October 10, 2009
Towing and Impounding Cars of Unlicensed Drivers
Police Change Policy: Will Cease Towing and Impounding Cars of Unlicensed Drivers -- Sort Of
By Lauren Smiley in Breaking News, Law & Order
Still always good to have...
San Francisco is about to get a lot more friendly to unlicensed drivers. After a series of meetings over the last year with immigrants' rights groups and the ACLU, the police are halting their mandatory policy of towing off and impounding cars driven by unlicensed motorists.
The policy change is a big win for undocumented immigrants, since California doesn't issue licenses to people without legal residency. Under the current policy, a routine traffic stop for an undocumented person routinely results in the person losing his or her car, since one must present a license to get the car back. The cars usually end up on the auction block. (We wrote about efforts to change the police's policy here.)
Under the new policy, effective November 1, unlicensed drivers will still be issued a ticket and face a fine. But the unlicensed driver will now be given 20 minutes to get a licensed motorist to drive the car away before the cops call a towing company. If the unlicensed driver doesn't have a cell phone, the San Francisco Police Department's will contact the licensed driver on the unlicensed person's behalf.
The draft of the plan was outlined by Deputy Chief Kevin Cashman of the police department's field operations bureau during the Immigrant Rights Commission meeting Monday night in the Excelsior.
Under the new policy, the police will also tow the vehicle if it's a traffic hazard; if there's a risk of theft or vandalism if the car isn't moved; or if there's a "likelihood" of immediate or continuing illegal operation if the vehicle isn't towed.
After 20 minutes, the cops will call the towing company, but if your designated licensed driver can beat the tow truck to the scene, you're still off the hook. This is beginning to sound a lot like a game show.
There is, incidentally, one disincentive to hopping back into the driver's seat once out of sight of the cops. If the person is busted again within six months for driving without a license, not only will they be subject to another fine, the car will be automatically impounded for 30 days.
Note to the entrepreneurial: We're foreseeing a possible cottage industry that could also benefit here. Why not start a company of licensed drivers able to get anywhere in the city within 20 minutes to drive cars away for a price? A side job for bicycle messengers, perhaps.
Car at Sixth and Mission! Get there, pronto!
Enforcement Now, Enforcement Forever: DHS Secretary -- "We accept that we are going to continue to have and increase, potentially, the number of detainees"
"We accept that we are going to continue to have and increase, potentially, the number of detainees," Janet Napolitano, Department of Homeland Security Secretary, Miami Herald, Oct. 7, 2009.
Given the many problems with the conditions of detention, as well as the accountability of those running the facilities, this is a disappointing statement from the DHS Secretary. It would be nice to hear her
-- announce new binding regulations governing detention;
-- announce new initiatives designed to immediately reduce the backlog of petitions for naturalization (recall that fees were increased dramatically with the promise of reducing backlogs; the result -- backlogs have increased);
-- announce measures designed to reduce the deaths along the U.S./Mexico border;
-- announce joint programs with the Departments of Labor and Justice designed to reduce the exploitation of undocumented immigrants in the workplace:
-- announce a joint agency task force designed to in fact do something about human trafficking in the labor market generally;
-- announce programs designed to reduce racial profiling in immigration enforcement at our borders and in the interior of the country.
I could go on with a wish list, but Christmas is a few months off. And, it seems that the best we can hope for from this DHS Secretary, who seems locked in the measures that were employed in Arizona, is ENFORCEMENT NOW, ENFORCEMENT FOREVER -- promises of more detention, more border fence, more ICE officers, more technology for ICE, etc.
President Obama was honored with the Nobel Peace Prize. His administration will hopefully do something soon to bring us peace along the U.S./Mexico border.
October 9, 2009
Where There is a Will . . . Trio allegedly used Jet Skis to smuggle undocumented immigrants
"Federal agents have arrested two men and a woman accused of smuggling undocumented immigrants into the United States using Jet Skis." Brownsville Herald.
