September 19, 2009
Sources on E-Verify
On September 8, 2008, rules requiring government contractors and subcontractors to participate in the E-verify program went into effect despite an appeal by the Chamber of Commerce and business groups of a district court decision permitting the implementation of these rules. Immigration Advocates Network (IAN), our partner organizations, and other advocates have collected information on the new program.
On Immigration Advocates Network: The "Alerts" section contains:
- An update by USCIS reminding federal contractors and subcontractors that they now may be required to use the E-verify system to verify their employee's eligibility to work in the U.S. if the contract includes the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) E-Verify clause at http://www.immigrationadvocates.org/link.cfm?13335 (login required)
- Pleadings in U.S.A. et. al. v. Napolitano (S.D.MD, August 26, 2009), a request for an emergency injunction pending appeal of the district court's decision regarding delayed implementation of the Federal Contractor E-verify rule at http://www.immigrationadvocates.org/link.cfm?13336 (login required)
- An announcement from USCIS of multiple webinars on E-verify during the month of September 2009, including a demonstration of E-verify and an overview of the rule at http://www.immigrationadvocates.org/link.cfm?13337 (login required)
Other E-verify Materials:
ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project The ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project website contains an announcement about the E-verify rule and a warning that its use may lead to discrimination at http://www.aclu.org/immigrants/gen/40957prs20090908.html and information about DHS Secretary Napolitano's recent statement about plans to expand the use of E-verify at http://www.aclu.org/immigrants/local/40718prs20090812.html
American Immigration Law Foundation The American Immigration Law Foundation's website includes its September 11, 2009 Litigation Clearinghouse Newsletter and documents on the Chamber of Commerce lawsuit and AILF's Employment Authorization Verification Litigation issue page at http://www.ailf.org/lac/litclearinghouse/litclr_newsletter_090911.pdf
Bender's Immigration Bulletin Dan Kowalski's Bender's Immigration Bulletin contains an article on the possible expiration of the E-verify program because of the need for Congressional appropriations at http://www.bibdaily.com/
Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund The Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund website offers an analysis of the E-verify program at http://www.maldef.org/immigration/public_policy/e-verify/
National Immigration Forum The National Immigration Forum website includes a statement about the problems with the flawed database and other structural problems at http://www.immigrationforum.org/blog/display/e-verify-could-make-social-security-problems-worse1/
National Immigration Law Center The National Immigration Law Center website contains a summary of the final rule on E-verify at http://www.nilc.org/immsemplymnt/ircaempverif/e-verify-FAR-summary-2009-08-31.pdf
Chief Immigration Judge Brian M. O’Leary Sworn In
The Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) announced that Attorney General Eric Holder administered the oath of office to EOIR’s newly-appointed Chief Immigration Judge Brian M. O’Leary at an investiture ceremony held today at EOIR Headquarters. Earlier in the month, the Attorney General named O’Leary as the Chief Immigration Judge effective July 5, 2009.
September 18, 2009
New York Coalition Urges Rejection of Cynicism as Immigration Reform Approaches
Yesterday, Kevin Johnson blogged on Congressman Luis Guiterrez's plans to introduce an immigration bill soon. Here's a statement from the New York Immigration Coalition related to Guiterrez's announcement:
WITH REPRESENTATIVE GUTIERREZ TO INTRODUCE IMMIGRATION BILL, NYIC URGES CONGRESS TO AVOID REPLAYING CYNICAL POLITICS OF HEALTH CARE DEBATE
September 18, 2009. Yesterday, Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) announced plans to jump-start the immigration reform debate in Congress by introducing a bill in the coming weeks. Following is a response from Ms. Chung-Wha Hong, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition:
We applaud Representative Gutierrez for taking up the challenge of introducing an immigration reform bill that will treat immigrants with dignity and respect. And we look forward to seeing a bill that provides a workable solution to our broken immigration system—a solution informed by a realistic, honest, and dispassionate analysis of our nation’s needs and the problems that need to be addressed.
