut Perspective provides interesting thoughts about the future of organized labor and immigration.


August 12, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Curriculum on Refugee and Migration Issues for High Schools

Mary Ann Zehr of Education Week reports:

Resource: Curriculum on Refugee and Migration Issues

Jesuit Refugee Services/USA has designed a free curriculum to teach high school students about refugee and migration issues. The lessons are intended to help students explore issues such as why people are forcibly displaced from their homes and how the United States and the world as a whole have responded, or haven't responded, to refugees.

Frankly, this is the first curriculum on refugee and migration issues that's ever come across my desk. The recommended books and reports accompanying the curriculum could provide opportunities for both teachers and students to learn more about displaced people, many of whom are in our schools here in the United States.


August 12, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Julia Koehler on Immigration Reform

Here is a guest post from a reader of ImmigrationProf, Julia Koehler, on immigration reform:

I would like to share some thoughts about the news that Immigration Reform won't be on this year's agenda for the Obama administration - would be interested to know what you think. I have come to the conclusion that putting comprehensive immigration reform on the table now would be a bad thing; so the news that is has been pushed back is good news.

The mob mentality that has recently been surfacing around the topic of health insurance reform tells me that anti-immigrant hate is actually a free-floating hate and anger that can and will coalesce around certain subjects - immigrants certainly among them - but that is so irrational that people will resort to violence, even when it is against their own financial interest. Many of these people would financially benefit from a health insurance reform. In spite of that fact, they come out ready to beat proponents of reform because their anger can be so easily channeled by suggestions from Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and the like.

For a first-hand description of this, see e.g.

Can you imagine what they would do if a "comprehensive" immigration reform were proposed now?

Also, the fiasco of the health insurance reform bills wending their way through various committees in Congress, and in the process losing any meaningful reform plans that would be sustainable in the long term, makes me worry about the idea of a comprehensive reform. In the case of health reform, the White House is now actively suppressing positive proposals like the ability of Medicare and a public plan to negotitate drug prices with the pharmaceutical industry. The idea of the Obama administration is that "compromise" on this and other critically important issues will help a final bill pass. Can you imagine the "compromises" they will promote with respect to an immigration bill, just so that it gets passed and is "bi-partisan," e.g. so that Senator Sessions of Alabama doesn't find it unacceptable? Think guest worker program, think "touch back" - people being asked to "go home" in order to regularize their status.

Then, despite such "compromises", Lou Dobbs and Pat Buchanan and Rush Limbaugh will rally their troops against any bill that makes it out of a committee in Congress, and I am afraid that the violence seen in town meetings on health reform will be just a mild warm-up.

It seems more useful to work for piecemeal reforms, in incremental pieces. Starting with a moratorium on raids, ending all 287g programs, and closing down the detention center network. The Obama administration must be questioned about the fact that the President himself is saying, he can't predict whether immigration reform can pass, yet he is stepping up 287g programs. I think stopping the increased unjust "enforcement" that is part of the Obama administration vision has to be the most urgent goal, not "CIR."

The only enforcement that serves justice and fairness to Americans and immigrants, is enforcement of labor law and of safety regulations - OSHA needs to be strengthened and get the billions of dollars that the Obama administration has budgeted for ICE.

Piecemeal increments are more likely to be achievable I think, such as stopping deportations of anyone who is not convicted of a violent crime, and establishing a visa with the right to reside and work in the US - and travel back and forth - for the 12 million undocumented people. Most of my undocumented friends do not have American citizenship high on their priority list. But being able to go visit their families and come back to their job here is #1 on the list of many people I know. Not to say this is easy to achieve. But again, all "CIR" proposals in the public realm right now that I know of are more unjust than beneficial.

The whole idea that CIR needs to include a "fine" , which everyone has seemed to agree to, promotes the underlying concept that undocumented people are criminals of some sort who need to acknowledge their misdeeds and accept a punishment. This concept is baseless and only justifies the "enforcement" that we are seeing now. This is just one example of the fundamentally harmful provisions of all CIR proposals that I have heard of.

Lastly, please take a look at an article called "Against comprehensive reform - of anything", in Salon of 7/14, at

I think the energy put into CIR these days needs to be refocused on specific goals that ease the tremendous burden of suffering of undocumented families, without adding to it.

August 12, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Dialogue on Immigration Reform in San Jose


A Dialogue on Immigration Reform

Wednesday August 19, 2009
Martin Luther King J. Library, 2nd Floor, Room 225/229 
San Jose, CA

It is time to understand what might be included in new bills and, more importantly, what should be included in comprehensive immigration reform. This is an opportunity to refine our thinking and provide input to our federal legislators such as to our local Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, who heads the Immigration Subcommittee in the House of Representative.

SIREN Policy Advocate Jazmin Segura will moderate a dialogue on immigration reform with Bill Hing, David Bacon and Richard Hobbs

Co-Sponsored by: Asian Americans for Community Involvement,  ACLU– San Jose, Asian Law Alliance, Catholic Charities– Santa Clara County,  Center for Employment Training, Friends of South Asia, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Silicon Valley, Human Agenda, Interfaith Council on Race, Religion, Social and Economic Justice, La Raza Roundtable, Sacred Heart Community Services, San Jose Labor Party Local Organizing Committee, San Jose Peace and Justice Center, Silicon Valley Alliance for Immigration Reform, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, Silicon Valley Debug, South Bay Labor Council, Student Advocates for Higher Education (SAHE), People Acting in Community Together (PACT), UFCW Local 5, Unite Here! Local 19.

To RSVP or for more information please contact Jazmin Segura by Tuesday, August 17 by emailing her at


August 12, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

New British Citizenship Rules to Compel Assimilation, Punish Political Protest?

Richard Edwards for The Telegraph reports that "the Home Secretary . . . is unveiling plans for a new points-based system which will take into account applicants' behaviour before giving them British nationality. Immigrants will be expected to `earn' a British passport by accumulating points for voluntary work, speaking English, paying taxes or having useful skills. Marks could be deducted from applicants who have a history of anti-social behaviour, which could include protesting against British troops, or even failing to integrate into British life."  Check the proposal out yourself at Download Earned-citizenship-consultationHere is the BBC report.


August 12, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Federal District Court of Pennsylvania Imposes Reasonableness Test on Mandatory Detentions

"[T]he Court harbors grave concerns about the prolonged detention of aliens under § 1226(c). While our holding is appropriately deferential to Congress’s intent, the constitutionally problematic statute has forced the respondents to repeatedly interpose arguments that torture both law and logic in opposing habeas petitions of the type sub judice. We have fashioned a resolution that is admittedly imperfect, but which represents the best we can do given the statutory and jurisprudential minefield facing us. For the foregoing reasons, the petitioners’ habeas petition will be granted in part to the extent that the Court construes § 1226(c) as authorizing mandatory detention for the period of time reasonably necessary to promptly initiate and conclude removal proceedings. Within 20 days of the date of this order, the parties shall indicate whether they wish to present testimony or evidence regarding the reasonableness of the petitioners’ detention. Thereafter, the Court will determine whether the petitioners shall be afforded a bond hearing." Alli v. Decker, Aug. 10, 2009.


August 12, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Arrests and Deportations Nearly Double in Two Years

Immigration agents have arrested 181,000 illegal immigrants and deported 215,000 people so far this year. Both figures are double what they were for the same period two years ago. These are figures given by Janet Napolitano in a speech defending the administration's enforcement practices. For the full story in the New York Times, click here.


August 12, 2009 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)