Immigrants: The Lifeblood of New York City
The Pecos Insurrection
Forrest Wilder has an interesting story ("The Pecos Insurrection") for the Texas Observer on an uprising at an immigrant detention facility in Texas last December.
A Great Immigration Field Trip: Visit Angel Island!
The Washington Post has a short reminder of the ghosts of Angel Island in the San Francisco Bay, the place of long term detention of many would-be immigrants from China in the era of Chinese exclusion.
More on the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize Winner
CAP Applauds Faith Leaders' Push for Immigration Reform
The Center for American Progress issue a statement applauding the leaders of the nation’s collective evangelical community for calling on Congress to enact comprehensive immigration reform that enhances programs for family reunification and workers, and a mechanism to legalize the current undocumented population in the United States. The 75-member board of directors of the National Association of Evangelicals, which represents 40 denominations including the Assemblies of God and Church and the Church of the Nazarene, unanimously adopted a resolution on Thursday that endorses broad immigration reforms that respect “human dignity.”
The center also commends Senate Immigration Subcommittee Chairman Charles Schumer (D-NY) for holding a hearing Thursday on the growing role of faith-based communities in the immigration debate. Schumer noted that the church leaders, along with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and other religious groups, would provide “pastoral counseling” to Congress as it begins its deliberations on an immigration bill. “This is going to have real effect,” Schumer said of the major endorsement by the evangelical community. The faith-based community’s backing for comprehensive immigration reform legislation followed two years of study, its leaders said. “This is an unprecedented and powerful new voice that reflects how the mainstream in our country views this issue,” said Angela M. Kelley, Vice President for Immigration Policy and Advocacy at American Progress. “It transcends the usual left-versus-right, conservative-versus-liberal conclusions,” Kelley added. “What it speaks to is that there is a shared underlying moral imperative that reform is needed.”
The growing trend of grassroots activism by faith communities in support of immigration reform was documented in a recent report by the Center for American Progress, “Loving Thy Neighbor: Immigration Reform and Communities of Faith.” The report was offered as an “antidote to the mistaken belief that ordinary people of faith are not involved in political advocacy or shy from pressing their influence in national debates and policies affecting immigrants.”
DHS Rescinds "No-Match" RulePaul Frumkin writes in Restaurant News:
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said Wednesday it has rescinded the controversial Social Security “no-match” rule that would have forced employers to fire workers because of discrepancies in their Social Security records.
DHS had said in July that it had decided to rescind the rule, which sparked an unsuccessful attempt by members of the Senate to block the agencyÕs effort.
The rescission will take effect Nov. 6, the DHS said.
Industry watchdogs applauded the move.
"We are very pleased that DHS heeded our concerns and did the right thing in scrapping these harmful regulations," said Michael J. Donohue, vice president of media relations for the National Restaurant Association. "The National Restaurant Association repeatedly cautioned federal officials about the regulations throughout the rulemaking process, filing official comments and supporting successful litigation.
"This rule would have caused tremendous difficulties for businesses and likely the loss of jobs for tens of thousands of legal workers due to reliance on inaccurate government databases," he continued. "Targeting employers with an enforcement-only approach, and a flawed one at that, is not the way to fix an immigration system that requires comprehensive overhaul."
Scott Vinson, vice president of the National Council of Chain Restaurants in Washington, D.C., called the rescinding of the no-match rule "good news for the industry."
However, he continued: "We'll have to wait and see what the overall impact will be. Based on recent conversations with enforcement officials, the department is looking to change its focus from large-scale raids that targeted illegals themselves to focus on bad actor/employers who have made it part of their business model to knowingly hire illegals and violate the law."
The foodservice industry has been fighting the no-match rule since it was issued in August 2007 by the Bush administration. To help it identify the estimated 12 million immigrants who are in the United States illegally, the government had hoped to use no-match letters routinely sent out by the Social Security Administration.
In 2007 the DHS said the government would alter the language of the no-match letters and potentially seek criminal sanctions against employers of illegal immigrants. Under the rule, DHS would be able to threaten employers with fines as high as $10,000 for failure to fire workers who are unable to reconcile Social Security account discrepancies within 90 days.