His announcement could not come at a more critical moment for our nation, when the debate over health reform is being derailed by specious arguments that blame immigrants for our dysfunctional health care system. We are deeply dismayed that sound policy solutions have been tossed out the window, replaced by such senseless proposals as prohibiting undocumented immigrants from paying into the system by purchasing health insurance at full price. Such measures may feed into public frustration but actually undermine the goal of health care reform.
What is most disheartening is that President Obama has backed this measure, effectively allowing the debate to be framed by diversionary and dishonest rhetoric.
For too long, our leaders, driven more by cynical politics than by reason, have failed to resolve the most crucial issues facing our nation. We are seeing this played out in the current health care debate. Let’s hope that when an immigration reform bill is introduced, Congress and the president will have wised up and realized it’s time to stop playing that game and to start arriving at real solutions.
The NYIC is an umbrella advocacy group that brings together nearly 200 diverse member organizations to advance justice and opportunity for all. For more information, please visit www.thenyic.org.
More Native-Born than Foreign Born Mexicans, a new Report Finds
A majority of Hispanics of Mexican origin who resided in the United States in 2007 were native-born and spoke English proficiently, according to new demographic profiles from the Pew Hispanic Center. They found that a total of 29.2 million Hispanics of Mexican origin lived in the U.S. in 2007, comprising the largest population of Hispanic origin in the country and
New GAO Report Critical of Border Security
The report concudes the department had fallen about seven years behind its goal of putting in place the technology the Bush administration had heavily promoted when it announced the Secure Border Initiative in 2005, a system of camaras, radars and sensors in place to aid a force of border guards.
Obama Speaks Again to Hispanics on Immigration
Earlier this week, President Obama spoke at the CONGRESSIONAL HISPANIC CAUCUS INSTITUTE'S annual award gala about immigration reform:
"[T]his debate [on health care reform] underscores the necessity of passing comprehensive immigration reform and resolving the issue of 12 million undocumented people living and working in this country once and for all. That's what I've said from the start. That's what I say tonight. (Applause.) I've asked Secretary Janet Napolitano to lead the conversation with stakeholders both on and off Capitol Hill. And I know that she's met with many of you. This is a tough issue -- we all know that -- which is why it is so important that we develop the strategy and the policy that's going to get us over the finish line. My commitment is real and so is my desire to get this done. In fact, the changes we've made administratively are already making a difference. The American people did not send us to Washington to ignore problems just because they're tough. They sent us here to solve them. And that's what we can and must do on immigration reform."
One would hope that we some movement soon on immigration reform. Despite what the President say about alleged improvements, the "enforcement now, enforcement forever" stance of Secretary Janet Napolitano and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is getting very old. Indeed, some knowledgeable observers say that the current administration's positions are little different than President Bush's. And the Clinton administration -- remember it is Bill who signed the harsh 1996 immigration laws, court-stripping, detention, etc. provisions and all -- was not too generous on immigration either. Indeed, it is hard to remember who the last President who was good on immigration.
September 17, 2009
End Ideological Exclusions in Immigration Admissions!
A New York Times editorial states that "Months ago, a group of free speech advocates, including the Association of American Publishers, the American Library Association and the American Civil Liberties Union called on the Obama administration to end ideological exclusions and to review dubious visa denials. We hope Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton takes heed."
Lawsuit brings better conditions for immigration detainees
Robert Lopez for the L.A. Times reports that "Immigrants detained in a short-term processing center in the basement of a Los Angeles federal building can no longer be held for weeks without access to drinking water, clean clothes or items such as sanitary napkins, according to a settlement announced Wednesday. . . . .The settlement with Immigration and Customs Enforcement authorities resulted from a lawsuit filed in April by the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, the National Immigration Law Center and the Paul Hastings law firm."
Forest Service apologizes for linking tortillas, Spanish music to armed pot growers
AP reports that "The U.S. Forest Service has apologized for suggesting that campers who eat tortillas, drink Tecate beer and play Spanish music may be armed marijuana growers, calling it `regrettable' and `insensitive.'"
What were they thinking?