But before the initiative could be enacted, a labor coalition sued the DHS and SSA, resulting in a U.S. District Court judge's decision to issue a temporary restraining order blocking the SSA from sending out the letters. Click here for more.
ILRC Asylum Manual by Silverman, Jobe, and Katzman
From the Immigrant Legal Resource Center:
Asylum and Related Immigration Protections
By Mark Silverman, Robert Jobe, and Larry Katzman
CLICK HERE TO ORDER
Written by some of the most renowned asylum experts in the United States, this manual is an indispensable tool for the asylum practitioner, both experienced immigration attorney and pro bono attorney.
The 8th edition provides a detailed description of the key aspects of asylum law, and includes many case examples, practice tips, practical information for preparing your client’s case as well as preparing your client. An extensive and updated outline by co-author Robert Jobe provides expert analysis on all of the elements of an asylum claim, such as persecution, credibility, burden of proof, filing deadlines, corroborative evidence, judicial review, due process issues, and more. Also included is a discussion of related immigration protections, such as Withholding/Restriction on Removal and the Convention Against Torture.
Used by attorneys, pro bono asylum programs and law school clinics since the first edition published in 1992, this manual covers the essentials of asylum law and theory, in order to prepare the practitioner to successfully handle asylum cases, and is a must for any immigration advocate!
Mexican Students Turned Away in Del Rio
From AOL news services:
A border community's school district has become the latest flashpoint in the nation's immigration debate.
The school district in Del Rio, Texas, about three and a half hours west of San Antonio, has cracked down on what officials say are Mexican students attending U.S. public schools there, according to news reports. Click here for more.
Breaking News: President Barack Obama Awarded Nobel Peace PrizePresident Barack Obama on Friday won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize for "his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between people," the Norwegian Nobel Committee said.
"Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future," the committee said. "His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world's population."
The committee said it attached special importance to Obama's vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons.
"Obama has as president created a new climate in international politics. Multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play."
Congratulations, President Obama! All I can say is "La Bamba Obama!"
October 8, 2009
Affidavits of Support and Support Obligations for Divorced SpousesInteresting article by Geoffrey Hoffman published earlier this month on the I-864 available at the Florida Bar Journal. Geoffrey will soon be taking the helm of the immigration clinic at the University of Houston.
"Immigration Form I-864 (Affidavit of Support) and Efforts to Collect Damages as Support Obligations Against Divorced Spouses — What Practitioners Need to Know"
October 7, 2009
Measuring Immigrant Assimilation in the United States
The Manhattan Institute has released a report, "Measuring Immigrant Assimilation in the United States." by Jacob L. Vidgor, Professor of Public Policy and Economics, Duke University Faculty Research Fellow, National Bureau of Economic Research. It makes for interesting reading about English language acquisition and naturalization trens among today's stream of immigrants.
Immigrants of the Day: This Week's Nobel Prize Winners
"[A]ll six Nobel Prize winners announced so far this week are U.S. citizens. Here's something else you should know: Four of those winners were born outside the U.S. We should be particularly proud that these people did not go to Russia or Germany, but came here." For more details, click here.
Immigrant Population in Massachusetts Grows
Maria Sacchetti writes for the Boston Globe:
Massachusetts’ immigrant population rose last year in the middle of the recession, bucking a national trend that showed a decline in foreign-born residents for the first time in decades.
The Bay State’s modest 2.5 percent increase in immigrants puzzled researchers and advocates as the numbers dipped in other states, including California, Florida, and neighboring Rhode Island, according to the Census Bureau’s 2008 American Community Survey.
Theories accounting for the increase abound. It could be that the state’s economy fared better than those of other states, that the census survey simply missed departures from Massachusetts, or that tabulation of a decline could still be coming.