REPRESENTATIVE GUTIERREZ PLEDGES TO INTRODUCE PROGRESSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM BILL
Today, during a community dialogue event in Washington D.C. with immigrants and new citizens celebrating Citizenship Day, Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) vowed to introduce an inclusive and progressive comprehensive immigration reform bill in the next several weeks. 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:
We praise Representative Gutierrez for his leadership in pushing Washington to act on immigration reform. Today's announcement is a critical step forward to comprehensive immigration reform that serves America's interests. We need to get the ball rolling now to craft a proposal that creates an immigration system realistically designed and effectively enforced. Progress in 2009, means an immigration bill on the President's desk in 2010.
Rep. Gutierrez understands the imperative for action on immigration reform and the political and humanitarian price of inaction. His commitment to move the ball forward responds to the urgent need for reform expressed in immigrant communities across the country.
The need for reform is clear and politicians must resolve this issue so that it does not continually delay or derail other important priorities. As we have seen in the health care reform debate, we cannot continue to make meaningful policy decisions as long as we have 12 million individuals living and raising their children in our country, but who float outside of our system in a form of legal and societal limbo. Our broken immigration system will be a stumbling block to any meaningful policy change. The choice we face is the fantasy of mass deportation or the realistic and achievable goal of legalization and we need to choose one or the other sooner rather than later because the issue is not solving itself.
Comprehensive immigration reform will get undocumented immigrants into the system and fully integrated into American society. It will restore order to our legal immigration system by channeling people through ports of entry with visas, not through the desert with a smuggler. This will help us establish a legal immigration system where rules are enforced in a humane way but in a way that builds confidence in the system. Rep. Gutierrez is moving us another important step closer to that goal.
NY Senator Serrano Report: Immigration Reform Starts Here
The office of New York state Senator José M. Serrano released a report today with recommendations to protect immigrant New Yorkers and their families. The Senator is urging the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services to not sign a Memorandum of Understanding with ICE to allow Secure Communities (planned "deployment" here in 2010) -- at least not without full public consultation and review. Attached is the report.
EJS: Lou Dobbs' brand of journalism is dangerous to Latinos in America. It's time to fight back.
An e-mail from the Equal Justice Society (reiterating something we have been saying for a long while):
This week, the CNN anchor broadcast his radio show from the conference of anti-immigrant hate group FAIR, the Federation for American Immigration Reform. Founded by a white nationalist, FAIR was linked earlier this year to vigilantes in Arizona who brutally murdered 9-year-old Brisenia Flores and her father in their home.
The appearance at FAIR is just the latest example of Dobbs using his status as a CNN anchor to spread fear about Latinos and immigrants. It's time we said ¡Basta! Enough is enough. Please join us in demanding that CNN drop Dobbs from its network: http://bastadobbs.com/action/
Dobbs' network CNN, calls itself "The Most Trusted Name in News." But Dobbs has shown that the only thing he can be trusted to do is spread dangerous, false myths about immigrants, give airtime to extremists, and use dehumanizing and disrespectful language towards our community. For example, Dobbs has blamed Latino immigrants for an alleged leprosy epidemic that was widely debunked, and has insinuated high crime rates by Latinos falsely claiming “illegal aliens” make up a third of the prison population. Dobbs also regularly hosts extremist guests like FAIR, the Minutemen, and Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who he called “a model for the whole country.”
The Dobbs threat to Latinos is real. Here is how Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center described it to us: “How dangerous is Lou Dobbs? The rise in hate crimes against Latinos coincides almost exactly with the time Dobbs has been propagating false conspiracy theories about Latinos on the air. He’s not urging people to go hurt and kill - but that is the effect of what he does.”
To fight back against Dobbs, Presente.org is launching a new campaign, working with dozens of leading Latino organizations and our allies in cities across the country -- from Los Angeles to Phoenix to Orlando. We are joining together to demand that CNN no longer allow Dobbs to spew hate thinly disguised as "news." Please join us in saying "¡basta!" and ask your friends and family to do the same. It only takes a moment: http://bastadobbs.com/action/
Thank you and Adelante!
The Presente.org team
Join the Military, Get Citizenship
Alexandra Zavis writes for the LA Times:
Although all military branches are meeting or exceeding their recruitment goals, they have struggled to find individuals with critical skills needed in Iraq, Afghanistan and beyond, officials said. In exchange for their service, the foreign recruits -- who offer skills it would take years to teach -- get an expedited path to citizenship.
Since the pilot program began in New York, expanding to Los Angeles in May, the foreign recruits have included 34 healthcare professionals and 385 people who speak languages such as Arabic, Polish and Swahili. Click here for the full story.
FOIA Requirement Jams Immigration Courts
Red Tape Obstructs Due Process for Immigrants
FOIA Requirement Jams Courts and Wastes Millions of Dollars
In support of Appleseed's comprehensive efforts to reform the U.S. immigration court system, Chicago Appleseed, in collaboration with the National Office, will each month draft and release a policy statement on a major recommendation from Assembly Line Injustice.
The latest statement highlights a proposal that will not only ensure fairer, timelier hearings for immigrants, but avert needless expense to taxpayers. The proposal concerns the bizarre requirement that immigrants submit a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request in order to obtain copies of their own case files - a requirement that should be eliminated.
Facing continued incarceration, permanent separation from family, or even removal to country where persecution and death await, "these immigrants must be given immediate and automatic access to their files," said Malcolm Rich, executive director of Chicago Appleseed.
The FOIA roadblock, rarely found in other American court systems, unnecessarily delays an immigrant's hearing - the average processing time for these requests in 2008 was 230 days - thus prolonging detention away from family and without employment. Meanwhile, without direct access to their records, immigrants are left with insufficient time to prepare a case.
In the end, the requirement proves to be nothing more than bureaucratic obstruction: both the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) of the Department of Homeland Security and the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) of the Department of Justice, which maintain various parts of immigration case records, deny less than one percent of properly submitted FOIA requests for the files.
To make matters worse, the requirement increases costs for those agencies and frustrates the ability of immigration judges, who must often delay hearings, to run their dockets efficiently. During the 2008 fiscal year, USCIS used 185 full-time employees solely to review FOIA requests - at a cost of more than $12 million. Filing fees paid for only 0.04 percent of that amount, leaving taxpayers to pick up the rest of the tab. Similarly, EOIR employed 10 people full-time at a cost of more than $1 million.
As pointed out in the policy statement, simple changes to the DOJ's Immigration Court Manual would help unclog sytem. Such changes would save taxpayer money, keep hearings on schedule, and allow immigrants who have valid claims to stay in the U.S. the ability to raise those claims in a timely manner. Appleseed has already drafted the proposed language changes for DOJ. Now it is their time to act.
ICE Fugitive Program Statistics Show Few with Criminal Histories Arrested
Instead, eighty percent of all persons arrested under the program has committed only immigration civil violations, including by overstaying their visas or entering the country unauthorized. About 1/3 arrested in the program did not have previous orders of removal, which is the only criteria for the label fugitive. For the full story, click here.
IPC Releases Economic Study of Immigrants' Contributions to Arizona"The Immigration Policy Center has compiled research which shows that immigrants, Latinos, and Asians are an integral part of Arizona's economy and tax base, as well as a growing share of voters in the state. As workers, taxpayers, consumers, and entrepreneurs, immigrants and their children are an economic powerhouse. As voters, they are a growing political force. As the state works towards economic recovery, immigrants and their children will continue to play a key role in shaping the economic and political landscape of the Grand Canyon State.
- Immigrants make up 15.6% of Arizona's total population.
- New American voters (immigrants and the children of immigrants) comprise 10.6% of all registered voters in Arizona.
- Latinos made up 11.7% of Arizona voters in the 2008 election.
- The purchasing power of Arizona's Latinos and Asians totaled $37.1 billion in 2008.
- Immigrant-headed households
accounted for $10.5 billion in consumer spending power and contributed
$776 million in tax revenue in 2004.
- If all unauthorized immigrants were removed from Arizona, the state would lose $26.4 billion in expenditures, $11.7 billion in economic output, and about 140,000 jobs.
There is no denying the contributions immigrants, Latinos, and Asians make and the important role they play in Arizona's political and economic future. For more data on the contributions of immigrants, Latinos, and Asians to the Arizona's economic future, view the IPC fact sheet in its entirety."