Some researchers suggested that immigrants in Massachusetts - who make up 14 percent of the state population - are inclined to stay put because they are more highly educated than immigrants elsewhere and less likely to be here in undocumented status. That gives them an edge in an economic downturn.
Nowhere is the immigrant tally more surprising than in Framingham, where the estimated number of immigrants rose from 15,037 to 17,727 last year, making it about a quarter of the town’s population of 69,000. Some advocates for immigrants had warned that many were decamping for Brazil, the native country of the largest immigrant group in town, because of the economy and because those who were here illegally had abandoned hope for legal residency.
“People have been saying to me for years, ‘Don’t you see fewer people?’ And I’ve been saying no,’’ said Christine Tibor, director of Framingham’s adult English-as-a-second-language program. “Our numbers are actually up.’’ Clickhere for the rest of the story.
From the Bookshelves: International Migration and Citizenship Today By Niklaus Steiner
International migration has emerged in the last decade as one of the world's most controversial and pressing issues. This thought-provoking book offers the reader a more nuanced and knowledgeable understanding of the complex economic, political, cultural, and moral concerns that arise when people move across borders seeking admission into other countries. Splitting the text into five broad sections, Steiner facilitates easy navigation of the complex discussions that surround the issue of migration:
• Section One - Introduction: examines how the central questions that frame the book will be addressed, including: what criteria should be used to admit migrants? and How should a country grant citizenship?
• Section Two - Immigrants: discusses the criteria for accepting immigrants, dealing with the unwanted, and assessing the economic, cultural and political impacts.
• Section Three - Refugees: evaluates the methods used to protect refugees, the controversies surrounding asylum and the shortcomings of current refugee definitions.
• Section Four - Citizenship: charts the rise of nationalism, presents modern issues of minority rights and diversity, and examines processes of naturalization across the globe.
• Section Five Conclusion: considers more unconventional approaches to migration and citizenship, and suggests moving towards a more holistic approach.
Carefully constructed to spark discussion and student reflection and featuring suggested resources at the end of each section, this book offers dozens of contemporary examples and case studies from across the globe. International Migration and Citizenship Today is essential reading for not only students of migration and citizenship, but also globalization, international relations, and democracies.
Updated Guide Available on Asylee Eligibility for Resettlement Assistance
Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) announces a newly updated publication, Asylee Eligibility for Resettlement Assistance: A Short Guide. The guide is designed to help service providers address the barriers to resettlement and integratio1n faced by asylees. It contains important and timely information about the benefits and services for which asylees are eligible, including job placement assistance, English language classes, medical screening, cash assistance, social security cards, employment authorization documents, adjustment of status, I-94s, travel authorization, petitioning for immediate relatives, and federal student financial aid.
Asylees seeking resettlement assistance may call the National Asylee Information & Referral Line at 1-800-354-0365 for referrals to local service providers in their community. The line is multilingual (19 languages) and is available from Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. Also, please note that translated outreach materials for asylees in Spanish, Chinese, Haitian-Creole, French, Amharic, Albanian, and Russian are available on the Office of Refugee Resettlement website.
Free Ibrahim! Another Casualty in the "War on Terror"
We previously reported on the efforts of the U.S. government to remove Ibrahim Parlak, a successful businessman in Michigan who immigrated to the United States from Turkey in 1991. Acccording to the Detroit News, "[t]o federal prosecutors, he is a terrorist, mentioned in the same breath as Osama bin Laden. To his supporters, who are legion in the lakefront resort communities of west Michigan, he is the embodiment of the American dream. Somewhere between those wildly disparate views is Ibrahim Parlak, 47, a popular restaurant owner . . . ."
In August, over a truly stinging dissent by Judge Boyce Martin, the Sixth Circuit affirmed the Board of Immigration Appeals' order that Parlak be removed from the country. The saga continues.
Death Cage Match: Bill O'Reilly v. Juan Hernandez
Conservative TV pundit Bill O'Reilly and Juan Hernandez, author of the book The New American Pioneers, joust (actually kind of politely as these things go) on undocumented immigrants and health care reform and related matters here.