Detainee Settlement Improves Conditions
The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, the National Immigration Law Center and the Paul Hastings law firm obtained a settlement that will improve the conditions of immigrants detained in a short-term processing center in the basement of a Los Angeles federal building. Under the settlement, the detainees can no longer be held for weeks without access to drinking water, clean clothes or items such as sanitary napkins. For the full story, click here.
Common Sense and Immigration Reform: Uniting Behind an Accurate Census
On Standing FIRM, Robert Gittelson, discusses why the boycott of the 2010 census, planned by some groups, is extremely problematic.
Happy Citizenship Day (September 17, 2009): Made in America, Myths & Facts about Birthright Citizenship
Today, in time for Citizenship Day, the Immigration Policy Center releases a series of Perspectives on birthright citizenship, entitled Made in America, Myths & Facts about Birthright Citizenship; and a fact check documenting the growing numbers of U.S. citizens who are immigrants to this country, entitled Citizenship by the Numbers.
Made in America, Myths & Facts about Birthright Citizenship includes:
Defining "American" Birthright Citizenship and the Original Understanding of the 14th Amendment, by James C. Ho;
Policy Arguments in Favor of Retaining America's Birthright Citizenship Law, by Margaret D. Stock;
Debunking Modern Arguments Against Birthright Citizenship, by Elizabeth B. Wydra; and
A New Nativism: Anti-Immigration Politics and the Fourteenth Amendment, by Eric Ward.
Citizenship by the Numbers is a fact check documenting the growing number of U.S. citizens who are immigrants to this country - or who are the children of immigrants. Roughly one-in-seventeen U.S. citizens are foreign-born, and tens of millions of native-born U.S. citizens have immigrant parents. This demographic reality has important political ramifications. A rising share of the U.S. electorate has a direct personal connection to the immigrant experience, and is unlikely to be favorably swayed by politicians who employ anti-immigrant rhetoric to mobilize supporters. Highlights of this data include:
There were 38.1 million immigrants living in the United States as of 2007, of whom 42.5% were naturalized U.S. citizens.
The number of naturalized U.S. citizens increased from 8 million in 1990, to 12.5 million in 2000, to 16.2 million in 2007.
There were 45.5 million Latinos in the United States in 2007, of whom 11.2% were naturalized U.S. citizens and 60.2% were native-born U.S. citizens.
There were 13.3 million Asians living in the United States as of 2007, of whom 37.7 % were naturalized U.S. citizens and 31.8% were native-born U.S. citizens.
September 16, 2009
Anti-Immigrant Rally Fizzles
Is This the Best They Can Do? Anti-Immigrant Group Rally Fizzles
FAIR Claims 200,000 Members; Only 50 People Show Up
Washington, DC - After a huge push to drive up turnout, and after organizers promised to storm Congress with anti-immigrant citizen lobbyists, just fifty people showed up for the Federation for American Immigration Reform’s (FAIR) annual “Hold their Feet to the Fire” event in Washington, DC yesterday.
Ironically, a prayer vigil organized by faith leaders in support of immigration reform – organized at the last minute – turned out the same number of people on the same day.
FAIR’s failure is emblematic of the anti-immigrant lobby’s long history of making noise and baring their teeth while failing to deliver on their threats with actual votes. For example, in 20 of 22 competitive elections in the 2008 cycle where immigration was a top issue, the hard-line anti-immigrant candidate lost to a candidate with a more expansive view of immigration reform.
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice Education Fund: “The anti-immigrant lobby is all bark and no bite. Their much ballyhooed event, entitled ‘Hold their Feet to the Fire’ should be renamed ‘Hold your Big Toe to the Fire.’ It’s time for our elected leaders to stop being intimidated by bullies who can’t land a punch and to move forward on real, common sense immigration reform.”
The Federation for American Immigration Reform has been designated a Hate Group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, and is part of a network of anti-immigrant organizations founded by John Tanton, someone with extensive ties to white nationalism. The network, whose leaders meet weekly to plan strategy, includes the Center for Immigration Studies and NumbersUSA.